King's Fellow releases a dialect app

Screenshot of the iPhone app

Linguist and King's Fellow Dr Bert Vaux has released an app to detect US regional dialect. The app presents you with twenty questions, such as "Do you pronounce 'cot' and 'caught' the same?", and predicts where in the USA you come from based on your answers.

You can view a map of the USA showing how people in different regions answered the questions, and it is hoped the map will become more accurate the more people use the app.

At the moment the app is just for Apple devices (iPad, iPhone). It is free and you can download it from the Apple Store.

Bert's survey was originally devised in 2002, with a more extensive set of questions. Since then it has attracted widespread attention and was featured in the New York Times. Bert spoke about the survey recently in the Cambridge News, and talked about his plans to create a similar questionnaire for British English.

Bert has also just held an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit, where he answered questions about the survey and about linguistics in general.

22 January 2015