A Globe-Spanning Accent Map for the Word ‘Potato’


If there’s one food that unites the world, it’s the potato. From the sour cream-slathered Idaho russett to a hearty Peruvian shrimp chowder to the sublime purple-yam ice cream of Japan, most everybody has found a way to enjoy this lumpy starch.

And now we can hear how different English-speaking cultures say “potato,” thanks to a pronunciation project from British publisher Pan Macmillan. To hype up a new book about accents—You Say Potato, by father/son team David and Ben Crystal—the company is letting people record their renditions of “potato” and have them pinned to an interactive map.


For instance, in Dublin, Ireland, it’s “potato.” St. Louis: “Puhtato.” Florida: more of a “Pehtato.” Amsterdam: “Puhtatah.” Guersey, U.K.: “Pehtatoo.” Darlington, U.K.: “Potate-oh,” as if surprised. South Africa: “PotaTO,” with a lift at the end. Sydney, Australia: “Pehtater,” with the last syllable draining into an R sound. And in Bangalore, India, we’re back to “potato,” although spoken really fast.


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