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

Fun.

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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