Some call it soda, some call it pop, others call it coke in the generic. These names all refer to carbonated beverages so does it really matter?
Apparently, what you call soda does matter in certain areas of the country. There is a map on the Pop vs. Soda website that shows what carbonated beverages are most commonly referred to in specific areas, by county even.
Someone had a lot of time on their hands to go through all the effort to figure out what people call soft drinks. If you think about it, this might actually be useful information.
I am a certified Ohian and grew up calling soft drinks by the name of “pop”. I still say pop when speaking with others. However, when I write I use the word “soda”, as if it is really makes a difference. Around here I get teased as being pretentious or thinking I’m some big-time writer by using the word soda. Hey, it’s all in fun.
In the area I live, soda is a baking ingredient. “Hey darlin’, reach on up thar and grab me the soda on yer way to the lard.” Mind you, not everyone around here speaks like that, I may exaggerate slightly.
I choose “soda” when writing because “pop” has so many meanings. You can pop a balloon or even “hop on pop”, in the words of Dr. Suess, when referring to dear old dad. When I say “soda”, I tend to think everyone knows what I am referring to, pretentious or not.
I could use “soft drink” or the full length “carbonated beverage”, but I would be laughed out of town. “Would you like a glass and a napkin with that? Are you gonna hold up your pinkie while you drink it?” Yes, I live in a very hostile area where language is concerned. My word use and pronunciation often brings me grief.
I see by the soft drink map, that mostly in the south it is just called coke in the generic sense. I can already anticipate some issue with that if I wanted to order a Coca-Cola in a restaurant. “Yeah, I’ll have the barbeque bacon burger with extra cheese, an order of fries and a Coke”. Then the waitress would ask, “What flavor?” I’d say “Coke”. Again, she’d ask what flavor. You can see where this is going. It could be humorous though frustrating. Brings to mind Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on first?”
I say just be yourself and say it how you want to say it. Whether soda, pop, coke or any other name, it is still a carbonated beverage. Who knows, maybe the soda vs. pop controversy could give you some funny memories on your next vacation.
Pop vs. Soda; Generic Names for Soft Drinks by County
Dr. Seuss; Hop on Pop; Amazon.com
Abbott & Costello posted by Swancourt; Who’s on First?; YouTube