When you offer someone a carbonated beverage that is not a beer, what do you call it? According to research done by Matthew Campbell and professor Greg Plumb of East Central University in Oklahoma it depends what part of the country you are in.
Most Southerners (yours truly included) call it a “Coke,” even if it’s not the name brand or even a cola beverage. Click here to see an interactive map. If you click on the smaller map of the U.S., you can click on an individual state and see the breakdown by county. I grew up in Oak Ridge in Anderson County, Tenn., where 24 of the 32 respondents use the term “Coke” for all carbonated beverages.
In Seminole County, Fla., where I live now, the respondents were pretty evenly split with 43 people using “Coke” as a generic term, while 39 people use the term “soda.”