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What do ya think these are Michigan: Semis or Eighteen-wheelers?

Hulton Archive
Hulton Archive

One would think that the internet might be killing off any regional slang in America.

Thank God – one would be wrong.

A survey of 350,000 Americans, in Reader’s Digest, shows that depending on where you live in the U.S., there may be several different words for the same idea or object.

For instance: what would you call those insects that glow at night – fireflies or lightning bugs? The survey shows that south and west of Michigan they’re called lightning bugs. Further west and they’re called fireflies. Interestingly, in Michigan, it looks like it’s not as clear cut as to what we call them. When I was a little kid, I lived in California and I don’t remember ever seeing any fireflies there, so I must have learned that word from my dad, who was from Michigan.

What would you call a large truck that hauls freight? A semi, an eighteen-wheeler or a tractor trailer? We’re clearly in semi country here in Michigan, but in New York, they’re tractor trailers and in Louisiana they’re eighteen-wheelers.

Here’s the story.


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