When I moved to Oregon and heard a Portlander refer to “pop” (as in "soft drink"), I wasn’t sure if she was being quaint or ironic.
Wrong on both counts; "pop” is the term of choice for soft drinks in the whole Pacific Northwest. And now, via Strange Maps, comes some coolio cartography by Matthew Campbell and Greg Plumb showing the regional variations in terminology used for… soft drinks.
Other, lesser-used terms include ‘dope’ [!] in the Carolinas and ‘tonic’ in and around Boston…. outside the US [there's] ‘pop’ (Canada), [and] ‘mineral’ (Ireland)…
pop: …The world “pop” was introduced by Robert Southey, the British Poet Laureate (1774-1843).... In 1812, he wrote: “[This is] a nectar, between soda-water and ginger-beer, and called pop, because ‘pop goes the cork’ when it is drawn.” Even though it was introduced by a Poet Laureate, the term “pop” is considered unsophisticated by some, because it is onomatopaeic.Yeah, totally unsophisticated. (I do kind of like that "nectar" usage though.)
And data is still being gathered! At the Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy website, enter your preferred usage and zip code to hop in the pop data-pool. (Oh, snap and crackle, too!) Its site manager, Alan McConchie, does seem to have already jumped to one conclusion:
“People who say 'Pop' are much, much cooler.”