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Posted by Bob on March 21, 2003

In Reply to: Drinks posted by R. Berg on March 19, 2003

: : : : : : : : : : A soda in the US is called a pop in Canada. What is it called in the UK? Thanks.

: : : : : : : : : Supplementary information: In parts of the US (not my part) it's called pop, not soda.
: : : : : : : : in some areas soda is also called tonic.

: : : : : : : Here in the UK, we'd be most likely to refer to it as a fizzy drink. Soda we reserve exclusively to refer to unflavoured carbonated water (which I think transatlantically is better known as club soda) as in whisky and soda. The word pop, although it would probably be understood, has fallen into disuse. Tonic we also have, but again over here that refers specifically to (Indian) tonic water, the mixer you'd add to gin.

: : : : : : : Incidentally, why is ginger beer - a very different think from ginger ale - apparently entirely unavailable in the US?

: : : : : : Another term in the U.S. is "soft drink" for soda. I can't remember what we called it in West Virginia -- "pop" maybe. It seems to me that here in central Kentucky most people just say, "I'm getting a 'drink.'" Or they say "I'm getting a coke" whether it's an actual Coke product or not.

: : : : : : The DARE project (Dictionary of American Regional Speech) has a questionnaire that asks people what they call various things. But I don't think they've published the "S" section yet.

: : : : : We also have soft drink in the UK, but it simply means non-alcoholic. It might mean a fizzy drink, or it might mean squash - squash here being a concentrated fruit-based liquid you add water to. What's that latter known as in the US?

: : : : Do you mean like orange juice from frozen concentrate?

: : : No. If it were a clear liquid that you added water to, it might have been called a cordial a fair few years ago. Some types are called "barley waters". This stuff is not frozen, nor chilled when stored. I'm providing a link, in case the picture doesn't work.

: : I actually tried to drin squash straight (stop laughing) when I first arrived in the UK because I'd never seen squash before. I'd seen it referred to in books but never knew what it was.

: : All the elderly ladies in my mother's mystery writer's circle are making "diet" sodas with flavoured Italian syrups - but they call this stuff "diet sodas made from flavoured Italian syrups". But between you, me and the Internet, it's essentially squash.

: Ginger beer is available in the US, in restaurants if not in supermarkets.
: Here on the West Coast, some Italian restaurants and some coffeehouses offer drinks made by mixing carbonated water (or something similar) with bottled syrup. The drinks are called Italian sodas.

Tonic is confined for the most part to coastal New England. Soda, for most of the Eastern U.S. The Midwest (most of middle America) was pop, or even soda pop, but that seems on the decline in favor of soda. Where the term soda is prevalent, there is always a little confusion, because soda also refers to club soda, or sparkling water, or plain soda, or (any Leo Rosten fans?) plain. Ginger beer and birch beer are available in a few places, but neither is popular or widely known. Pennsylvania is the hotbed of birch beer consumption, and people of Jamaican origin gravitate to ginger beer. Sarsaparilla (sp?) is another name for birch beer, but it seems 19th century.