Thursday, August 8, 2013

moving up in the world and pop vs. soda

Linguist List just added this blog to their linguistics community.

A "Saratoga" bottle. One of the first carbonated drinks, soda water,
was bottled in this Saratoga bottle style. Soda water had been bottled
as early as the 1790s. Credit: Society for Historical Archaeology.
In celebration here's a fun fact: in the eternal, American, carbonated battle between pop vs. soda, pop is the older word. It was formed as an onomatopoetic of the "popping" sound of the cork released from the bottle in 1812. At that time, soda was an old word for sodium carbonate. It was not applied to carbonated drink until sometime thereafter. Soda-pop was not even used until 1873. I am sorry to East and West Coasters who may not appreciate that the Midwestern 'pop' lexeme is the elder word. Hey, if it's any solace, age is meaningless and there is no "right" or "wrong" speech. Language change is an inevitable process and the most a dictionary can do is describe that change, not prescribe the rules.

Cheers, everyone.

Etyma from...

"pop" in Online Etymological Dictionary. Douglas Harper. 2013

"soda" in Online Etymological Dictionary. Douglas Harper. 2013


  1. I still disagree. Given that "soda water" is dated to 1802, by Harper, I give it to "soda."
    You will not win me so easily!