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Coupon pronunciation map

Couponers can get into spirited debates over things like shelf clearing, clipping services and whether you can combine a cents-off coupon with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon. But the most lively debate is sometimes reserved for what to CALL those little scraps of paper.

Is it “coo-pon”, or “cyoo-pon”??

A North Carolina State University doctoral student is aiming to end that linguistic debate, and more than a hundred others, by showing that there’s no right or wrong answer – it’s all about where you live.

Joshua Katz’s “Dialect Survey Results” maps have spread all over the internet, with their visual representation of where people are most likely to say “soda” versus “pop”, “you guys” or “y’all”, and so on. The “heat maps” are actually based on decade-old data compiled by another researcher – but who wants to pore over data when you can look at colorful maps? That’s what prompted them to go viral this past week.

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The data show that two-thirds of the Americans surveyed say “coo-pon”, about a third go with “cyoo-pon”, and nearly 2% are categorized as “other” (is there really another way to say “coupon”?) Katz’s maps show where in the continental U.S. each pronunciation is most prevalent (sorry, Alaska and Hawaii). On the map shown above, the red areas prefer “coo-pon” – and the darker the red, the more preferred that pronunciation is. So people may look at you funny if you say “cyoo-pon” in the Northeast, southern Louisiana, parts of the upper Midwest or in any of California’s big cities. “Cyoo-pon” is most common in the nation’s heartland, and in the Appalachian region.

Breaking it down even further, residents of the New York metro area are the heaviest “coo-pon” users, with the cities of Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut topping the “coo-pon” list, with 83.1% of residents pronouncing it that way. The other extreme can be found in the city of Joplin, Missouri, where 57% pronounce it “cyoo-pon”. And if you live in Killeen, Texas or Blue Springs, Missouri, flip a coin – both cities fall right down the middle, with 50% saying “coo-pon” and the other 50% saying “cyoo-pon”.

Grocery mapShopping cart map
There are a couple of other dialect differences of interest, to grocery shoppers. Do you say “gross-ery”, or “grow-shury”? The red on the map at left (click to expand) shows that the northeast favors the “s” sound, along with much of the South and California. A wide swath of the Midwest prefers the “sh” sound.

And what do you use to push around your purchases at the grocery store? Most people, indicated by the dark red areas at right (click to expand), call it a shopping cart. Most of the South, and the Appalachian region, prefers to call it a “buggy”. And in parts of the Midwest, particularly Iowa, it’s a “grocery cart”.

So what does all of this prove? Not a whole lot, really. It doesn’t solve the “coo-pon” versus “cyoo-pon” debate, but at least it explains it. So if you have a cyoo-pon for that pop in your grow-shury cart – chances are, at least, we’ll have a pretty good idea where you’re from.

Feel free to leave a comment below, with how you pronounce “coupon”, what part of the country you’re from, and whether you’re in the majority or minority where you live!

9 Comments

  1. I am from the Northeast and I say cyoo-pon (Que-pon) and just recently noticed many people calling them coo-pons. My whole family says cyoo-pons. I also say grow-shurys but not buggy. I wonder if it is because my great grandparents used to go to Florida for the winter and carried it back with them. lol

    • Cougar how to pronounce? CUE-ger or COO-ger?
      Couscous how to pronounce? Cues Cues or Coos Coos? 🙂
      Couth how to pronounce? Cue-th or COO-th? 🙂 It’s coo-th.
      Coupon how to pronounce? CEO of coupons.com says Coo-pon.

      Exactly. The correct pronunciation is COO-PON :3

  2. This is an answer that you’d get from a politician…
    I do both. Depending upon the audience-the dialect changes to fit the environment.

    LOL-I’m almost ashamed of my answer. But it’s an honest one.

  3. a more accurate desc of the non coop-on pronunciation is more like ‘kewp on’ or ‘queuep on’ – the syllables split differently as well as adding a very slight dipthongal ‘y’ after the hard c.

  4. I find this subject matter interesting and I love your sense of humor in all your articles.

    I live in the south and I say coo-pon or cyoo-pon interchangeably, gross-ery, and basket, but never buggy.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!

  5. I always look forward to reading your articles, however, this article is the most boring that I have read. It provides no information or news for a couponer. It’s not even news worthy.

  6. Jennifer K. says:

    I say coo-pon, growshury, and growshury cart. I grew up shopping in Iowa, now I live near St Louis. I guess I’m in the minority here with some expressions.

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