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NC State grad student's statistics project goes viral

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It's an age old question… soda or pop?

Now a doctoral student at NC State University has mapped out what people call things from different areas for a statistics class project. The results have gone viral.

So, we took to the streets to see what different people call their favorite fizzy drink.

The results are in and it seems soda is the top choice here in Wilmington. And Joshua Katz's maps agree.

"The red regions of the map are where people predominantly call it soda. The blue regions of the map are where people would predominantly call it pop," he said.

The 28-year-old says he was always interested in linguistics and dialect variations.

"I've never been able to put my finger on, but there's something about it. I just find it fascinating," he adds.

When it came time to do a project for his spatial statistics class, he remembered back to his undergrad years when he had stumbled upon a survey about it.

He created maps based on the data to show the distribution of different dialect variants across the United States.

But what he didn't realize is that he would be learning some things of his own.

“I learned that not only is sun-shower not a word that most people use," he said. "But there is this small portion of the country that refers to that as the devil beating his wife.”

Katz says this is not the end of the line for the project he says he made an "A" on. He says there has been some interest in putting together a book and he is also looking into creating an interactive quiz.

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