What can you actually learn from those dialect maps?

Odds are you've noticed the spate of eerily accurate American-dialect quizzes making the rounds online. The questionnaires, which draw on data from the Harvard Dialect Survey to pinpoint the regionality of your particular way of speaking, are endlessly entertaining – but what findings can we, and linguists, actually… » 12/26/13 1:30pm 12/26/13 1:30pm