Friday, December 17, 2004


One of my Indian graduate students mentioned the university yookla and gets confused when I talk about Texas (not UTA) or Illinois (as opposed to UIUC which is too easily confused with UIC).

So for the foreigners out there, here is a quiz for the common names for some major American universities, which all native-born Americans know because of their sports teams.

I could go on forever. Sometimes the name depends on where you say it. In Illinois we have Northern, Southern, Western, Northeastern as well as Northwestern.


  1. "Cal"? Only if you mean the football team. It's "Berkeley".

  2. Some local versions of university names from places I have lived:

    In the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St Paul): The U
    In Austin, TX: UT
    In Washington, DC (which is called "The District"): GW
    In London, ONT: Western
    In Toronto: U of T
    In Montreal: UQAM, pronounced yew-kwam

  3. I am confused. what's the quiz ? Do you want us to identify the common name given the univ, or the other way around :) ? btw yookla is indeed the reference of choice for UCLA that I am familiar with from my days 'apping'. Since I got here, I have started referring to Washington as u-dub, but that is probably a local affectation.

  4. I thought Washington was called UDub.

  5. Indeed, locals (undergrads and people not
    affiliated with the university) do use "Cal" to
    refer to UC Berkeley (I never heard "California"),
    much to my initial confusion, and
    they do not show Lance's restraint when it
    comes to calling me a "Cal professor".


  6. I'm a grad student at the U-Dub, and we call it the U-Dub, but even as an undergrad, and a high school student, in Hawaii, we called the University of Washington "U-Dub" so I don't think it's completely a local thing, as Suresh suggested.

    And I gotta say, I've never, ever, ever heard of anyone refer to Berkley as "California." California's got too gosh darn many schools to refer to any of them as simply "California."


  7. Actually (and sorry for posting twice, I should have put this in one comment) what sometimes confuses me even more than what to call different schools, is whether or not I'm supposed to use "the" in front of it.

    Because as an undergrad at the University of Hawaii, my school was only ever referred to as "UH" and if anyone ever said "the UH" you could be guaranteed they weren't associated with UH in anyway.

    Whereas here, people often call UW "the U-Dub." But if you did that with "UH," that would have sounded very, very weird to us. And it's like that with a lot of places. Sometimes you can stick the "the" in front, and sometimes, it just sounds grammatically incorrect. Can you imagine someone saying "the UCLA" or something?

    And while people sometimes call the UW "Washington" you could never call UH "Hawaii." Hm, unless you're talking about our sports teams, then it's acceptable. Augh. So many anomalies. It should be standardized, for the sake of your confused grad student, and everyone else. Even all of us who've grown up in the US couldn't figure out something consistent to call Berkeley/California.

  8. The University of Waterloo is known to some as "the 'loo". I derive no small amount of pleasure from the allusion to toilets.

  9. Some cheeseheads in Wisconsin seem to think that U-Dub is Wisconsin, but U-Dub is trademarked by the great UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: