By: Jess Sorentino (University of Delaware)

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Who knew such a tiny, little state like Delaware could be split right down the middle in views and lifestyle? Apparently Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show had no idea Delaware was divided into the “North” and the “South” of the state.

Mandvi found this out when he was visiting the University of Delaware campus to talk to a political science professor about the Senate race. Jason Mycoff, the professor, explained that the voters in the south have a much more conservative view than those of the north, and the two halves would be voting very differently.

However, politics is not the only thing that differentiates the north and south of the state. After spending extensive amounts of time filming on the university’s campus – which is considered to be located in Northern Delaware – driving the length of the state and talking to both Northerners and Southerners, Mandvi learned quite a few things:

1. Politically, northern Delaware is not as conservative as southern Delaware, and each respective side does not feel comfortable out of their boundary.

2. The northern side of the state is more cultured than the southern side. The south has two museums and a satellite campus to the University of Delaware, meanwhile the north is home to three museums and the main university campus. What a difference.

3. People in southern Delaware say they go to “flea markets.” The same southerner also said the people on the northern side of the state go to “flea malls.” I have a question: What exactly is a flea mall? Does that mean a regular mall, and the south just doesn’t have those? I don’t quite understand.

4. This last one is a really big deal. It’s not that the south is filled with redneck hillbillies and the north only has hipsters as Mandvi mentions, but the big deal and most noticeable difference is the pronunciation of “cheesesteak.”

Mandvi must have asked a southern Delaware waitress about 27 times how they say “cheesesteak” in the south. Each time, she said “cheesesteak,” with the emphasis on the -EE of “cheese.” He used hand motions and different voice pitches to distinguish between the way the waitress was saying “chEEsesteak” and the way he was saying “cheesesteak.”

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It’s so funny, it’s something you have to hear and see for yourself, but also I have to mention out of all of the differences and comparisons between the two halves of the state, only the pronunciation of “cheesesteak” remains unsolved.

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