Ethno-telephony is a technique in cultural geography which involves mapping terms from telephone directories. The technique was invented in 1941 by Peveril Meigs who mapped the frequency of French surnames in Louisiana in an attempt to create a quantitative description of the spacial distribution of Acadian culture.

In 1976, John Shelton Reed pioneered the use of ethno-telephony for mapping vernacular regions in his paper The Heart of Dixie: An Essay in Folk Geography.

Wilbur Zelinsky followed Reed's study in 1980 with an attempt at a comprehensive map of vernacular regions in the Continental United States.

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