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12 Comments

  • I truly love the way our language got stuck somewhere in between the UK and US. In a way it is like being raised in a bilingual family – you get the best of both and can comprehend and use the very slight differences to your benefit (even though we are speaking in cultural terms now).

  • Totally agree, Julie – the best of both worlds. But surprising how much CanE trips up native writers. I must correct 5 “color”s and 3 “neighbor”s a day.

    Laura, for discussion of loonies and toonies, I’d refer you to my regular blog…but I see you’ve already found it. 🙂 I wrote a post earlier this year called “How to speak Canadian.”

  • I just know that there’s Canadian English. Commonly I hear US and UK. But it’s interesting though to know other kinds of English.

  • I wonder how long our Canadian English will last, stuck as were are next to an elephant. Was it not Pierre Elliot Trudeau who mused about the elephant and the mouse with the mouse being in danger even when the elephant wanted to make love?

    In my lifetime I’ve seen two divergent themes in Canadian English, the rise of Canadian spelling (in spite of most people not knowing how to enable Canadian spell check in Ms Word) and the demise of certain Canadianisms and pronunciations. How many Canadians now say ‘slippy’ for ‘slippery’, or ‘chesterfield’ for ‘sofa’? How many young Canadians pronounce ‘schedule’ with a soft ‘sch’, or know that ‘khaki’ rhymes with ‘car key’? When I mention such to my Canadian-born students, I am met with bemused smiles often reserved for the gently senile.

    I think the solution is to dig a large trench filled with mad beavers, block all TV and internet signals from the US, and remember who really won the War of 1812.

  • John, wasn’t it also Trudeau who said “Canada is not a country for the cold of heart or the cold of feet.”? But I digress…

    I don’t know whether or not CanE will continue to be a distinct variation, especially now that writing for the (worldwide) Web is such a key consideration. In any event, we’ll always have our Canadianisms, like hoser and two-four and double-double, eh?

  • John, in my research (e.g., of millions of words of Canadian blogs) I see no evidence that Canadian English spelling is on the decline or is in any way “threatened.”

  • I think my point about Canadian spelling was not interpreted quite the way I had intended. It (Canuck spelling) is certainly on the rise, in spite of MS Word and the WWW, and in spite of techies at post-secondary institutions not enabling it on distributed program(me)s (a situation at my school). What I was noticing is the change, maybe ‘Americanization’, of Canadian pronunciation (Newfoundland excepted?). Change is natural, but when one compares recordings of Canadians in the past to the sounds of today, things so sound more Californian. One need only compare Foster Hewitt’s speech to that of Jian Ghomeshi to hear the difference.

    So, fix bayonets (two syllables when I was in the army), put on your khaki battledress, and hide behind the chesterfield if anyone calls you a hoser.

  • I think that the reader should also be informed that Canadian English varies from province to province. For example, in Newfoundland and rural Nova Scotia, we use programme but elsewhere, program is the standard. Also, the fact that Newfoundland is considered to have it’s own dialect of English altogether. So, this article really reflects English in the province or region where the author lives, because whilst some of the things they mentioned are true throughout the country, not all of it is. English in British Columbia is different from that in Ontario, which is again different from that in the Maritimes, and again we have more changes as we go through the isles of Cape Breton and Newfoundland. It is a nice summary, but I believe that the subject of the strong differences from region to region, province to province needs to be mentions.