Talk:Canadian English

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Spelling differences[edit]

I think a page should be created that notes the differences between Canadian spelling and American/British spelling, similar to

There's no need for that. The article you mentioned--whose actual title is American and British English spelling differences--contains a lot of information on Canadian (and Australian) spelling. I'm Jack(Lumber) and I approve this message. 23:00, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I think that would be very useful, actually. The whole of Canadian spelling is unique from any one country, and the American/British article does a poor job if one is looking for correct Canadian spelling. --Goodbye Galaxy (talk) 04:48, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
What seems to be missing? I have a database of spellings and all of them for Canada fit into one or the other of en-GB-oed and en-US. Peter Grey (talk) 05:58, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Peter, of course the spellings you have fit into en-UK and en-US lists. That isn’t the point. The task for the reader is not to locate a word on any ol’ list at all and call it a day. And our task as “editors” of this article is to explain that en-CA mixes and matches en-US and en-UK spellings. – joeclark (talk) 19:25, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Obviously. That isn't saying the "whole of Canadian spelling is unique." What, if anything, is needed beyond our consensus that Canadian English spellings mix en-US and en-GB? (Though actually there are a small number of special cases where Canada uses en-GB hypenation rules with en-US word forms.) Peter Grey (talk) 00:37, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps a table in a list article with three columns (GB, CA in the middle, US) to help demonstrate these differences without cluttering the article. - BalthCat (talk) 06:24, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
That's a brilliant idea! It would make for easy comparison and summarization. Anyone know how to make this happen? — SpikeToronto (talk) 20:43, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

North-East US[edit]

The article only states similarities between Canadian English to Mid/Western US and Pacific Northwest English, but it does not say anything about the north-eastern US. I mean Canadian from southern Ontario has more similarities to Northeastern English. Norum (talk) 23:25, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps that belongs in Northeastern US English. Peter Grey (talk) 05:56, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Ontario English and Northeastern US English are very unrelated. That is well established. Those dialects are quite different and are said to be diverging.
I'm from Toronto. And I happen to like Buffalo, New York a lot. It's friendly. They hear my accent; they are nice.
I once asked directions in downtown Buffalo to somewhere we wanted to go. The storeowner, in a concerned way, told us that we don't want to walk there, because it's "black stone".
We had no idea what that meant, but from the way he said it, it sounded really bad, like there was some gang turf war going on, maybe. (There are definitely bad areas downtown.)
Somehow, later, we determined what he actually said.
He didn't say "black stone". He was telling us this place was "blocks down" and therefore we shouldn't walk, we should take the streetcar.
Me and girlfriend, both of us were thrown by that strong accent, which kicks in the moment you cross anywhere along the Niagara River.
Varlaam (talk) 03:38, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Aside from:

  • the urban north US English influence on urban ON English (and it's quite palpable aside from the absence of the strong Yiddish and Italian influences that lead to the "it's coitains fuh youse guys" variants of NY/NJ dialects),

we also need to cover

  • the relationships between the largely rural dialect continuum of the Canadian Praries and the northern flavor of west-central US (e.g. Wyoming, Montana) dialect, as well as
  • the Germanicization connections in the area between those y'all-drawl dialect around the Rocky Mountains in the west, and the Midwestern to East Coast dialects to the east – there's a strong connection between the Nordic-influenced Wisconsin-region speech patterns and those just to the north of them in Canada

With regard to the third point, some of the same Germanic influence in found, grammatically more than with regard to accent, in Pennsylvania, especially the transitive/intransitive thing ("going up the mountains", "finished school"). The rural and suburban version of this PA accent, the exact extent of which I'm uncertain actually also has the "aboht"/"aboot" for "about" feature of Canadian English, despite no direct connection to Canada. It's from the influence of the German ö and ü vowels (and in PA is closer to a flat, unaccented "aboht". (There are multiple dialects in PA, however; Philadelphia has a marked one, and parts of PA were more settled by Scots-Irish than Germans). I'm not sure what journals are good sources for this kind of thing (but would appreciate recommendations in that regard; I badly need them for New Mexican English, which has proved remarkably difficult to source.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:01, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

  • What you're talking about is called Canadian raising, and it has nothing to do with German influence (and the pronunciation is [əˈbəʊt], not [əˈbut]). Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 07:49, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

The States[edit]

It seems to me that Canadians are much more likely than Americans to refer to the United States of America as "the States." I haven't seen anything about that in this article. People in the British Isles seems to say "the States" much more often as well. Thegryseone (talk) 23:45, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

The phrase the States actually transcends the boundaries of language, in that it is apparently used all over the world; based on my own experience (Continental Europe), it's "Los States" in Spain, "Les States" in France, "Gli States" in Italy. I'm [dʒæˑkɫɜmbɚ] and I approve this message. 01:15, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe what you're saying. It makes sense that "Los States" in Spain because in Spanish it's los Estados Unidos, i.e., the noun comes first anyway and what comes after it is apparently just seen as "extra stuff." I'm just saying that I don't ever hear Americans refer to their country as "the States"; according to what you're telling me it's just everyone else who does that. Thegryseone (talk) 04:05, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

It's more common among the US military and other Americans abroad. --JWB (talk) 09:38, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

We also say "stateside" and of course "across the line" or "south of the line"...and my experience with non-North Americans is if I say "the States" I have to qualify it immediately afterwards as "they don't get it". Britons have the annoying habit of referring to Canada as being in America, and also of using (gasp) Red Indian.Skookum1 (talk) 18:18, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

You'll hear it in areas along the Canada/US border. I live near the Canadian border and I hear both "the States" and "the US" from "Statesers" (which my Canadian cousins use). Oddly enough, I often hear Canadians use "America" instead of "the States," "the US/USA," etc. A little strange in light of the traditional Canadian preference that "America/American" refer to all North Americans. Britons and Australians I've encountered usually say "America." Not sure about New Zealanders.--Locutus1966 (talk) 21:43, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

I live pretty close to the border with America and around here simply "America" is often used --Mike Oosting (talk) 18:49, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Dropping one word out of a proper name is really not that remarkable. Peter Grey (talk) 23:40, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Let me guess, you're Canadian :) Thegryseone (talk) 02:47, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

The states or the US is the norm for me (in BC) I find America obnoxious (as a term, not as a country, continent or geographical unit). I wouldn't say there's a Cdn preference for this to apply to all North Americans/ or North/South/Central Americans. That to me is a Latin American concept and preference. I find most people here don't contest the usage (in terms of who it applies to). I'm North American for sure, but not American. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:32, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Americans abroad will say "back in the States", right? "Back in America" sounds confrontational, as though someone's getting into an argument over things here vs. things there.
Re: "traditional Canadian preference" above. I disagree with that statement above. The term "American" can never be applied to me, since I am a Canadian. Like the Robertson screwdriver, God bless it. (I am pausing here for a moment to salute our screwdriver ...) For me personally, "America" has two meanings, 1) the US, 2) the Mexican soccer team.
In Spanish, the term "American" proudly applies to anybody from the New World. That's not the English usage.
Hollywood movie Mexicans say "americanos" when describing the "good guys" in the movie. That is Hollywood movie "Spanish". Real Mexicans don't say "americanos" to refer to people from the US, since Mexicans too are "americanos". Mexicans normally say "estadounidenses" or "gringos". The term "gringo" was adopted into English and the meaning was changed. (Just like "macho" with its totally different Spanish meaning.) "Gringo" in Spanish does not mean white people generally (like white Canadians). And it is not a pejorative. "Gringo" means a guy from the USA. In Spanish, a white guy is a "güero".
Varlaam (talk) 03:14, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Uh, no it doesn't. Gringo, true, is not used for canadienses or Britons or Europeans, it's specifically about Americans. But güero is someone who's blond or fair-haired, including some redheads; though redheads can also be rubios. Either can be hispanic...and not necessarily "white" (remembering that there are many Mexicans who aren't mestizo.Skookum1 (talk) 00:53, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Having grown up military, I can confirm that "the States" isn't unfamiliar to US citizens associated with the US military. There's a bit of a sociolect surrounding the US military, and it has some non-US influences because, of course, there are US military installations all over the place, including in England. Having also lived in Canada, I agree that "the States" is a common Canadianism (as well as Briticism, and whatever else it might be) for the US, and that usage of "the States" is more common in Canada than in the US, even if it's not unknown in the US.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:05, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

I'm Canadian, live on the Ontario/New York border and I almost never ever hear the use of the word "America" here... we say "the states" or "the U.S." almost 100% of the time. I also have Canadian friends from Nova Scotia and British Columbia I talk to frequently online and they use the same terminology I do although I have no idea if that is the rule of thumb there or not. I would confirm as well that a lot of us (not all of course, some don't care) don't like the use of the term "America" when referring to the states because we find it a touch arrogant/oblivious to the fact that there are 20+ nations in the Americas, not one. Incidentally, I was out today in a thrift shop and was looking at a book about Canada from probably the 50's or 60's and it had a whole chapter on our "fellow Americans" but was talking about citizens of all 20+ nations of the Americas, not strictly those of the U.S. Silk — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:15, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Knapsack & kitbag[edit]

These terms are not so uncommon outside Canada. There even appear in songs known to many Americans: Happy Wanderer & Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag. They are perhaps not so much Canadian as a bit old-fashioned --JimWae (talk) 04:47, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

I don’t think knapsack is “old fashioned.” Where I live in Canada, most people use knapsack to differentiate it from backpack, where the latter is much larger, something one would use for camping, while the former is smaller, often worn over one shoulder only, and used to go off for the day, to school, to the library, to wherever. It’s a common distinction in the Greater Toronto Area. And, I don’t think it’s an old-fashioned distinction since I hear all of my nieces and nephews, ranging in age from eight to 25 (I’ll leave the two-year-old out!), still using it! — SpikeToronto (talk) 05:04, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
My main point is that it is not in any way a particularly Canadian term. I (& most of my classmates) wore a knapsack to school in NYC every day in the 1950s. We were very aware they were very much like what the soldiers wore during WW2--JimWae (talk) 05:09, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I think families often hand-down distinctions that might not be generally observed. Nevertheless, in NYC we had the same distinction - knapsacks were usually not large. For me, I remember being struck with a new word after coming to BC, viz "backpack".--JimWae (talk) 05:49, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I think that an important point is being lost here: It is not relevant whether the term, knapsack, is old-fashioned in NYC because this is not an article about American English or English as spoken in NYC. It is an article about Canadian English. Thus, if the term has fallen out of favor in the United States (as you say), but still has currency in Canada (as any Torontonian and the Canadian Oxford Dictionary can attest to), then you have proven the point that it belongs in an article about current CanE practices. — SpikeToronto (talk) 07:16, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

I have not proven your point, and you are reading far too much into a "perhaps" statement that was just a side issue. (The term has been replaced somewhat by backpack. The terms knapsack is virtually unheard anymore in BC, and kitbag refers more often to an large gym bag that holds one's hockey "kit") However, the point at issue is: "is it a Canadianism?" Appearing in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary does not make a word a Canadianism. Do you have a reliable source?--JimWae (talk) 07:23, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

The claim made was that knapsack is old-fashioned and not used. That may be so in the U.S., but not here in Canada. My point is that, if indeed you are correct that the word has fallen into disuse in the U.S., and is still common in Canada, then you have proven the point: Its falling into disuse in the U.S. has had the effect of making it a Canadianism. And, if a precise source is going to be required for each and every term, you will end up excising a great deal of this article as well as the entirety of the following: List of American words not widely used in the United Kingdom and List of British words not widely used in the United States. Why is it that no one ever gives an inch on these English language wikiarticles (he says with an exasperated sigh)? And, why is it that there’s always a wikieditor sitting in the U.S. who wants to use his/her American experience and/or American sources to expound on other forms of the language elsewhere in the world? (Insert another exasperated sigh.) If its BrE, we use British sources and/or experience, not U.S. ones. If its AusE, we use Australian sources and/or experience, not U.S. ones. If it’s CanE, we use Canadian sources and/or experience, not U.S. ones. So why do you think your U.S. sources and experience trumps my Canadian sources and/or experience? I cannot express it any more clearly: You say knapsack is rarely used in the U.S. (a fact that has no bearing on its use in Canada). I say it is used constantly here in Toronto. What does that tell you? It tells me that the word is used with greater frequency here, and that its relative lack of use in the U.S. suggests it has become a Canadianism. (P.S. And, I haven’t said a word about kitbag. That’s your “bag”. Some word from an old WWI song that doesn’t interest me.) — SpikeToronto (talk) 07:55, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

You do know that BC is in Canada, no? I live in Canada, and have for longer than I did in the US. Do a search for the terms at & at & tell me then that knapsack has not been significantly replaced by backpack, and "kit bag" still means a backpack. But you are geting me off-focus again. What other sources besides your family experiences make these terms (that have been used throughout the English-speaking world) "Canadianisms"?--JimWae (talk) 08:04, 26 September 2009 (UTC) Search & & tell me knapsack is still a Canadianism. Find something in addition to your own family experience--JimWae (talk) 08:12, 26 September 2009 (UTC) Go to - it originated in Canada - and search for knapsack, then for backpack. Do the same at That's 4 for me. Can you find a single store that would make your point?--JimWae (talk) 08:35, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Leaving aside the whole "knapsack"/"backpack" issue, I have never heard anyone use "kit bag" in the US. Yes, people know the song, but it's a British song and I doubt Americans even have a clear idea what it means. I know I don't. If Canadians use it, that's a difference.(Oh, if you insist... I, an American made the backpack/knapsack distinction as a kid but I think only older people still say "knapsack" in the US.)Pdronsard (talk) 04:03, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

I, for one, grew up in Toronto, and I never heard the term "kit bag" until I read this section. Typical ignorant Torontonian I guess. --Doradus (talk) 16:37, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I still think of "backpack" as a trendy, "new" word which came along "recently". Meaning in the 1970s. It was cooler to have a "backpack". (Maybe because it rhymes?) Before that, it was a plain old knapsack or rucksack.
Now, if you were planning on running away from home to live the romantic life of a hobo, then I think it was called a "bindle".
As for "kitbag", it's in a jaunty song where you're happy because you have "a lucifer to light your fag", which also does not have a lot to do with life in Toronto. "Honey, have you seen my fags? And my lucifer with Gretzky on it?"
Varlaam (talk) 02:41, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

As an Illinois kid in the '90s, we said BOOKBAG. Backpack was less often used, and I knew knapsack only because that's what my grandma and aunt called it. (I realize this thread is way old, but I had to add...) Air (talk) 18:18, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

"Rucksack" you don't hear at all in BC, unless it's maybe a certain type of older person, not necessarly from the UK. And "backpack" is much larger than a "knapsack" also...and I'd venture that that term came along in the golden age of backpacking when the outdoor eqpt companies like Mtn Eqpt Coop and Coast Mountain Sports came out with the newer-generation ones with all those pockets, zippers, tabs and what-nots, vs the simplicity of the smaller knapsack. Things like that you didn't see in places like Army & Navy (not a surplus store, but a budget department store chain in BC) until cheap Asian knock-offs began to appear in them; an old catalogue for Jones Tent and Awning might indicate something, or for that matter a 60s edition of the Eaton's catalogue.Skookum1 (talk) 18:22, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

concering 'marks' or 'grades'[edit]

"Canadian students use the term marks (more common in England) or grades to refer to their results; usage is very mixed" Canadians say "marks" or "grades" as opposed to what? What do Americans say? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:10, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

"Grades", usually. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:52, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm a New Yorker, and we use both "Marks" and "Grades". For example, after taking a test, the teacher grades or marks the test. When she is done, you get your grade or mark. Same thing for report cards, where you get your grades or marks. (talk) 03:38, 19 February 2010 (UTC)AR
I've taught in NYS and AZ and "grades" is much, much more common in the US. Have you ever heard anyone called a "mark grubber"?Pdronsard (talk) 04:03, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

I'd say marks is much more common here (BC), though I certainly know what grades/grading is, though grade drubber is something I've never heard before. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:26, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

It's marks and marking in Ontario. "What mark did you get?" "75." Varlaam (talk) 02:25, 16 July 2011 (UTC)


I noticed this on a traffic sign in Manitoba some years ago: "[The] wearing of seatbelts is compulsory in Manitoba" (can't remember if it said "the"). Meanwhile here in the States, signs would simply say: "Buckle up! State Law". It was before the clever "Click it or ticket" campaign. Any thoughts on this ?

Interesting observation. Having resided in two American states and four provinces in Canada, I would agree that brevity and abbreviation (at times cryptic) characterise US traffic signs, whereas completeness verging on verbosity is the norm in Canada.

Consider the following actual street signs from Victoria, BC, along with my best guesses of equivalent examples from Arizona and Colorado:

Canada USA
Please keep out of fenced area Keep out
Sorry, camping and beach fires not allowed Camping, beach fires prohibited
Please avoid use of engine brakes in urban areas Engine brakes prohibited
Pedestrian crossing Ped Xing

The Canadian versions are endearing but tough to read at highway speeds. A friend of mine (Canadian) hypothesized that this difference might be attributed to Canadian hostility to the perceived "dumbing down" of the English language by American commercial slang (e.g., "lite", "EZ", "kleen"). Hard to say, although the pattern itself might stand up to statistical scrutiny. Any publications on this topic? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:26, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Tend to disagree with this -- Ontario road signs were simplified several years ago to eliminate extra words. For example the former "ramp speed" signs now have the wording eliminated. Many more road signs use icons in Ontario, as compared to the US, and it is amusing to see the "wordy" signs used in the US. Another example is the WALK / DON'T WALK sign in the US, whilst "walking man" icons are used in Ontatio.

Perhaps in Canada, excessive abbreviation XING, NITE, XMAS is seen as a form of americanism (a bit like saying zee for zed).

Feldercarb (talk) 22:35, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

The seatbelt sign seems pretty typical to me (The wearing of seatbelts is compulsory in ----). We have signs that say "it is unlawful to tamper with the smoke alarm" (funny enough people keep crossing out unlawful and writing illegal) and "clothing is optional beyond this point" (for the nudist beach). I'm still surprised to see "thru" on a sign (which we do have in BC) because it seems like slang and not proper English for a road sign. I think we've just stuck generally to older signing conventions.

On another note - it took an American friend of mine to comment that our buses say sorry ("Sorry Bus Full") and our garbage cans say "thank-you" love it! There's no place like home. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:55, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Wordiness is relative.
Mexican highways constantly exhort you to fasten your seatbelt, where "seatbelt" alone is "cinturón de seguridad" and the entire message is written out in full.
Varlaam (talk) 02:22, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
In Mexico and Puerto Rico seatbealt is often shortened to just cinturón, for example on airplanes I've seen just "abróchense los cinturónes." Air (talk) 18:30, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Can't Catch Cot[edit]

I've seen reference to this several times, but for the life of me, I cannot distinguish COT and CAUGHT. Are there other example words which might illustrate the point better? Tot, sot, sought, bot, bought Feldercarb (talk) 22:35, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Is TOT and TAUT helpful? (I think the difference is slight, although it might have jumped right out at Henry Higgins. ;-) Modal Jig (talk) 19:59, 29 March 2010 (UTC)


There are some definite problems with the article on the section on the low back merger, which is what is fuelling the confusion. First, let's get to a starting point, and that would be with the British English pronunciations of both words. 'Caught' is pronounced quite differently in British English to Canadian English. To replicate the British pronunciation, first say the words 'colt' and 'court', noting the sound of the vowel (written as 'o' and 'ou'). It's the same sound in both words (i.e. an 'o'/'ou' before an 'r' or 'l') in Canadian English, and that sound is found in virtually no other circumstances in CE. Now say the words again, but *remove* the 'l' and 'r' sounds *without* changing the sound of the 'o'/'ou'. The resulting sound is close to what caught sounds like in BE (you might find that the 'court' transformation resulted in a slightly "longer" version of essentially the same sound). This is what the /ɔ/ symbol represents. As for cot, you're just going to have to listen to a British person say it. I can't spell it out since different Canadians pronounce it differently. The British pronunciation is /ɒ/. Now listen to an American pronounce that sound... they pronounce it more like an 'a' of sorts, which is /ɑ/. President Obama pronounces it that way, so listen for words like "not" in a speech of his. Canadians pronounce that sound (i.e. cot, not, rot, etc.) either the British way or the American way or somewhere in between. The low back merger as it originally referred to American English was the idea that the distinct British sounds of /ɔ/ in caught and /ɒ/ in cot merged together as the intermediate /ɑ/ sound in American English.
So now to Canadian English. Virtually no Canadians pronounce caught with a /ɔ/ sound; they pronounce it with either of /ɑ/ or /ɒ/. Similarly, cot is pronounced with /ɑ/ or /ɒ/. If a Canadian pronounces 'cot' with the American /ɑ/ sound, chances are that person is pronouncing 'caught' the same way, or nearly the same way, perhaps just lengthening the sound in 'caught'. Such a person would have the "standard" American version of the cot-caught merger. I notice this amongst Maritimers and rural Eastern Ontarians especially. However, there are other possibilities. If a Canadian is pronouncing 'caught' with a /ɒ/ sound (i.e. the British cot sound), then chances are that person is also pronouncing 'cot' with its original British sound; in other words the pronunciation of 'caught' was pushed right through the intermediate American /ɑ/ sound to the British /ɒ/. A lot of Canadians, especially urban Canadians outside Toronto, have this pronunciation combination. It's a merged sound, but it is *not* the merger which is usually referred to by the "low-back merger". The article makes a dog's breakfast of this point. The following sentence:
Speakers do not distinguish /ɔ/ (as in caught) and /ɑ/ (as in cot), which merge as [ɒ], a low back rounded vowel really ought to be rewritten as:
Speakers do not distinguish /ɔ/ (as in caught) and /ɒ/ (as in cot). These sounds are merged as either [ɒ], a low back rounded vowel, or as [ɒ]. because it gets the starting point for 'cot' wrong as well as the end point, which is not universal. Most Canadians are merging the two sounds, but they are not all merging them to the same sound.
Finally, some Canadians don't have the merger and do distinguish between 'caught' and 'cot'. They continue to pronounce 'cot' the British way /ɒ/ but 'caught' has moved to the American /ɑ/, often with a longer held sound. This happens to be how I pronounce the two words. D P J (talk) 19:11, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
"As for cot, you're just going to have to listen to a British person say" - not helping much, sorry Feldercarb (talk) 19:14, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
I have merged sounds in "cot" and "caught" although, as D P J points out, my "caught" has a slightly longer vowel.
For Feldercarb,
I once worked with a nice New Zealand girl and decided we should visit the Toronto pub called Pauper's. When we arrived, she was surprised, because she was expecting to see "Poppers".
So "pauper" and "popper" have merged here, but not in New Zealand.
But, as per D P J's observation, the vowel in my "pauper" is a little longer than the one in "popper".
And, to be perfectly clear, "longer" here means the vowel quality is the same, but you are saying it for a slightly longer interval. Many languages use vowel length in a regular fashion to distinguish words.
Varlaam (talk) 02:06, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

zed / zee[edit]

To say that "zee is not normally used in Canada" is to suggest that it is rare. The reference cited to support this claim says clearly that in 1991 39% of 20-25 year-olds in the Golden Horseshoe said "zee". Four in ten Canadians in the most populous English-speaking region of the country don't constitute a rarity. My goodness, by this standard one could say that "French is not normally used in Canada"! The fact of the matter is that a good number of Canadians do say "zee", and the current wording ("not normally used") is extremely misleading. I tried (twice) to correct it by saying simply: "The name of the letter Z is usually zed, but zee, though often stigmatized, is also used." (The comment about the stigma was in the original, and I just left it in.) I fail to see how my change is not a better reflection not only of the referenced article, but also of a lifetime of experience living in the Golden Horseshoe. Wyandzed (talk) 19:29, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Hello Wyandzed. I read the reference citation, and it does indeed say that 39% of 20-25 year-olds said "zee". It also reflects that this number would dwindle since the number of over-30 year-olds was only 12.5%. I fail to see how you can take just one segment of a population and apply the statistics for that segment to the entire population? The "uncommon" descriptor does apply in this case.
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  20:30, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply, Paine. While the article does suggest that people tend to switch from "zee" to "zed" as they get older, that's not at all the same as saying that "zee" is uncommon. Actually, the article also seems to be saying that the use of "zee" among adults is actually increasing: the 1979 study found it in "8% of the adults" while the results of the 1991 study were 39% among 20-25 year olds and 12.5% among those over 30. Exact numbers aside, it seems obvious that "zee" is used by more Canadians than is suggested by "not common". (Even 10% would be more than two million people.) My edit simply stated that zee "is also used". And I've now found that the primary reference on Canadian English, The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, not at all surprisingly lists two pronunciations for the letter: /zed/ and /zi:/. I stand by my "zee is also used", and will reinstate it with this new reference unless I can be convinced that "zee" is "not common". (And references and authorities aside, it'll be tough to convince me that all the "zee"'s I've heard in Toronto over the years have been "uncommon".) — Wyandzed (talk) 21:28, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Wyandzed, one note on your post above. Given that your text is contested, I would encourage you to wait until some solution is resolved here on the talk page rather than repeatedly restoring your preferred version in the absence of consensus. Thanks in advance. --Ckatzchatspy 22:27, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Of course. I'm just getting acquainted with the protocols of editing the Wikipedia. Apologies. — Wyandzed (talk) 06:21, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I think that even if the usage were only 10%, it could be misleading to say that it is "not common". I think we need another wording here. If only 15% of Canadians had red hair, would we say red-haired Canadians are uncommon? We could say less common. --JimWae (talk) 20:38, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree. — Wyandzed (talk) 06:21, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Wyandzed, the reference material describes how some younger Southern Ontario residents use "zee" because of American influences, of the stigma against such use, and of how the use drops off radically as the speakers age. Your text ("The name of the letter Z is usually zed, but zee, though often stigmatized, is also used.") doesn't properly reflect that reference, and in fact suggests that "zee" is Canadian, as opposed to actually being an American pronunciation that is used in Canada. (The article actually makes the point that the patterns of use in Ontario actually suggest that there is not a transfer under way from the international "zed" to the American "zee", and also identifies "zee" as a uniquely American pronunciation.) Furthermore, it is not "4 in 10 Canadians" in Ontario, but instead approximately 40% of one age group. Doing the math to work out exactly what proportion of the overall population that is would produce a significantly smaler result. Look, if we want to find some data to illustrate how the proximity to the US, and the prevalence of American media, has influenced the use of "zee", that is one thing. However, and especially when one observes the use of "zed" in Canadian-sourced media (Canadian Sesame Street, radio stations such as "Zed 95" as opposed to "Zee 95" in the States) we cannot put forth that "zee" is Canadian when it clearly is not. --Ckatzchatspy 22:27, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Ckatz, I think we have a fundamentally different idea of what makes something Canadian. I think "Canadian is as Canadian does": if Canadians are doing it, or using it, or thinking it, it's Canadian. Your objection to my edit is that it "suggests that "zee" is Canadian, as opposed to actually being an American pronunciation that is used in Canada". I believe you're making a false distinction. Refusing to acknowledge a widespread usage on this basis is like having an article on Canadian music and leaving out a segment on rock and roll on the grounds that it's just "American music that is used in Canada". No pronunciation is inherently American or Canadian, it's either used in those places or it's not, and to the extent that it is used in the US or Canada it can be called American or Canadian.
Moving to the facts of the matter, I think it's clear that a not insignificant number of Canadians do say "zee". Looking at the math in Chambers' article, in 1991 12.5% of those 30 and up used zee, and the percentages for the younger generations (who do count, don't they?) were significantly higher. And that was almost twenty years ago, with the trend increasing, if the 1979 figures in the same article are any indication (despite the point of Chambers' was making about age-grading). Bill Cassleman, a well-known Canadian commentator on the language, says that "In Canada, zed is losing ground to zee" and that "many, many teenagers and twenty-somethings use zee" ( And then there's the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, which lists both "zed" and "zee" as Canadian pronunciations of the letter. To claim, as the current article does, that "zee is not normally used in Canada" flies in the face of all this.
If our purpose is to inform those who come to the Wikipedia wondering, "In Canada do they say zed or zee?" then we're not being honest or helpful if we ignore what Canadians actually say in favour of what we think is "Canadian". The fact of the matter is that many people do say "zee": even if we find that unsettling, or erroneous, or misguided, or un-Canadian, or just not right, many people do. And they've been doing so for generations.
Now I think you make an excellent point about the practically exclusive use of "zed" in the media, and I think an informative article should say that. As I see it, these are the points that would be most helpful in presenting a comprehensive view of the matter: 1) Most Canadians say "zed". 2) A good (and possibly increasing) number of Canadians, mainly in younger generations, say "zee". 3) In the media one hears "zed" exclusively. 4) Many consider "zee" to be American, and there is thus a stigma attached to it. And for references I'd site the Chambers article, The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, and the Cassleman article (and for point 4, can I cite this discussion? [grin] ) — Wyandzed (talk) 06:21, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Several points are important here:
  • The articles you've listed clearly describe the use of "zee" as an age-related phenomenon, and one that is strongly influenced by proximity to the border and exposure to US media.
  • The writers also indicate that the usage is not indicative of a gradual switch to "zee", but instead a habit that children grow out of.
  • I did see Cassleman's comment, but it is important to note that it is really more of an aside thrown in without any real supporting explanation or statistics at the end of a column talking about how Canadians feel "zee" is American.
  • You would need to source reliable information to support any claim that large numbers of young people are using "zee" today; so far, we do not have material to do so.
Is it used in Canada? Yes, of course. Is it Canadian English? Apparently not. If we rework the text, we need to be sure that it is positioned as such. (Explaining the media exposure, the inherent push-back, the "kids use it because they here it form the 'States but grow out of it" phenomenon and so on would be great, as long as we can source strong information to back it up.) --Ckatzchatspy 08:09, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Taking your bulleted points, one by one:
  • To say that the use of "zee" is age-related is completely different from saying that it's "not normally used". Why should we discount younger Canadians?? And we're not talking infants: the 1991 study found "zee" used by a full 39% of 20-25 year olds. And to try to dismiss the findings by saying that these are people "strongly influenced by proximity to the border" is a red herring: the vast majority of English-speaking Canadians live in broadcast range of US media. You want to dismiss them all?
  • In fact the Chambers essay does suggest a gradual switch if you look at the numbers closely (as I've pointed out above). But even if it didn't, I don't see why we should dismiss the usage of younger people just because many or most of them will probably change that usage when they get to age...what? 25? (No, still at 39%) 30? 40? You want to use as evidence of Canadian usage only those whose usage meets your standards of what constitutes "Canadian".
  • Ok, so Cassleman doesn't count because he doesn't back up his claim with stats. But surely, if we're evaluating the merits of my edit (from "zee is not normally used in Canada" to "zee is also used") it's not insignificant that a seasoned professional commentator on Canadian English should write, "many, many teenagers and twenty-somethings use zee".
  • You're asking for proof that large numbers of Canadian young people are using "zee" today. Where's your proof that they're not? The only numbers we have are in the Chambers article: 67% of twelve-year-olds in 1979, and 39% of twenty-somethings in 1991. That's all we have to go on. Neither stat says anything definitive about today, granted. But I should think the onus is on you to prove that such stats don't reflect a similar situation today.
Your view, as I understand it, is best encapulated when you write: "Is it used in Canada? Yes, of course. Is it Canadian English? Apparently not." For goodness sake, why not? You're trying to prove something isn't Canadian by dismissing all the evidence that you claim is not Canadian. What is your definition of "Canadian"? In the context of language, how can it be other than what Canadians use?
Is Oxford University Press enough of an authority for you? The entry for "Z" in the Student's Oxford Canadian Dictionary (2004) couldn't be clearer: "Say ZED or ZEE". And there's even a box discussing this very issue. Under the heading "Say it right" it says in even more direct terms than I've been using:
"Both "zed" and "zee" are acceptable pronunciations for the letter Z in Canada, though "zed" is much more common. Be warned, however, that some people feel very strongly that it is a betrayal of Canadian nationality to say "zee" and you may incur their wrath if you do so."
How applicable is that? How many more references do I need before I can make the simple statement that while "zed" is most common in Canada, "zee" is also used? — Wyandzed (talk) 21:40, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
  • It still seems to me that all this can be settled simply by saying "zee" is "less common"--JimWae (talk) 21:46, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Better yet, why not stick with text that is supported by the primary reference we've been debating; that is to say, the original "The name of the letter Z is normally the Anglo-European (and French) zed; the American zee is not commonly used in Canada, and it is often stigmatized." Chambers clearly identifies "zee" as a unique Americanism, attributing Canadian use of it to influence from that country. He also clealry states it is stigmatized. If it helps, we could always tweak the text slightly to say "The name of the letter Z is normally the Anglo-European (and French) zed; the American zee is less commonly used in Canada, and it is often stigmatized." --Ckatzchatspy 22:54, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
I think we're getting somewhere now: "less commonly used" is more accurate than "not normally used". I'd still prefer not to clutter things up with references to "Anglo-European (and French)" zed and "American" zee. (Why is French use relevant, or European, for that matter? This isn't an article on the letter Z.) So my first choice would be something like "The name of the letter Z is normally zed; zee is less commonly used in Canada, and it is often stigmatized." If it's deemed necessary to refer to usage outside Canada, I'd rather see a phrasing like: "Most Canadians (like all of the English-speaking world outside the US) use "zed" for the name of Z, but a minority of Canadians say "zee" (like Americans), a usage that is often stigmatized." Is this fair enough? — Wyandzed (talk) 05:56, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
"Anglo-European" (or something similar) and "American" are important points to include, simply because that is how the respective pronunciations are described by linguists. ("Zee" is generally described as an aspect of American English. I could see dropping "French", simply because we're discussing variants of the English language.) The existing phrasing still reads more accurately than what you've proposed, and based on what we've been discussing, there doesn't seem to be any benefit to changing the existing language, other than perhaps the "less commonly" tweak. --Ckatzchatspy 20:42, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I don't think there's any point in prolonging this: If you really think people have to be told what "zed" and "zee" are, the term "American zee" is fine, though I don't think we interpret the phrase the same way. (You can think of it as meaning "not Canadian, just used in Canada" if you like; I'll treat it as equivalent to "American spellings" like "tire" and "curb", which we all know are Canadian too.) But couldn't we just use "British" for zed? Yes, we all know it's more than just British, but can't we just consider "British" as shorthand for "British/Commonwealth/(former)Colonial/International" English? Can we both live with "The name of the letter Z is normally the British zed; the American zee is less commonly used in Canada, and it is often stigmatized." ? (I'd also include the reference to the Student's Oxford Canadian Dictionary.)
One last question: Why is this characteristic of Canadian English listed under "Phonemic Incidence"? The difference between "zed" and "zee" is not phonemic at all. They're just two different words. — Wyandzed (talk) 06:26, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
I love this discussion. Often young Canadians say "zee" because they hear it on American T.V. and radio, e.g., WBZ Boston, ZZ Top, EZ Cleaner, etc. As Canadians get older, they learn to use the Canadian pronunciation of "zed." Everyone should watch the hilarious Molson beer commercial that includes this topic: . After this commercial aired, a lot more Canadians became more careful about how to say "zed."Que-Can (talk) 14:21, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I lived in the States as a little boy before we moved back. That's how I got to see a Kennedy before he got murdered.
I still had a US accent to some extent in those happy Vietnam War days, when we had our toy machineguns which fired plastic bullets at your friend, before you finished him off with the plastic grenade from the grenade launcher attachment.
In Grade 2, Miss H asked someone to recite the alphabet. I proudly rattled it off, getting to "zee". (I have no idea how I got through Grade 1 with scary Mrs. C with the "zee" thing. But I was in Mrs. C's "bad book".) Pretty Miss H chose someone else, and I remember listening intently for my mistake. It was "zed". But I can't remember now what my exact reaction to that was. But my father, even now, says "zee" due to frequent professional contacts with the States, and I'm tired of correcting him.
I always say Zed-Zed-Top, Dragonball Zed, LaZedBoy recliner. And that rap guy, Jay Zed.
I'm not going to change my nationality to humour ZZ Top even if the "Legs" video did have cute girls in it.
Zed is how my country says it. And that's it.
00:27, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
No one has mentioned the Zellers mascot, who is named Zeddy, not ZeeBear.
I live in close proximity to a variety of immigrant communities here in Toronto. It's American spellings all over the signage.
Now, are they deliberately trying to annoy? No.
They have learned a certain standard of English in their homeland and brought it here. In ignorance that our standard differs. (Were we taught that France French and Canadian French are different? I wasn't.) And their kids are getting US English from their Old Country parents and US English on TV, and the other kids in their local enclave are the same.
Varlaam (talk) 01:56, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
What's your point? This thread is years old, and the article does not say that the pronunciation "Zee" is wrong (and hasn't for years, if ever), just unusual, and often stigmatized. If anyone thinks we need more, or more recent, refs to support this statement, we can use Oxford University Press's "Oxford Canadian A-Z of Grammar, Spelling, & Punctuation" (2006, Ed. Katherine Barber and Robert Pontisso) and Guide to Canadian English Usage (2nd Edition 2011, Margery Fee and Janice McAlpine). Meters (talk) 00:12, 1 November 2014 (UTC),


Dare I ask who added the unsourced claim that "converter" is a CanE synonym for a television remote control? Just to clarify: a converter is a box which is commonly hooked up to TVs to expand the number of cable channels available to a subscriber past the capacity of the television's tuner — the term has somewhat fallen into disuse, as most modern converters are more commonly called "digital boxes" or "set-top boxes" instead, but they're really just an upgraded version of the same thing. The box generally has a remote to control it with, but the box, not the remote itself, is the converter — the remote is just a remote. And this isn't a Canadianism, either; "converter" is pretty much the universal standard English word for this device. Bearcat (talk) 08:15, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

I was born and raised in Southern Ontario and always called a TV remote control a converter, as did most of the people I knew. It's not rare. Recently, I heard an ad on the radio in Barrie, ON encouraging people to "put down the converter." Maybe it's an Ontario thing. But it is a thing. Truthiness Jones (talk) 05:25, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Is it a sourceable thing that can be genuinely demonstrated to be a distinct Canadianism? That's the germane question here, not whether there's any anecdotal evidence whatsoever of anybody ever having used the term that way. Bearcat (talk) 18:24, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
I used to make fun of my buddy for calling a remote a converter. He was from rural Simcoe. ( (talk) 18:15, 1 August 2010 (UTC))
I can say for sure that very few people in Nova Scotia call it a "converter". It is definitely not generally a Canadianism. Has anyone looked into the prevalence of the term "clicker"? It has been used a few times on 22 Minutes (not recently though) and I think I may have heard it on Air Farce. (talk) 02:54, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

I grew up in Toronto and I have definitely heard the remote called a "converter" but have always considered that a misnomer. --Doradus (talk) 16:45, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm from Toronto. I think converter is correct, while remote is an acceptable alternative and clicker is slang, which I use on occasion facetiously. This is literally the first time I have ever heard that this was an issue of any kind. Doesn't the entire Free World, as we used to say without irony, call it a converter?
As an aside, I personally never write ON when I mean Ont. As far as I'm concerned that is some stupid American thing, where we got stuck with their bloody leftovers, instead of telling them where to get off. Does the University of Toronto campus have a monument to the U of T students who fought off the last US invasion, or doesn't it? To abbreviate Quebec, you write P.Q. to distinguish it from Quebec City. AB? That is retarded. It's Alta. as it's always been. I don't know anyone in Peace River, Alabama, so I want to write Peace River, AL to send a Christmas card to my RCMP friend. Not AB.
Granted, Ontario is the most anti-US province. No apologies for that.
Varlaam (talk) 23:35, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Converters were set-top devices that enabled tuning in more than channels 2 to 13. They came with remote controllers. TVs now have "built-in converters". Anyone in any English-speaking country who needed a converter might have gotten into the bad habit of misnaming the remote. To call the remote controller a converter is simply a misnomer & has nothing to do with Canadianisms. --JimWae (talk) 00:24, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

In Alberta it is common to be called just the "remote" or a "clicker".

Canadian Raising[edit]

I think the claim made in this section about American English is not true. Americans without raising do indeed distinguish between "writer" and "rider"-- they do it by vowel length rather than quality. This is often hard for non-Americans to pick up, as vowel length is usually not phonemic.Pdronsard (talk) 22:50, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

I am an American (a New Yorker) who does distinguish between "writer" and "rider" by vowel length AND quality. ("Writer" is "ruyter.") This is certainly not rare. Kostaki mou (talk) 18:09, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
"vowel length is usually not phonemic"
I'm just wondering where, when, for whom.
In non-rhotic accents, vowel length distinguishes words like "father" and "farther", and there are non-rhotic accents on both sides of the Pond.
Varlaam (talk) 23:32, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Not sure about this...[edit]

This article claims this...

"...while the phonological system of western Canadian English is virtually identical to that of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and the phonetics are similar."

I am from BC (Vancouver Island to be exact) and when I go to the States (Washington State to be exact), the difference is night and day. As soon as i cross the border into Blaine, "Canada" becomes Kyanada, get becomes gyet, y'all replaces everyone, Washington and wash become warshington and warsh, and words like "hot" sound like "hat" (the "o" sounds more like an "a"). The are many other examples of differences, so many in fact that there is no way western canada and the pacific northwest are "virtually identical". I wouldn't even say they are similar. I would like to know more about the source for this. Masterhatch (talk) 04:42, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

totally agreed, especially since - also - Alberta's quite different from BC (or used to be). See next section, also.Skookum1 (talk) 14:50, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
I read something the other day claiming that B.C. and Alberta were part of some continuum with Washington and Oregon. I'm from Ontario. When I hear people on TV from out west, they sound like me, not like Americans. Varlaam (talk) 18:52, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely correct. Whoever wrote the passages about the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest ought to have consulted a sociolinguist or sociolinguistic sources. As it is, these statements are incorrect and ought to be amended carefully. Canadian English from Victoria to the Ottawa Valley is always more similar to itself than to neighbouring U.S. dialects. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:24, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I totally agree. I'm from the Toronto area, which in my opinion have the most "Americanized" accents in Canada, and yet I can hear a distinction from Americans. I guess that's the rest of the world being ignorant? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:25, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Americanized IPA on Victoria, British Columbia??[edit]

Please see Talk:Victoria,_British_Columbia#American_dialect_IPA.3F.Skookum1 (talk) 14:50, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

"Tory" vs "Loyalist"[edit]

Here's a citation: Que-Can (talk) 14:07, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

A comment on the above citation:
1) "foreign born". I have no idea what "foreign" means in this context.
2) "strongest in the far southern colonies". Yes. There is a big battle there between Rebel Americans and Loyalist Americans, without British involvement.
3) "Loyalists settled". What about the significant numbers who settled in Ontario? The "1st American Regiment" is a militia unit in Toronto, not Fredericton or Halifax.
Varlaam (talk) 23:20, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
The citation does not discuss motive particularly.
There is that traditional notion that the Loyalists wanted to avoid "mob rule", which is why we have "peace, order and good government" while the US got "liberty", meaning civil war. The French subsequently got "liberté", meaning chaos.
Varlaam (talk)

Template usage and {{WikiProject Canada|music=yes|}}[edit]

I have posted a question regarding the usage of {{Canadian English}} at:

Your guidance is extremely appreciated. Argolin (talk) 03:20, 30 April 2010 (UTC) Please answer at Template talk:WikiProject Canada#Specifying Canadian English in the project template.3F Argolin (talk) 03:29, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Phonemic incidence[edit]

"Words such as fragile, fertile, and mobile are pronounced /ˈfrædʒaɪl/, /ˈfɜrtaɪl/, and /ˈmoʊbaɪl/." I'm sorry but is this supposed to be helpful to anyone? Who can read that gibberish? If you're trying to help someone to understand the differences in pronunciation wouldn't something like "ah-bout/ah-boot" (for instance) be a tad more helpful than... what is that, Klingon? I know, dictionaries use these maddening pronunciation hieroglyphics too. But if you're well versed enough in linguistics to be able to decipher this crazy moon language, chances are, you need no help in learning to pronounce the word(s) in question in the first place. Can wikipedia be a bit more, I dunno, "lay-person friendly"? Just a bit? We'll buy you a monkey. (talk) 00:07, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't find IPA particularly useful and would like to see respelling in addition to IPA. Modal Jig (talk) 12:22, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Some of us find IPA spelling far more useful than "lay-person" spelling---especially when that lay-person speaks a different dialect than I do. Do you enjoy filtering lay-person spelling through the pronunciation of an unfamiliar dialect in order to get a kinda-sorta idea as to how to pronounce something? Just wiki up the article on IPA spelling and ejumacate yourself. You'll be able to use that knowledge for the rest of your life. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Acidtoyman (talkcontribs) 08:38, 19 May 2010 (UTC)


Ummm...lieutenant pronounced as leftenant in Canada? I have yet to come across that, and the article on lieutenant seems to take a different position on that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Acidtoyman (talkcontribs) 08:34, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Hmm. Strange. I've been criticized a lot for saying "lieutenant" instead of "leftenant". Even the Lieutenant Governor is referred to as "Leftenant Governor". Maybe it's an NS thing. (talk) 02:59, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

I was absolutely taught it was inappropriate to say "lootenant" particularly with reference to the LG (I think for say police rankings we'd say "loo" but "left" in the military. I'm in BC. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:28, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm from Toronto, and I say "leftenant governor" but lieutenant in all other cases. TorontoLRT (talk) 19:29, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm from Toronto. It is always "lef" here. But many people don't know that, since they get this word off US TV shows and movies. I hear young people who don't pronounce "out" the Canadian way every single day.
At school, in the seventies, we discussed how to pronounce the word "khaki". I remember that. I pronounce it to rhyme with "hockey". I was told it's really pronounced with an 'r', like "carkey". That sounded weird to me, but that, in fact, is the World War I and II soldier usage, and you can hear Farley Mowat say "carkey" in audio recordings.
If you check old Canadian dictionaries, those are the only listed ways of saying the word.
But, nowadays, people hear this word in ads from The Gap, so they pronounce it like Americans. Like hackysack. Gross. So when I pronounce it the Canadian way kids don't know what I'm saying. There was a kid working in a department store several years back who didn't know what a "tuque" was, when I couldn't find them.
As kids, we always wanted to know the Canadian way, and we would scrupulously avoid the US way. I have never uttered the word "sneakers" in my entire life. I'll say "trainers" if I'm in Britain. But here it's running shoes, or runners, and nothing else.
It's like "herb" which we pronounce with an 'h'. But Kentucky Fried Chicken ads in the seventies used that ridiculous "erb" pronunciation.11 Different Erbs. Or Erbal Essence shampoo. I pronounce it properly, with an 'h'.
It's like getting into an argument at the grocery store when some kid doesn't know what the word "turnip" means. He insists that the big yellow soccer ball is called a "rutabaga" even though he's never eaten one, and he's young enough to be your son.
Apparently the CanCon rules have not been entirely effective.
Varlaam (talk) 19:17, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
The Canadian Dictionary, McClelland and Stewart, 1962, approved for secondary schools by the Province of Quebec
leftenant, only listed pronunciation. loo does not appear.
herb, with h. erb does not appear. I remember being shown the h-h-h-herb garden at Pioneer Village in the 1960s.
carkey. Only listing. It doesn't list my "hockey", or the tacky-sounding US "wacky".
Varlaam (talk) 19:34, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
The 1960s herb garden sticks in my mind because that is when I heard that there was a herb called "time" (thyme). Funny! My parents were not excited by this fascinating discovery. Varlaam (talk)

Basil vs. Basil[edit]

"The herb and given masculine name basil is usually pronounced /ˈbæzəl/ rather than /ˈbeɪzəl/." I've always been told that /ˈbeɪzəl/ is the spice and /ˈbæzəl/ is the name. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:08, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

I personally use /ˈbæzəl/ for both cases. I regard /ˈbeɪzəl/ as a US affectation, akin to their saying "aunt" with a long 'a' as though they've just stepped off the Concorde from London. I think the pronunciation /ˈbeɪzəl/ has appeared in my lifetime (half a century), at least on this continent. Varlaam (talk) 20:57, 15 July 2011 (UTC)


Not confident to add things myself, but I've heard that the term "Shit Disturber" is not used in the states, but I know it is very common in BC. It means someone who stirs up trouble (often for the fun of it). -- (talk) 22:01, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

That's true, I've asked quite a few of my yank friends about that. Americans call it a "shit stirrer." Celynn (talk) 08:00, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Check in the Dictionary of Canaidianisms to see what is said there ( If not there, don't include here but write to the editors of that dictionary to keep an eye out for it. We should not include hear-say or ad hoc data here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 06:09, January 27, 2018(UTC)

That's certainly not the only valid source we can use to determine if a term is a Canadianism. Meters (talk) 21:51, 27 January 2018 (UTC)
It's the best source, by a long shot. Like I said, write to the editors if not in there. It's like using the OED - where else would you go? There are so many nonsense lists of Canadian English out there, that I highly recommend this route of action (talk) 15:02, 2 February 2018 (UTC)
You didn't simply say that it was the best source. You stated that it should be the only source used, and I disagreed. Yes, it's a good source, but it is certainly not the only reliable source for what is a Canadianism. Your opinion does not have any bearing on what reliable sources we may use in Wikipedia, and your exhortation to report new Canadianisms to the DCHP has no place here. Talk pages are for discussing improvements to the article Please read WP:NOTAFORUM, particularly WP:NOTADVOCATE. Meters (talk) 17:30, 2 February 2018 (UTC)


When the main article refers to forty as a Canadianism there is no reference to support the origin of this term as particularly Canadian. I'm not saying that it did not originate in Canada, but living in Southern California we always use the term forty to refer to a 40 oz. beverage, and I find it hard to believe that this term traveled all the way down from Canada and became the most pervasive nomenclature in a population in the tens of millions. I think this should be removed as Canadianism until it can be cited. BJ Crowning (talk) 04:19, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

 Done I will remove it as i cant find a ref.Moxy (talk) 04:48, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Spelling: Jail/Gaol[edit]

As far as I can tell the British spelling of jail is jail and their spelling of gaol is gaol. Which version they choose to use is a different kettle. This search gives 41 results for jail at HM Prison Service. A search for gaol gives 10. Modal Jig (talk) 13:20, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

It was I who made that change. I do not really know how prevalent the usages are in the UK. My reason for the correction was that the caparison made no sense. It was contrasting jail with jail. If you feel it should be deleted, then I do not object. Geometricks (talk) 06:41, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
"Gaol" is traditional in Britain, from Old French or something. But I believe it's on the decline there, since it's unique. It belongs to no class; it is simply odd. It doesn't represent anything of value like the 'k' in "knight", for example.
Here I know it appears on an Old Gaol, somewhere in southern Ontario. I forget which town. The old jail in Ottawa is or was the youth hostel, and you slept in a cell with bars. That building had to be 19th c. so I'm wondering if there is a spelling there.
Varlaam (talk) 21:05, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

To University[edit]

I think that the following sentence is a bit misleading:

"Canadian and British English share idioms like in hospital and to university, while in American English the definite article is mandatory."

I have no objection to the inclusion of "in hospital", which would clearly require the definite article in GenAm. However, as discussed under the Education heading in this article, "college" is the US term for post-secondary education in general, and the construction "to college" (no definite article) is standard in the US. So while it is true that a GenAm speaker would not likely use the term "to university", it has nothing to do with the definite article, but rather with the meaning of the term "university" in CanE (i.e., an American would also be unlikely to say "to the university" with the same meaning as the CanE "to university", which would be "to college"). Further, in my experience, a Canadian who was en route to a particular university would indeed use the definite article (e.g., "I am driving to the university right now"), just as an American would.

As such, I think that either the reference to mandatory inclusion of the definite article in GenAm should be removed, or the example "to university" should be removed (leaving only "in hospital", or the section should be expanded to explain the specific context in which the direct article would be removed in CanE, or the definite article reference should be included after "to hospital" and "to university" should be left with the GenAm equivalent "to college" mentioned in the section. I think any of these suggestions would make the section more clear. Any thoughts? — DIEGO talk 01:33, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Agree. That needs fixing. Funnyhat (talk) 01:48, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

I'm Canadian, and I'd never say: "I'm graduated university", nor have I ever heard it. I think that what was meant is "I graduated university". Perhaps it should be fixed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Louisrb (talkcontribs) 14:36, 13 June 2013 (UTC)


Canadian universities publish calendars or schedules, not catalogs as in the U.S.

I'm not sure these denote the same concept. In the U.S., a course catalog is the list of available courses each semester. Do Canadians really call that list a "calendar" or "schedule"? Funnyhat (talk) 01:47, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Yes, depending on the institution. What is called a "course catalog" in the US, is indeed referred to as a "course schedule" (e.g., University of British Columbia) or a "course calendar" or a "course calendar and listing" (e.g., University of Toronto). Interestingly, the Toronto School of Theology (U of T) does publish a "Course Catalogue". Go Figure. — DIEGO talk 02:08, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
Here's a page that describes a Canadian university's calendar: Mount Allison Calendar Modal Jig (talk) 13:01, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Yes - this is a bit outdated now as it's all online, but when we had a paper version of all the course descriptions and what was offered in a given year it was called the calendar (UBC). Catalogue to me sounds like shopping! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:04, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

About aboot[edit]

Being from Toronto, and having lived for a while in North Carolina, my experience with "about" was that I would pronounce it [ʌbɛuːt] (see WP:IPAE) while they would pronounce it [ʌbaɒt]. To my ear, those are practically identical, but to my classmates the difference was enough to make them snicker. I imagine they drop the [ɛ] to emphasize the [uː] when describing my accent, and that might be the origin of the stereotypical [ʌbuːt] pronunciation, which to my ear sounds completely different from [ʌbɛuːt]. Just an observation from one non-linguist. --Doradus (talk) 02:40, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

For sure, [ʌbuːt] to us sounds like an American doing Canadian speech, like in that hilarious episode of 30 Rock when they hire the Canadian guy.
When discussing this sound with Americans, I think a useful contrasting pair is "house" and "houses", since the move from singular to plural changes the consonant from voiceless to voiced, removing the Canadian vowel.
Varlaam (talk) 21:15, 15 July 2011 (UTC) (Toronto)
Interestingly, from the perspective of someone from Vancouver, what people in Toronto say does sound quite a bit like [ʌbuːt]. (talk) 19:39, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

In the west part of Canada you can really hear the differences when it comes to the "oot" sound in "about". Ontario and other Eastern provinces seems to be where they say "about" as "Aboot". Seems that being the largest populated province that is the sound that sticks with most Americans. South Park has also made jokes about this. Here in Alberta and in also in BC the "oot" is not used.

The point I was trying to make is that we do not say "aboot" in Ontario, or at least in Toronto, and I've been struggling for 20 years to understand why everyone thinks we do. When others say "aboot" it doesn't sound (to me) anything like how I pronounce "about", but given that everyone seems to hear my "about" that way, my best theory so far is the one I described at the start of this section. --Doradus (talk) 14:05, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
You'd be right. Not a single Canadian has ever said "aboot" or "oot". I guarantee that. Canadians are more likely to pronounce them "aboat" or "oat". The issue is that someone unfamiliar with our particular accent (in my case Southern Ontario) is more apt to stretch the sounds out when trying to imitate it. Oat becomes oot and aboat becomes aboot. Perhaps this sounds tangent-ey but consider an American trying to do a British accent. They over-exaggerate and it sounds ridiculous. Similarly, when imitating the "oa" sound, Americans mis-hear and therefore mispronounce "oa" as "oo". Celynn (talk) 08:10, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
There's one thing I'd really like to know about this - can anyone advise me if francophone Quebecers pronounce about and out (or house and mouse?) in the same way that people from the rest of Canada pronounce it? I'm really curious to know this, but I can't find the information anywhere on the internet (Anglophone Quebecers appear to have basically the same accent or very similar to Anglophones from the rest of Canada, so I'm asking about when Francophone Quebecers speak English).
For what it's worth, I've always found it odd that so many people from the US say that (English-speaking) Canadians pronounce it "aboot" when it is clearly pronounced as if they were saying "a boat".
Thanks to anyone knowledgeable who might take the time to respond! :) (talk) Violet from Australia —Preceding undated comment added 10:08, 16

December 2013 (UTC)

This is insane, no one says aboot. I've heard the americans say aboot and I've never heard a single canadian every say it that way, I've been all over the country, I've heard the rural Western Ontario accent, who say "go fer a rayyud in the truck, and have a smoaook", BUT THEY STILL DON'T SAY ABOOT, plus there's only like 100,000 rural folk out of a population of 30 million who use that accent anyways, and it's super similar to the rural Michiganers who say it that way, of which there are many many more people. On another note I've heard BC folk say pataytas, instead of potatoes.

this isn't anecdotal but is not published by anyone else than American Standard English teachers in Canadian acting/voice-acting professions; ASE is not an American accent, but a synthetic/syncretic one invented to train Canadians out of various speech habits, including what Americans hear as "aboot" and can pick us out very easily with. From the IPA I remember provided in a handout from one of my teachers, the difference is not re the IPA examples here but, for the Canadian version, a schwa+u whereas the American is [ʌbauːt], though I'm not sure about that [ʌ]; how we were trained (often unsuccessfully, as American casting people would catch us in auditions) is that Americans use their whole jaw, and open their mouths wider for the "longer" diphthong; whereas the Canadian jaw moves a lot less and the "shorter" diphthong; I think she's in my FB friends, I'll copy the link to this section and ask her for input; and to two working female actors/teachers I know who can "do it" well (which is why, partly, they get regular work LOL). Also re "pataytas" and other quirks of BC accents, worth remembering that British and European and American (from actual ex-Americans not BCers who sound like Americans to other Canadians) accents were and remain common in BC, with most people of English ancestry, for example, being less than 3 generations in Canada, vs several generations in Eastern Canada; and many communities having neighbourhoods with lots of Dutch, Scandinavian, Hungarian and Italian parents and grandparents around, and East Indian and Chinese of course; and Americans, and contact with California, is part of the founding of BC and an ongoing reality of life and history in BC; re that, also see my comments about cowboy/mining history re accents in the Interior in the last section on this page. BTW I remember one episode of X-Files where the charming older lady who answers the door at what is supposed to be Ohio and Ottawa has a noticeable Nova Scotian accentSkookum1 (talk) 18:00, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Where is the "EH?"=[edit]

I didn't see a mention of the word "Eh", which is commonly attributed to Canadians, thanks to Bob and Doug Mckenzie. I think it would be good to note it, and to also note that it is rarely used. It had it's day many years ago but has died out for the most part. The same goes for "hoser". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kamaray123 (talkcontribs) 16:00, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't think "eh" has died out. I'm not sure, but I think I probably use it a couple of times a day. In contrast, don't recall ever saying "hoser" when I wasn't intentionally alluding to Bob & Doug. --Doradus (talk) 14:08, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
"eh" is still quite popular in the maritime provinces. east and west. As a S.Ontarian I find myself using it quite often after somebody from another culture points it out. Until then I never use it. (talk) 22:03, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
"Eh" most certainly has not died out. Many people I know still use it frequently, as do I. "Hoser" on the other hand is pretty dead. "Beauty" is another particularly Canadian expression and I've found it on the rise with younger people in Southern Ontario. Not that we could include that without some actual evidence. Anecdotal notwithstanding. Celynn (talk) 01:40, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I dare to put this right here. "Somewhere, years ago" I've read about a Canadianism that's supposed to be at least as typical as "eh": pronouncing [dj] as [dʒ] – as though "Canadian" were spelled "Canajan". Is this true or does my memory fail? (I've understood that Gordon Lightfoot's 'pussywillows, cat-teels' and 'woodfires are bleezing' are Ontario specialities.) Harjasusi (talk) 18:54, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
That might certainly occasionally exist in the idiolects of some individual speakers, but it's by no means a standard feature of Canadian speech. Certainly not one that I've ever actually heard anywhere outside the title of a Josh Freed humour book. Bearcat (talk) 20:07, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
The pronunciation's not "cat-teels" or "bleezing", any more than "about" is pronounced "aboot", but I know the pronunciation and can understand how people can mis-hear it. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 00:19, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! Harjasusi (talk) 11:38, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Also worth mentioning something else I just remembered, which is the rather common trope in Western films of pronouncing "Indian" as "injun". So the pronunciation shift that you mention is certainly a known thing that some speakers of English do — but it's definitely not a standard feature of Canadian English in toto. Bearcat (talk) 23:39, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

Phonetic Symbols[edit]

I know nothing about linguistics, but wanted to know some of the stuff that make Canadian and American accents different, but I can't understand this page at all because stuff like this ʌʊ mean nothing to me. I suggest that whenever one of those types of symbols is used there should be an explanation saying that it is "like the a sound in cat" or whatever because without those explanations this page is meaningless to most people — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:12, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Help:IPA for English Peter Grey (talk) 14:17, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
The original suggestion doesn't work, of course, because different people say "cat" differently. --Doradus (talk) 14:09, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Although everyone knows what an American accent sounds like. Perhaps if it was written from a US English standpoint these sections of the article would be better understood. If you notice, looking up those phonetic symbols on wiki directs you to a page where they are translated using the American pronunciation of words. Celynn (talk) 08:14, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Most of the equivalent sounds, spelled out, do work. I have never found a phonetic symbol legend that explains all this and it becomes a bunch of nonsense without a legend. The legend would have to be in terms of some inflection of English so why not use that in the first place. Most of these Canadianisms are expressed in terms of differnce from Americanisms, anyway, and since wikipedia is dominated by 'mericunisms anyway. Have a look at the "zed" arguments above. Why would "zed" even be mentioned since it the way English people, except US citizens, say it. It is all POV and dependant where you are from (talk) 21:58, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Most everything is described in terms of "difference from American" because America's population is 310 million people. They're the most logical (being the biggest and most widely known) thing to do comparisons with. Anytime someone discusses British English it is also compared to with American English. However, in Canada's case Canadian English is very similar (in terms of most pronunciations) to American English and therefore it makes perfect sense to compare the two. For instance, it's generally considered American to say the word "process" as prah-cess but Canadian to say it PRO-cess. But there are many instances of Canadians switching between the two. Similarly, it's frowned upon to say Zee instead of Zed. However, some Canadians do say it this way. In this respect it's worthy of mention.
If a Canadian is reading this article they're probably curious as to how Canadian English differs from American or British English. Those two being the most commonly heard and seen. If an American is reading this article they're probably curious as to why "Canadians talk weirdly" or if "Canadians really talk the way we see on TV". In my case, I did a lot of research on the Canadian Accent after being repeatedly told by Americans I had a flaming accent. Not just through conversations on Vent but also by Americans I met while I was in Buffalo. They can pretty quickly tell where you're from down there. I honestly thought I sounded like a standard American. After a while I realised that I really did say certain words differently I just never really noticed before. I don't know if I'd agree that this is necessarily POV but it discussing the differences of the language between other, similar, varieties. It is often most helpful to compare it with well known varieties and so that's what you find here.
I think spelling out words works just fine. Seeing as the phonetic charts just do the exact same thing on wikiepdia anyway (see: all including phonetics does is make the article more confusing. It simply takes a lot more effort to understand what is being written in those parts and the phonetic charts don't help the translation at all. If I read your original comment correctly, I think we agree with each other on that. Celynn (talk) 01:33, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Percentage of English speakers outside Quebec[edit]

"82% of Canadians outside Quebec speak English natively, but within Quebec the figure drops to just 11% as most are native speakers of Canadian French."

I am doubtful of this claim. I would think the percentage is much higher than 82% (on par with Australia, the US, UK, etc, in the 90s). (talk) 20:36, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

I suspect it's counting anglophones out of the total population including allophones. That makes the number a little skewed relative to intuition since almost all allophones are part of the anglophone or francophone communities (or both). (For the 1991 census, the figure would be 80% of the total non-Quebec population but 94% if allophones are excluded.) Peter Grey (talk) 23:03, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
I have corrected the figures in the lede, based on the StatsCan charts. Either some bad math was performed, the chart stats have changed (I doubt that much), or the charts were not interpolated correctly. The figures, as stated in the article needed to include the multi-language English also mother tongue count totals and didn't appear to. Also, a dead link was replaced as SatsCan have changed their website pages.
Also to note is the mixing of the terms "mother tongue", "native language", and "language spoken ". They are not interchangeable in some contexts. (talk) 00:52, 2 June 2012 (UTC) Striking comments by block evading IP sock. Their edits have been reverted and others can then make the edits if they are deemed worthy, but be careful not to act as meatpuppets. This editor should not be supported. -- Brangifer (talk) 06:43, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Mostly Foolishness[edit]

most of this article is a very long list of foolish nit picking that is presented as uniform whole accent. Just the fact that the one tern Canadian English is a oxymoron.

To find Canadian english, or a accent 1. Pick a big town and city 2. draw a line directly south across the border to the U.S and shake up the 2 ...and the 2 will amount to pretty much the same thing. This is the same for across Canada except for the north

Canada fits together regionally north/south with the United States, rather that east to west within an imaginary border — Preceding unsigned comment added by Starbwoy (talkcontribs) 07:30, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes, but don't tell that to anyone here in Canada. We have "absolutely nothing in common with Americans." (talk) 00:08, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
That's not true even as a crude generalization. The accent closest to Southern Ontario is Michigan to the west, not New York to the south, and there is no US territory south of Atlantic Canada. Peter Grey (talk) 03:47, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
It really isn't. That 'imaginary border' actually used to be a lot thicker years ago. It's because of that border that Canadian English uses British spellings and because of that border that the accent is a bit different. I do agree, though, that the accents aren't wildly different. Especially among young people who watch a lot of American media. However, these regions have, in fact, created different accents. They may not be as different as a British accent is to an American accent but the differences are there. Celynn (talk) 08:20, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I thought Mexico was south of (talk) 01:42, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I concur. This entry is non-encyclopedic and has a point of view that aint neutral and the sources are dodgy. Please, people, nominate this crap for double deletion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:28, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

How do I nominate for double deletion? This is a very shoddy article, full of anecdotes from people who live in the country and never get further than 20 km from their house. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:26, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

There is plenty of research, and documentation, on the distinct Canadian English language, including the regional accents, some already used in this article. There is also some documentation to support that English in Canada is influenced by "General Accent" - due to modern telecommunication, and by the multicultural reality that Canada has become in "recent" times. Canada's regions have developed their own "distinctive" speech patterns, local dialects, and accents. There is no denying that recent times, last 20-30 years, national and international television and radio availability has mitigated somewhat the unique regional and national aspects of ALL north american English varieties. However, broadcasters - for example: Tom Brokaw or Peter Mansbridge - just like foreign actors - for example: Hugh Laurie or Simon Baker - that adopt national "General English" for their on the on screen/camera delivery and revert to their native/natural speech off screen/camera, occasionally aspects of their native/natural accents do "bleed through" while on camera/screen. Yes, there have been attempts to add/change/remove certain "anecdotal", "neighborhood", or "family" unique examples, however, most are quickly corrected by dedicated, volunteer, most often "non-anonymous" contributors, to keep this, and other articles, as accurate as possible.--Notwillywanka (talk) 14:33, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree its shoddy. It is not based on recent scholarship, reflects a US and central Canadian bias, is not neutral and uses many unreliable sources. There are more distinct English dialects in NFLD alone, than the rest of Canada and the US combined -Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland. This is a uniquely Canadian phenomenon, as regards the English spoken in the Americas. Other elements of the article aren't bad, but they keep tying down Canadian English to US origins. Charles Boberg's "The English Language in Canada" (2010) is a seminal work that disputes this "natural" assumption, but it is by no means the only recent scholarship. This article definitely needs an overhaul. --IseeEwe (talk) 04:34, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
I'll track down that ref, but why don't you go ahead and improve the article yourself? Meters (talk) 17:50, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Lunenburg English[edit]

The Lunenburg English article is interesting but it is without sources ( I have been asking a couple friends of mine who are from Nova Scotia about it and they seem to all tell me the same thing. That these people speak with a non-rhotic accent. I actually remember reading it somewhere but now, I have yet to find any concrete sources as there is no information online. I had once emailed Labov on non-rhotic accents and his assistant sent me an email regarding the Eastern Townships and how one can here non-rhotic accents among the English speakers of that region due to proximity to the East Coast of the United States/New England.

Nonetheless, I would like to know if anyone had info regarding Lunenburg English. (talk) 06:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)Galati

"Judges of Canada's superior courts ... are traditionally addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lady", like much of the Commonwealth[edit]

Quite untrue. Only the UK and Canada. In Australia, New Zealand, India and elsewhere it is not ""My Lord" or "My Lady" but "Your Honour." I must remind myself in practice in NSW and Queensland as well as PNG. Masalai (talk) 08:41, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

"Your Honour" in BC is used for the Lieutenant-Governor; I'll check with a lawyer-wikipedian I know about it being used for judges....I think I've heard it but was not quite listening the few times I sat in on court hearings..... I think it's the rank of the judge that determines "M'Lord" though I do know it is used here.Skookum1 (talk) 17:35, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Here's a copy-paste of what my lawyer friend replied:
Federally appointed judges are My Lady, My Lord, Your Lordship (BCSC BCCA). Provincial Court judges are Your Honour..Skookum1 (talk) 00:54, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
BCSC is British Columbia Supreme Court, BCCA is British Columbia Court of Appeal.Skookum1 (talk) 00:56, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
It's not just in BC, but all over the country. All current and former Lieutenant Governors are addressed as "Your Honour", as they are entitled to the style of "The Honourable" for life. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Notwillywanka (talkcontribs) 01:27, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm a lawyer in Ontario. Our provincial and superior court justices are "your honour. Superior Court judges appointed before around 1990 have the option to still be addressed as my lord / my lady. Ontario Court of Appeal is Mr/Mdm Justice.

In Federal Court, which I'm more familiar with, the official guidance from the court is Mr/Mdm Justice, but it seems a lot of lawyers – particularly from the Department of Justice – still use Lord/Lady.

Farside268 (talk) 03:40, 3 April 2017 (UTC) Farside268 (talk) 03:40, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

British bum[edit]

I disagree that 'bum' in BrE has "indecent character". It's a mild word, referring either to the skin itself (his bum was showing) or the part of the body generally (get off your bum). Neither is especially indecent. (talk) 02:02, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

It is indecent when compared to the more euphemistic bottom or behind. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:42, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

that that it's "indecent" is prissy and highly old-fashioned to claim; it's now commonplace and "bottom" sounds artificial/antique/prissy; behind, and bee-hind, are used but nowhere near as commonly or casually as "bum". Even "ass", also now common, is no longer considered indecent; "bum" was OK because you could use it for babies and the "(s)he has a cute bum". Skookum1 (talk) 17:39, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
in BC, I've often heard "duff" as in "get off your duff", but that is maybe Scots in origin, I'm not sure.Skookum1 (talk) 17:40, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
The commenter was talking about BrE, not CanE. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 08:04, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
Bum in Southern Ontario, is used by everyone of "British"ish descent to refer to what Americans call "butt", the derrière, your tush, the glutious maximus, and so on, with no "indecent character" or "four letter word" connotation, like "ass", does. Kids use it, Teachers use it, it's nothing to get all upset about. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Notwillywanka (talkcontribs) 01:16, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Indians vs. Native Americans.[edit]

Is this article supposed to cover what is considered politically correct or what is in common usage? While the term "Indian" can be frowned upon I have found that many people use it interchangeably with "Natives" or "Aboriginals". Indian is still a very common term in day-to-day speech. Celynn (talk) 08:37, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

The Constitution Act, 1867 was formerly the British North America Act, 1867. Just because "Indian" was once in reference to aboriginal inhabitants of all but far-northern Canada ("East Indian" in those days being necessary in Canada to clarify that one was referring to those from India) does not mean it is replaced by a preferred "Native American," which nowadays would refer to indigenous residents of the USA. Enough cause for confusion these days among assorted preferred terms without using one which is surely not used at all. Masalai (talk) 12:32, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Terminology of First Nations, Native, Aboriginal and Metis - BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres.Moxy (talk) 19:54, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Which backs up my point nicely. I don't really know what Masalai was trying to say. The writing was a bit confusing. I think the gist was that "don't use Indian because it causes confusion" or something. Indian, however, is still quite clearly in use among the general populace of Canada. It depends what groups you talk to. If you were conversing with a university student they'd probably be more likely to use the term First Nation, Native, or Aboriginal.
So-called "Indians" are offended by this term so the more politically correct "Native American" or "Aboriginal" is preferred when talking directly to them or about them in the news. However, political correctness or not, the term Indian is still in use. It's misleading to say that it isn't. Celynn (talk) 23:29, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Adding to the confusion, "Indian" is the legal term under the Indian Act, and it is is commonly used, but at times people will deliberately avoid the term because of the ambiguity. "Native Canadian" is sometimes used. "Native American" is simply wrong. Peter Grey (talk) 00:40, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
It is certain that First Nations - and Aboriginal are the terms used most often now a days. I have not seen a political figure use the term Indian in a long time. A great example of the governments position (thus what Canadian culture is leaning towards) is shown during the opening of the last winter games.... politicians went out of there way not to use the term Indian at all. On CPAC they only say Indian when referring to the "Indian Act" or status, meaning if they are "Status Indian", "non-Status Indian" and/or "Treaty Indian". The Canadian government has made note that Indian is not a preferred term See Canada Revenue Agency.Moxy (talk) 19:29, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
That's correct, it's not a preferred term when being politically correct. As we all know governments tend to strive their hardest to be as PC as possible so as to not alienate their voters. But it's inaccurate to claim that "Canadians refer to them as 'Natives'" just because the governments are pushing that term. In normal discourse this is not necessarily the case. Certainly many of the people I've talked to in Southern Ontario (ages ranging from 20 to 50's) switch between "Natives" and "Indians". A trend may be heading towards phasing out the term "Indians" but it is still a term that is used frequently enough, by non-racists, as a descriptor (there is no intent to be offensive).
As for your note, it mentions that the term Indian is not acceptable for many, but not all, Native Americans. As you'll recall, changing the name from Indian Affairs to "Aboriginal Affairs" by the government annoyed quite a few Natives. Some because it was done without consultation, some because they feared it could dilute what it means to be an Indian, and some because they just don't identify with that name. Celynn (talk) 00:51, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
"Indian" is commonly used in Canada despite being told it is politically incorrect and inaccurate. "American Indian" is never used unless referring to "Native U.S. Indians". "Indian" should be included as a Canadian dialect quirk. It may not be different than American English but the minority English usage sector should not be a deciding factor, here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:23, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

You people need to cite sources, you can't just claim "indian" is commonly used because you said so. I've grown up in Toronto (the region that holds 20% of all Canadians) and I can tell you I've only ever heard 80+ year old people who moved here from another country use that term for first nations people. Never heard a single Canadian born person use that term for them. It's offensive and confusing, especially when there's so many actual people from India who live here, and if a young person were to use that word in school they'd be admonished by their teachers. Now I'm not going to take my own experience and claim it as universal like you have done, this whole entry should be deleted it's completely anecdotal and full of trolls. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:22, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Additions to Maritime English Accents[edit]

According to this article: [1], there are still isolate pockets in Canada such as south-western New Brunswick, the Eastern Townships in Quebec, Bay Roberts (and surrounding area), and Grand Manaan Island where non-rhoticity is still found. I think its worth a mention in this article.Galati (talk) 06:37, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Galati


What makes pub/public house a "distinctive Canadianism?" It's certainly not unique to this country. I think of it as a Britishism more than anything. (User ) 02:07, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

I think that's an excellent point. Pub's are not uniquely Canadian, they can be found commonly in the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, etc. I was trying to figure out if there was some sort of Canadian specific context for it, as in we distinguish between pubs and bars; however, this does not seem to be the case. I don't see any reason for it to be listed as a "Canadianism." I think I'm going to go ahead and remove it. If anyone disagrees then feel free to reverse my edit. Celynn (talk) 05:54, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Keep going! "Smarties" isn't a Canadianism either. Modal Jig (talk) 11:56, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, we need to be careful about things borrowed from the Brits. Sure, I may go and have fish and chips and a pint down at the pub, but that's not "uniquely Canadian". We need to remember that simply because something does not exist in the US, it's not necessarily an exclusively Canadian thing. Many things on this list appear to be more of a reaction to them not appearing in the US. "Pub" from "Public House" is British in origins and Canadians use it interchangeably with "bar" and lesser so with "tavern". freshacconci talktalk 14:06, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Well no, actually Canadians don't use it interchangeably with bars. There is a difference between bars and pubs; (1) Pubs have better food, (2) bars served mixed and specialty drinks whereas pubs are more likely to serve non-mixed drinks (whisky, beer, etc.), (3) Pubs have a very different atmosphere. Those two words shouldn't be used interchangeably. Celynn (talk) 20:28, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Where I've been, they tend to be used interchangeably for the most part (i.e. "pub crawl" would mean any drinking establishment; same thing for "pub night"). It is true that pub will usually mean a British or Irish style place but bar tends to be the catch-all term. I'm sure there's regional variations as well. The point is, though, that calling a place a pub is not a Canadianism: it's taken from the British usage. freshacconci talktalk 21:18, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Well that's certainly true, I can't argue with regional diversity. I agree that pubs aren't Canadianisms (I removed offending statement on pubs yesterday). I think it's pretty unanimous not to include it in the list. I don't think this section needs further discussion. Celynn (talk) 22:09, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

I can't speak for other provinces, but "pubs" did not exist in BC until the liquor licensing act changed in the 1970s, when the designation "neighbourhood pub" was created and mock-British pubs began to sprout up here and there (at a minimum distance from each other, so nothing like the omnipresent British "local"). What there was before were (a) beer parlours and (b) licensed lounges; you could only get hard liquor in lounges, and bottled beer, and beer parlours were draft-based and had severe restrictions on food, table size and so on. Legions also had "canteens", which were their beer parlours, though I think also served basic food (non-Legion ones might have chips and pickled eggs, and that's about it, other than tomato juice); women were allowed in licensed lounges, though not alone, and as with taverns in eastern provinces, beer parlours had a "men's entrance" and a "ladies and escorts" entrance (women alone also not allowed) and, originally, a divider; things loosened up in the 70s, especially once the NDP took over from the teetalling Social Credit, and it wasn't until Expo '86 that the Sunday-drinking privileges enjoyed by Whistler alone were exten ded to the rest of the province. You could get bottle beer and hardballs and cocktails in licensed restaurants, also; But "pub" is decidedly an imported term (from the Isles) and "tavern" was alien in BC...more associated with Washington state border towns than Ontario though.Skookum1 (talk) 17:31, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Awkwardly worded sentence[edit]

The historical development of Canadian English is underexplored, but recent studies suggest that Canadian English has been developing features of its own since the early 19th century,[9] while recent studies have shown the emergence of Canadian English features.[10]

Above sentence was added in this and the following revision. I would have corrected it, but I'm not even sure what exactly the editor intended to say especially with the second part. Does anyone here have access to the cited sources? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:38, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

The meaning is clear enough to me. I wonder if something could not be explored and added as to the opposite also occurring in terms of regional accents. Until the third quarter of the 20th century childhood immigrants to the North-West Territories from down east had a strong, now-extinct, Ontario accent. I certainly never heard it as a graduate student at U of T. Robertson Davies was a native rural Ontarian and certainly had an accent but it was not a native one; doubtless cultivated during his time at Oxford and in London. In the same era I encountered a strong accent in the region south of Ottawa: I wonder if that is also waning. Certainly Newfoundlanders I encountered in the late 1970s both in Canada and overseas had a heavy accent which is now vastly weaker. Masalai (talk) 11:38, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Fact: The Use of IPA Renders Most of This Article Incomprehensible to the Layperson[edit]

Many defend IPA phonetic symbols as the only precise way to convey pronunciation over a written medium. That may well be true, but should we consider educating people "precisely" to be more important than educating them at all? Because that's the real dilemma facing Wikipedia's dogged insistence on the use of IPA: For the vast, vast majority of readers, the IPA is—both literally and figuratively—Greek to them. It is a completely opaque wall of arcane squiggles that brings learning to a screeching halt.

If I sound a wee bit frustrated, it's because I am: I've made this argument time and time and time again, and I'm pretty sure I'm on the right side of it. Wikipedia is supposed to be "for the people". Therefore, an education in linguistics and the knowledge of a complex phonetic alphabet should not be necessary to, say, casually look up the differences between American and Canadian English.

"Rhymes with..." examples, though slightly less precise than the IPA, are far more accessible—and, since the IPA is defined on this very site by the use of such rhyming examples, it strikes me as a little silly to say they're inadequate.

Why not simply skip the middle man and put the rhyming words in the article body, instead of requiring readers to painstakingly cross-reference every single symbol against the IPA page? Eunomiac (talk) 00:39, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Actually, IPA is pretty widely taught outside North America, so a reader from, say, Romania, might already be familiar with most of the symbols. Even within North America, IPA is taught in, for example, introductory linguistics courses (and if you're interested in reading an article on Canadian English, you may well have some interest in linguistics...). The IPA learning curve isn't particularly steep; it's just that American dictionaries don't use it, so we're used to thinking of IPA as more exotic and off-putting than it really is. However, using both together—as the article seems to do now—seems a great compromise. Q·L·1968 18:17, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Pronunciation examples to make the phonetics intelligible to the layperson?[edit]

In the "Phonemic incidence" section, the phonetic pronunciation symbols mean nothing to those who are not specialists in the field. Perhaps more "rhymes with" examples could be provided to make the article accessible to a wider audience. Tetsuo (talk) 18:02, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

I've added some rhymes and homophones to make understanding for the non-linguist easier. I should note that these are indeed approximations, as the words I have given could be pronounced differently by different people. They are mostly for reference purposes. They may be edited as necessary, or completely removed if deemed inappropriate or unnecessary. Matty1487 (talk) 04:41, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
The problem with "rhymes" with, is that different regions have different pronunciations, there is not one single "American" accent, for example, as each region in the country has it's own flavor. Listen to a Bostonian say "Park the Car", and then listen to a New Yorker, or a Midwesterner. They do not pronounce words the same. The only "Standard" pronunciation in the US is what "Newscasters" use ("General American"). In the UK, there is "BBC News Standard English", in Canada it's "CBC accent". These are the "standards" for broadcast so that people all across the country, with a wide spectrum of "dialects" and "accents", can be universally understood. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Notwillywanka (talkcontribs) 01:20, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Alleged similarities to Canadian Raising in Scottish English[edit]

The first section of the article says: The intonation and pronunciation of some vowel sounds have similarities to the dialects of Scotland and to accents in Northern England such as Geordie, for example the raising to "about" to sound roughly like "aboot" or "aboat", is also heard in Scotland and the Tyneside area of England. -- Now, it is true that in the accents of Scotland, parts of northern England, Northern Ireland, and parts of the Rep. of Ireland, the diphthong in about is indeed pronounced /ʌʊ/ or even /əʊ/, but this is quite different from Canadian raising for two reasons. First, there is no split, meaning words like "how" or "round" are also pronounced with this same diphthong. Secondly, there is no merger or near-merger with aboat, because the latter is pronounced with a monophthong /oː/ (which makes the two words no less distinct than in RP or General American). -- So the cited sentence is not entirely wrong, but indeed misleading. I think it should be deleted, or otherwise changed.

Canadian raising: height or length?[edit]

The difference between [ʌɪ] as in writer and [aɪ] as in rider is primarily one of height. That at least is the feature people are talking about in discussing Canadian raising. Is there a secondary length distinction ([ʌɪ] versus [aˑɪ])? Possibly, but that's not what distinguishes dialects with Canadian raising from those without (the same length distinction occurs in General American dialects without Canadian raising). Also, the article doesn't otherwise mention length with respect to Canadian raising, so it's confusing and misleading to hear it suddenly described as (exclusively) a length distinction. Q·L·1968 20:43, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

The two concepts are different, and in this case it is the perceived length of the vowel that is described, and not the placement of the tongue in the mouth that is described.--Notwillywanka (talk) 17:10, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
I know the concepts are different, and that's exactly why it's wrong for us to say that the one thing is the other. Please have another look at the passage in question:
"Because of Canadian raising, many speakers are able to distinguish between words such as writer and rider – a feat otherwise impossible, because North American dialects turn intervocalic /t/ into an alveolar flap. Thus writer and rider are distinguished solely by their vowels, even though the distinction between their consonants has since been lost. Speakers who do not have raising cannot distinguish between these two words based on vowel length alone." (Emphasis added.)
I've added emphasis to three passages: "raising" (not lengthening), "vowels" (in other words, vowel quality, not vowel length—not how much of a vowel do you get, but what vowel is it), and a third bit that will require a little more explanation, namely that other North American dialects (arguably) cannot make this distinction. Other North American dialects do lengthen vowels before voiced consonants. In Chicagoland, for example, bid has a longer vowel than bit (and so on throughout the vowel inventory, not just with /aʊ/ and /aɪ/). I say "arguably cannot", because in fact it is possible to say, "I said 'bidder' [bɪˑɾɚ], not 'bitter' [bɪɾɚ]!" when speaking with more than average clarity and emphasis. This is length. This happens throughout North American English. But this isn't what's being talked about in the article. What's being talked about there is an allophonic change of vowel quality, namely that the first element of the diphthong is raised. Hence "raising". It's a height difference, and it's highly perceptible. Q·L·1968 18:08, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
It's the length of the sound, not where in the mouth it's made. Writer= short i, rider = long i. same sound, same place in mouth, different length of the vowel, the raising in question, as you copied onto this discussion, is on the "t". Do not change something without consensus.--Notwillywanka (talk) 23:01, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
There is no raising on the t (whatever that would mean). "Raising" refers to the vowel. Please do some research on the subject before reverting good-faith edits. Users are under no obligation to gain consensus before fixing what is (forgive me) an obvious minor error like this.
Here's an excerpt from A Survey of Modern English by Stephan Gramley and Kurt-Michael Pätzold (1992, Routledge, p. 370): "What shows up as the most typical Canadian feature is what is generally called ‘Canadian raising’. This refers to the realization of /ɑʊ/ and /aɪ/ with a higher and non-fronted first element [ʌu] and [ʌi] when followed by a voiceless consonant." Best regards, Q·L·1968 17:03, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

C' est pas le wikipedia francophone ici. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Notwillywanka (talkcontribs) 14:45, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Hmm, I see that perhaps the tone of my previous comment came across as impatient and dismissive. I do apologize for that. However, the fact remains that I have supported my position with reasoned argument and by citing a reputable source. I don't see how a comment like "C' est pas le wikipedia francphone ici" [sic] advances the discussion or will improve this article. Canadian raising is a phenomenon that affects the height of the first element of diphthongs. I'd be happy to explain any of the technical linguistic terminology involved, if anything is not clear. Q·L·1968 17:11, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, you've certainly improved your comment's spelling. Can I suggest a parallel situation for what happens in the other diphthong exhibiting Canadian raising, namely /aʊ/? The pair powder and pouter, in Canadian English, are not homophonous. The first is [ˈpaʊɾɚ] and the second is [ˈpʌʊɾɚ]. You can try saying these words yourself, and see if you can't hear a difference in the sound quality of the vowels themselves (independent of whatever difference of length there may be). Other words containing the same vowel sound as powder will include chowder, shrouding and so forth; others containing the same vowel sound as pouter will include touter and shouting. Assuming you speak with a Canadian accent, the difference in vowel sound (which is produced by the position of the tongue and lips) should be very salient. In fact, if you pronounce these words in front of a mirror, you should be able to see that your mouth is open wider when you say powder than when you say pouter. Having a more closed mouth in words like pouter (and writing) is Canadian raising. Q·L·1968 22:18, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Um, so Canadians who don't do that don't have Canadian accents? come again?? Oh wait, you said "Canadian accent". Singular. Sheesh. Maybe you mean Southern Ontarian?Skookum1 (talk) 16:58, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Marry-merry merger in Montreal Anglophones[edit]

There's a contradiction in the article. In Canadian_English#The front vowel merger before /r/ we have "To Montreal Anglophones, marry and merry sound the same..." while in Canadian_English#Quebec we have "Many people in Montreal distinguish between the words "marry" and "merry" in pronunciation." Assuming the first example is really trying to say that Montreal Anglophones don't pronounce a difference (rather than that they can't hear the difference) we have a nice contradiction. I can assure you that this Anglophone former-Montrealer not only pronounces "marry" and "merry" differently, but can hear the difference. Meters (talk) 22:12, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Confirmed from references that the statement in this article is invalid. Removed. This is a complicated section and I don't know how much of it is wrong. Can someone with some knowledge in the area please take a look at it?Meters (talk) 23:35, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Northwestern Ontario?[edit]

Sudbury, Timmins and Sault. Ste. Marie are all in Northeaster Ontario. Maybe this section should be renamed simply "Northern Ontario". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:45, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, "Northern Ontario" is Sudbury, Timmins and the Soo; Northwestern Ontario is the Lakehead/Nipigon to Kenora.Skookum1 (talk) 17:05, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Fix this Article[edit]

There has been a lot of work done on dialects in Canada in the last 20 years, none of which I see in this article. NFLD alone claims more dialects then the entire continental US, see Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland. We've all seen news interviews with folks from the old outports and even from St. John's, with subtitles! This article reflects a US and central Canadian bias. It is not neutral and does not adequately reflect current scholarship. It needs an overhaul. --IseeEwe (talk) 04:22, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

WP:SOFIXIT You seem to know more about the topic than many of us.Meters (talk) 17:52, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
I may. I may not. I'm very new here. I do not understand the protocols, and do not want to start making changes to something unless I understand that it is ok, approved, meets consensus or whatever. --IseeEwe (talk) 18:48, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. Thanks for pointing out some issues and a current ref. As I said somewhere above, I'll get my hands on the book. Meters (talk) 19:32, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Ok Meters(talk). Dis is it. I took a whack at er. Let's see if some dumb bugger don't cum by n go mucking er all up --IseeEwe (talk) 21:08, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Despite my ramble below, and in the context of sending the Dialects of Newfoundland link to a friend in St John's for review, I note there is no article entitled Newfanese, which is what they call their dialect (whether that's citable or not I don't know, probably though); maybe Culture of Newfoundland would be the place to add dialect info for now?Skookum1 (talk) 10:25, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Interesting link, nice find..... comment: one of the problems with Canadian dialects is linguistics studies are fairly Toronto-centric and there has not been a lot of fieldwork on English dialects, especially in Western Canada where, for example, Wikipedia classes all western provinces as "West-Central Canadian English" reality there are discernible differences between the western provinces - Albertans in particular, and also Interior BC, and of course the particular way that aboriginal Canadians speak/pronounce English. Part of this has to do with who settled there and in differing communities with different backgrounds the English spoken is different even from native communities e.g. Vernon and Trail, for some reason, and at one time I could tell the difference between Aldergrove and Abbotsford; sometimes it's just style of speech..but that's also "inherited" and between the predominance of British and other imperial-English accents (Aussie for example) in communities and within the school system, and also the presence of the Germans, Dutch and Chinese etc has influenced the way westerners speak vs the much more whitebread Ontarian accents, or the Celtic-flavoured accents of the Maritimes; Interior BC has a "cowboy" style (actually not just in ranching but inherited from gold rush days, particularly but not limited to natives), which Canadian historians/linguists have derided as "American", but which are part of the fabric of BC social/cultural history; in some areas/towns the ethnic background of the town plays a part in this; Trail and Revelstoke for Italians, Kitimat, Terrace and Prince Rupert for Hungarians, Germans in the Cariboo and Okanagan and Lower Mainland, and so on.... I can't source any of this because the academic community has determinedly ignored or rationalized it away, but the "bohunk" flavour of long-time Albertans (where "artificial cowboyism" is also noted, but different from the more authentic "cowboy" flavour of Interior BC, where settlers and miners were often from e.g. Montana, Kentucky and the American West in general - which doesn't make such people/accents any less "Canadian" except through the prejudiced eyes/ears of Central Canadians) is recognizable in BC..and as noted, "First Nations English" is prevalent in many communities; try and tell that to a professor at UofT, or one of the "imports" at UBC or SFU, and you'll get a sneer or patronizing comment.Skookum1 (talk) 05:33, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

And though alluded to in articles such as Chinglish, which is about Chinese adaptations of English, Vancouverites for years, and now in most major Canadian cities with large immigrant-Chinese/Asian populations, the way that we will strip ordinary English of conjugations, plurals, prepositions etc when speaking to Asians and others hasn't been studied so not citable...but is definitely a reality of the linguistic landscape.Skookum1 (talk) 05:37, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Something about aboriginal English variation is long overdue. The difference between aboriginal English and local non-aboriginal English is significant in almost every instance of which I am aware. Can you add it?--IseeEwe (talk) 05:24, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
It may be in that new source someone mentioned above, publ. 2000, I don't have access to it; you'd think that the linguists who work with native communities would have studied or at least noted/documented some of it...but then they're often foreigners to start with and aren't even aware of there being distinct dialects of English within Canada, or as with Chinook Jargon, opt not to study it in order to keep the focus on the "traditional" languages.Skookum1 (talk) 07:39, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
"Canadian English" is a specific dialect of English, dialects of English spoken by native groups in Canada would be a separate category not covered by this article. Mediatech492 (talk) 06:55, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────that's no reason not to cover it in this article, which as noted by others above and myself does not include all dialects spoken by Canadians; distinct dialects such as Newfanese (the polite term for what we still call "Newfie"), Caper (Cape Bretoner), Bluenoser (Halifax County), and the South Shore (of Nova Scotia) are nothing like "Canadian" English, which is really Ontarian English and I guess English Quebecker/Montrealer also; there's West-Central Canadian English but even with that, speaking as a British Columbian, I can tell you straight-out isn't quite right as Ontarians do (or did, until lots of in-migration since the late '70s) do sound different. If academic writers don't have their s**t together about the term "Canadian English" and assume that all the rest of English Canada speak the same "dialect" as if there were only one, that's the fault of the sources being UNreliable and outdated, and also biased and largely Torontocentric.

And not just "native English" but also "Acadian English" and the adapted/condensed semi-pidgin familiar to and used by Vancouverites are notable features of the linguistic landscape of the country; but Central Canada/Toronto etc is oblivious to lots of the physical and social landscape of Canada, including and especially native linguistic reality; linguists re aboriginal peoples tend to focus only on the study and hoped-for revival of the old languages and don't deal with the special usages and pronunciations that seem to span native Canada, despite there being several dozen language-background environments.

One feature I know of is in BC, where teh residential school priests and nuns were often Irish, and earlier were French, so there's an "Irish" lilt in a lot of native speech, and some French (=Belgian to a large degree, not Quebecois/canadien) traces....and in t he Interior of BC also often a "cowboy" twang...and a sort of thick lisp or slur, often mocked by redneck humour. The idea taht Canadian English is monolithic may be published; but it's utterly wrong.

If native English isn't welcome in this article that's a bit disturbing to hear from another Canadian; linguistic segregation? Are they not Canadian, then? Or should this article maybe be retitled English dialects in Canada so taht we can get away from imposed misnomer "Canadian English" meaning Toronto-Ottawa English?

That a lot of non-natives in largely non-native communities also speak that way, from growing up around it, is another factor in the equation.Skookum1 (talk) 07:39, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

All this is true, but it is also irrelevant to the point I was making. As I stated "Canadian English" is a specific dialect of English spoken in Canada, and if you read the article you will find that it is in way "monolithic". It happens to be the dialect of English spoken by the majority of Canadians. That does not mean that it is or should be considered an "official language", it is merely the one most widely spoken. The Constitution of Canada is very explicit that the official languages of Canada are "English and French" with no other qualifiers. This article is dedicated to this one specific dialect. Other Canadian dialects of English are covered in other articles. including (but not limited to): Newfoundland English, Canadian Maritime English, Quebec English, West–Central Canadian English, Northern Ontario English, and Pacific Northwest English. There is even an article on Aboriginal English Dialects so your assumption of exclusivity is simply false. Mediatech492 (talk) 08:43, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Well why didn't you say so then and point out the article instead of saying it should be separate, as if it didn't already exist; the "Aboriginal" title has issues because of Australian usage, and there's a similar cultural-linguistic situation down there. That article has existed since 2012, I just added WP templates to its until-now redlinked talkpage; which is probably why I never saw it before, even though raising this issue before. "One specific dialect" still sticks in my craw, there is no such thing, other than an external perception, or a misnomer.Skookum1 (talk) 09:01, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Pacific Northwest English, which I just glanced over, is about USian English in the Pacific Northwest; they have different vowels in diphthongs and though Seattle and Vancouver and Portland are all interlinked, it's not like the linguistic landscape in BC is like that in Seattle or Portland, or even between the Canadian Okanagan and the American Okanogan; so your presentation of that as addressing what I'm talking about is a non sequitur. I'll redirect Newfanese to Newfoundland English and wonder why nobody has mentioned it in related discussions farther up this page; and I guess Bluenoser and Caper (Canada) can redirect there too, though both of those terms are for the people/culture are as well as the dialect.Skookum1 (talk) 09:06, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
I can't speak for the content of those articles as I have never worked on them. If you feel their content is inadequate then maybe you should discuss those issues on talk pages for those articles. With all due respect, talking about the inadequacy of those articles on the talk page of an article on a different topic is definitely non-sequiter. Mediatech492 (talk) 09:29, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Then this article is mistitled, as "Canadian English" is highly ambiguous and most readers don't give a hoot about it being the name of a dialect as defined by whomever; to them it means "English as spoken by Canadians", which covers a LOT of material that the narrow definition advanced by you and presumed to be the sole subject of this article just does not cover, or by your own comments, include.Skookum1 (talk) 11:43, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
Skookum1 I did not name the article, nor did I name the dialect that it is the subject of. This Dialect is recognized by this name by professional linguists in Canada and around the world. Personal attacks against me will not change this fact. Mediatech492 (talk) 13:43, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh, so criticizing what you've said is a "personal attack"? I've heard that kind of hornswaggle before; not like you haven't criticized or talked down to me. Professional linguists do not own Wikipedia, but they sure seem to be trying to commandeer it. The title is ambiguous and it is NOT clear that it is about a dialect defined by "professional linguists". The don't own the English language either. And your conflation of criticism, when you yourself have criticized me, into a claim of "personal attack" is a tiresome bore.Skookum1 (talk) 09:46, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

The data suggests that about 80% (25m)of Canadians speak English in their normal day in public. Subtract approx 8 million who speak it as a second language, 1.0million immigrants speaking another native dialect of English, 0.5million who speak Newfoundland English, and say another 0.5m speaking a wildly different form of English in various odds and ends of the country. Of 25 million speakers of English, fully 10 million do not speak standard Canadian English. Canadian English is hardly in the dominant majority. I fully support retitling this article as English Dialects in Canada as proposed above. The vast majority of the material in this article would fall into "Standard Canadian English", and big chunks of the rest divided up into the regions.--IseeEwe (talk) 22:03, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

@Skookum1: The point of this article isn't to present Canadian English as "monolithic" and over-generalize, but to serve as a WP:SUMMARYSTYLE overview that branches into more specific articles, just as American English and British English do. I agree it needs a lot of work in this regard, but a sort "this article must die!" approach to the topic won't help it get there.  :-) The best tactic is probably to improve the specific subarticles, and then re-summarize them here adequately, removing overgeneralizations from the lead in process.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:23, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Rhythm and Intonation[edit]

This needs to be clarified and cited:

"Canadians often possess a sing-songy cadence to their speech which isn't usually seen in most varieties of General American English which tends to be on average "flatter". The intonation difference may signify remnants of Scottish or Irish influence."

I have no idea what sing-songy and flat are supposed to mean. They aren't helpful terms, so this section should just be removed unless it can be cited. The second sentence needs to be cited also. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Smashhoof2 (talkcontribs) 04:06, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Quebec English[edit]

Canadian English#Quebec. When I visited Montreal from Ottawa in the summer of 1960 all French language street names were pronounced as though they were English language words e.g. "Pie Nine", not Pie Neuf as it is done now in this case and all others. I have lived in Montreal since March 1969, and in Laval since July 1991, but I don't recall when the change occurred but my educated guess is that it happened when Bill 101 became law. Peter Horn User talk 00:01, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

That still applies, at least among older anglo-Quebeckers, re "Pie Nine" (including among bilingual Irish-descent families who also speak fluent French, or in the case of the one household of elderly ladies who hosted me for a while). Suffice to say that quasi-French pronunciations of "Berri" and "Bonaventure" are "anglicized" and do not have the same pronunciation as they do in French. Rue Ste-Catherine is still "Saint Cath" or sometimes "Saint Cathy"; Rue Universite is still "University" among anglo-Montrealers, and "Sherbrooke" is pronounced the English way, not how it is pronounced in French, and so on. Avenue des Pines is still "Pine" as per English, same with Park/Parc, President Kennedy et al. though St-Jacques I can't say I've heard as St. James ever. And so on.....and Montreal is pronounced teh English way by anglos also. One thign I know that irks Anglo-Montrealers is the pair of streets flanking Peel Street, namely what had been Bishop and Mountain Streets, named for a Bishop Mountain (a bishop, that was his family name) which are now "de l'Eveque" and "de la Montaigne"; they'll still use the original English names as opposed to the by-law French ones.Skookum1 (talk) 04:04, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Toronto and Ottawa[edit]

The section stating:

  • Regional Pronunciations:
    • Toronto is often pronounced without the last "t" producing "Torono", whereas Toronto natives tend to say "Toranah"
    • Ottawa natives often pronounce the city name with a "d" sound where the "t"s are, producing "Oddawa"

is unsourced and utterly uneccesary. The glottalization of /t/ before or after /n/ is a standard feature of pretty much every North American variety of English, as is the flapping of historical /t/ and /d/. ALL North American English speakers pronounce those two city names in the way described. This section contains nothing useful or interesting whatsoever and should as such I am removing it. — RoflCopter404 (talk) 08:06, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

I agree that the sourcing is questionable, but I do not agree with your statement: "ALL North American English speakers pronounce those two city names in the way described." There are many different ways of pronouncing Toronto, "T'ronTo", "T'rono", "To-ron-To", "T'ron-ah", and so on. Now Ottawa, no place I've lived (And yes I've lived and visited many places in North America) pronounces it with a hard "d" instead of "t". The dropping of final "consonant sounds" is a very common trait of the areas that used to be part of "New France", in Michigan (and the Midwest), the final "t" in Detroit is silent, for example. --NotWillyWonka (talk) 17:12, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Yup, an clear overgeneralization. Toronto has many pronunciations in Canada. As for Ottawa, I've definitely heard it (and probably pronounced it at times) with a "d". Still, I don't think that we need that bit in the article. Completely unsourced, possibly OR, and possibly not correct (for example, who says only Ottawa natives use the "d" pronunciation?). Meters (talk) 23:58, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm also going to attest that non-Torontonians quite commonly do pronounce the second t, especially but not exclusively if they're American. Hell, when I was growing up elsewhere in Canada I used to hyperarticulate it as "Toronto" — I even sometimes made fun of Torontonians for dropping the second t — until I moved here and realized about a year later that my own speech had shifted to "Torono" too. Bearcat (talk) 15:55, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
  • It's not a /d/ in "Ottawa"—it's a intervocalic alveolar flap (IPA: /ɾ/)—and I've yet to meet a North American who normally pronounces "Ottawa" as /ˈɒtəwə/ rather than /ˈɒɾəwə/. The latter is the standard North American way to pronounce any intervocalic "t" or "d" where the second of the relevant syllables is unstressed. For the record, I'm from the GTA and pronounce "Toronto" as /ˈtrɒnoʊ/ or /təˈrɒnoʊ/, as do my Toronto-born parents. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 01:12, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Mum and Bum[edit]

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really surprised there isn't a single mention in this article of the words mum and bum. Mom and butt are the more common words for those things in the US. I often hear Canadians say mum and bum instead. 2601:903:8100:1200:F97C:989A:AF05:AE48 (talk) 03:06, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

Those aren't distinct Canadianisms; they're Britishisms carried over by the fact that Canadian English still retains more of a British influence than American English does. In both cases, the British and American terms coexist in Canadian English — neither "mum" nor "bum" is universally used by all (or even most) Canadians, and "mom" or "butt" are every bit as widely used. (I won't get into unverifiable POV arguments over which set of words is more common than the other, but neither set of words is unattested in Canadian English.) Bearcat (talk) 07:55, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Trivia: there are Americans who use "mum" and "bum" as well. It's a big country. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 11:22, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
I can't say I've ever heard those words from an American. Just to be clear, I never said "mum" and "bum" were universal in Canada. But I'm sure the percentage of Canadians who use them is much higher than the percentage of Americans who use them. Also, a lot of things in this article aren't distinct Canadianisms. See "schedule", "progress", etc. 2601:903:8100:1200:415E:8192:97C9:910E (talk) 11:21, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
You've likely never heard a native French-speaking American either, but there are about two million of them. Like I said, it's a big country, and there's much more variety there than Hollywood would lead you to believe. Many Canadians believe that Canadians say "pop" while Americans say "soda"—the truth is the population of Americans who say "pop" rather than "soda" is larger than the population of Canada. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 11:56, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
It's certainly possible that you're right about the percentages. However, without a reliable source by which we can properly verify the accuracy of your perception, Wikipedia is not in the business of publishing anecdotal reports of individual users' experience. We've had a constant problem over the years with people adding unverified claims to this article that actually turned out to be wrong in some way (people love, for instance, to add their own self-invented slang terms to the list of distinctive Canadianisms as a form of promotion of their cool new word), so we've had to really clamp down on including anything without proper sourcing for it. Bearcat (talk) 16:51, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
2 million out of 3 hundred something million. A very small minority, in other words. 2601:903:8100:1200:DCA5:D01:5057:49F (talk) 12:02, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
You seem to have missed the point entirely. Remember where I (repeatedly) said "it's a big country"? Meaning, a country where millions of people represent no more than a "very small minority". There are many, many, many of these "very small minorities" that make up the nation. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 12:13, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
I am American BTW. So my perception of this country doesn't come from Hollywood. 2601:903:8100:1200:DCA5:D01:5057:49F (talk) 12:02, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
A bold statement. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 12:13, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Sounds fun. Listen, I really don't have time for...whatever this is. I have one of those job things. Buh bye now. 2601:903:8100:1200:DCA5:D01:5057:49F (talk) 12:18, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
If we're going to "go there", note that "ass" not British "arse" is the norm in much of .ca, at least the urban centres.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:17, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Spelling differences geographically[edit]

We're not covering spelling differences geographically at all, only by what some big national newspapers are doing, much of which is political posturing and prescriptivism (which some publications, like Maclean's, have been declining to pay any attention to). This is a WP:NPOV problem. While of course sources are needed for it, acceptance of US spellings increases the further west you go. It also varies by what the suffix (or whatever) is; acceptance of "color" vs. "colour" doesn't exactly track that of "theater" vs. "theatre" (the former shift is more likely to be found than the latter).

But it'a also varies by proximity to a major US city. US-inflected spelling is more common in big border cities than it is in rural northern areas even in the same province.

At any rate, it's very inaccurate for this article to imply that there's some nationwide sweep to adopt Briticisms, when the American influence on Canadian English is actually increasing, not decreasing, and has been very strongly via both syndicated television and the advent of that Internet thing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:15, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

  • I think you mean maintain Britishisms rather than adopt Britishisms—I'm not aware of any movement to replace standard Canadian spellings with British ones we don't already have—It's not like we switched from "color" to "colour". I definitely find British Columbians to be more accepting of "color" and "center"-type spellings, but they tend to be stigmatized everywhere else I've been in the country (including neighbouring Alberta). Where the American influence is strongest is in words related to new ideas or technology, thus "tire" and "curb" rather than "tyre" and "curb"—in new (or renewed) vocabulary, rather than in changing established norms. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 08:20, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Phonemic and phonetic transcription[edit]

This is a giant mess here. Why are differences to the US pronunciations given in slashes? We are talking about the exact pronunciation here and at the same time the trilled R is used. -- (talk) 14:43, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

The "slashes" are standard encyclopedic format for denoting a pronunciation that's given in IPA code. As for the trilled R, I'm not sure what your point is — but I'm not offhand aware of any noteworthy use of the trilled-R in Canadian English, except where a person is following French-language pronunciation of a place name like Montreal or Trois-Rivières instead of the more common anglicized pronunciations. If that's not what you mean, then could you provide an actual example of what you're talking about so that we can discuss it and figure out where in the article to mention it? Bearcat (talk) 15:48, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Canadian English[edit]

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I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 11:03, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

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As an American who served in the United States Air Force, and who interacted with members of the Canadian Forces (very professional, by the way), I can say that I never heard the American "loo-tenant" pronunciation from any Canadian military personnel. In fact, I cannot say that I have ever heard it from any Canadian. I remember years ago on Jeopardy!, where Canadian Alex Trebek read a clue about the film "The French Lieutenant's Woman," Trebek used the "lef-tenant" pronunciation. I also remember reading that the late Canadian Peter Jennings, in his early years in the U.S. news business, had to have stage hands holding up cue cards reminding him to use the "loo-tenant" pronunciation. I have heard that outtakes exist of Star Trek bloopers where Canadian William Shatner, as Captain James T. Kirk (who was supposed to be from Iowa) would occasionally lapse into his Canadian "lef-tenant" pronunciation. As well, living in a border city, I get CBC radio, and newscasters always use the "lef-tenant" pronunciation; i.e., referring to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario or to a rank in the Canadian Armed Forces. So why is there a statement saying that "loo-tenant" is the most common use in Canadian English?Dyscard (talk) 16:06, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

Try actually reading the source provided for it. Like any other dialect, Canadian English is not fixed and unvarying, but evolves over time — and the pronunciation of "lieutenant" is one of those things that has undergone a shift since the early days of Peter Jennings' career with ABC. There are lots of things that were historically considered characteristic markers of Canadian English pronunciation and dialect — pronouncing schedule as "shedule" rather than "skedule", calling a couch a chesterfield, etc. — that can be verifiably sourced as not being true of the way Canadians actually speak anymore, and the pronunciation of lieutenant is one of those things where there's been a documentable shift. Some people absolutely do still cling to "leftenant" as "the Canadian way", obviously, but many don't anymore. I don't think the sentence is precisely accurate about the actual situation, so I'm going to reword it, but it's definitely not the case that "leftenant" is still the unequivocal norm in Canadian speech today. Bearcat (talk) 17:38, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
The shift is likely due to no one actually using or being exposed to the word unless one is in the military, RCMP, or in a LGs office, so the only exposure the average person would recieve is through American film and television. For those Canadians that actually work with the term the current usage is unequivocally "left-tenant". For example, the Ont LGs office ([2]), and even this 2015 book on Canadian English ([3]). If the shift is to be noted the reason and current usages should be noted, ie the Canadian Forces, RCMP, and LGs offices would never use a "Lootenant" pronounciation. trackratte (talk) 14:05, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

My paperback copy of the Oxford Canadian English Dictionary (2004) still lists "lef-tenant" as the pronunciation of the word with "lootenant" as a "US alternative." Also, as I said in my previous statement, I live within walking distance of the border and hence can receive a lot of Canadian broadcasting, especially radio. Newspeople on the Canadian stations I have listened to always use the "lef-tenant" pronunciation.Dyscard (talk) 17:20, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

Things change. The hardcover 2004 second edition of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary lists both pronunciations, with no qualifications. The 2006 Oxford Canadian A-Z of Grammar, Spelling, & Punctuation says "Many Canadians object to pronouncing lieutenant 'loo TENNANT', regarding this pronunciation as American. However, outside of the Armed Forces, it is probably somewhat more common among Canadians than 'lef TENNANT', except in the word Lieutenant-Governor, where usage is more equally divided." Meters (talk) 17:34, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

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We really don't say "aboot" anymore... it's more like abeh-oot. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2607:FEA8:9560:47E:38CA:2FB4:DFDF:3A08 (talk) 23:09, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Fire hall[edit]

I disagree that "fire hall" is a Canadianism. I grew up in western Pennsylvania, and fire hall was a common term. Many of the smaller municipalities in that region had volunteer fire departments, and many of them would have large rooms that they would rent out for banquets to raise revenue. In my town the banquet room was the upper floor of the building that would otherwise be referred to as a fire station. I wouldn't use "fire hall" to describe a fire station that was strictly a facility for firefighters, trucks, etc. Farside268 (talk) 04:04, 3 April 2017 (UTC) Farside268 (talk) 04:04, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

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