Friday, March 4, 2011


Because it is -25 outside right now and because it isn't snowing and because I am thankful for the glorious sunshine today, I thought I would give you a lesson on how to speak Canadian. What? You don't care about how to speak Canadian. Well I'm sorry (sore-y). 

Most people think of the term Eh? when they think of Canadians and their dialect. As an American residing in Canada I am here to tell you that Eh? is not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to differences between American English and Canadian English. The differences in terminology are so great that I scarcely notice the occasional Eh? or the about pronunciation anymore. As much as I don't notice the Eh? I'm pretty sure every Canadian notices when I drop the y'all bomb. If I had a nickel for every strange look I got then I would have been a millionaire months ago. I should probably start adapting and evolving, but 30 years of a language just does not change overnight. And until it does I will continue to speak American while the rest of the country looks at me sideways. And I don't care, because I'm looking at them sideways too.

Here are some examples that I've taken the liberty of translating for you.

My name is Zeus. Zed-E-U-S
My name is Zeus. Z-E-U-S.

What are you sayin'?
What are y'all doing tonight?
(Really? That makes no sense.)

We're having a party tonight. Be here for 9:00.
We're having a party tonight. Be here at 9:00.

Come on over. We're BBQing burgers on the BBQ.
Come on over! We're grilling burgers on the grill.
(Correct me if I'm wrong, but BBQ is a type of sauce.)

Do you want a drive to the party?
Do you want a ride to party?
(It's a ride. You are riding in my car.)

I find that I prefer merlot instead of cabernet.
I think I prefer merlot instead of cabernet.
(Canada wins this one. It's much less pretentious.)

Can you bring a case of beer as well?
Can you bring a case of beer too?

When I was a grade twelve I hated beer.
When I was a senior I hated beer.
(Grade 12 year is too much of a mouthful, senior year sounds much better.)

But not when I lived in residence at university, I loved beer then.
But not when I lived in the dorms in college. I loved beer then.

Oh yeah, I'm sorry (sore - y) I forgot to do the dishes yesterday.
Oh yeah, I'm sorry (sa-r-y) I forgot to do the dishes yesterday.
(Never will I ever pronounce 'sorry' like a Canadian. I don't care how long I live here.)

Then there is the matter of spelling:

neighbour - neighbor
colour - color
favourite - favorite
parlour - parlor

Again, a million years of elementary school spelling tests beat these words into my brain and I can't imagine a reversal anytime soon. I will just continue my ongoing battle with spellcheck.

Here is my challenge to you. Pick one of these Canadian phrases, just one, and try it out today. See what kind of reaction you get and let me know.

Well, I hope you've learned something new today. I'm so glad to be a part of it. If you ever catch me pronouncing sorry like a Canadian please feel free to knock me upside the head. As for the rest of it, I can't help it but now you'll be able to understand me. When in Rome...

Workout: Cardio - 50 minutes; Weights - abs (Gimme a break, today was light/recovery. It's not like I just started working out yesterday or anything...)

1 comment:

  1. Oh my God, where do I start?

    Do you want a ride to the party is totally what a Canadian says, An American would say I am going to ride to the party with you and a Canadian would say, I am going to drive to the party with you. But we both ask, Do you want a ride?

    No self respecting Canadian would ever hate beer in grade twelve.

    I find that I prefer is not correct, I find the dark meet better than the white meat would work though rather than I think the white meat is better than the dark

    Your Husband says as well, not the whole damn country