AMERICAN VS CANADIAN ENGLISH:
Written by: Leah
Leah is from Canada. She has worked in Education for 7 years after studying English Literature at university. She has taught adolescents from age 3 to 16 and is also comfortable working with adults. Currently, she lives in Greece and has worked with hundreds of students from China teaching them English online. She likes to engage students using the arts such as books, poetry, and music and incorporates students’ interests into every lesson. She is currently working to reach Greek fluency and understands the challenges that come with learning to speak a new language. She will help every student overcome their personal hurdles and achieve their language goals.
Canadian Vs. American English: What’s the difference?
Canadian English is a hybrid of American and British English, with spelling rules following British standards, but speaking rules more closely aligned with American pronunciation. That said, there is a shift toward American spelling occurring with some words. For example, in Canada it is acceptable to spell the word ‘analyse’ as the Americans do; ‘analyze’ (‘organise’ as ‘organize’ and more).
Canadian English has several phonemic mergers. One example is the cot-caught merger, meaning these two words sound exactly the same when spoken, making them homonyms. This phenomenon does occur in America but not as widely. Most Canadians pronounce the words “Mary (as in the name), merry, (Merry Christmas!), and marry (as in a wedding) exactly the same! According to the Harvard Dialect Study, 57% of Americans also pronounce these words the same. But, the map below shows the states in which all three words are pronounced differently:
(photo from http://dialect.redlog.net)
Mary = rhymes with hairy
merry = meh-ry
marry = mah-ry
A list of words unique to Canada:
toque = a knitted hat worn in winter (beanie in America)
washroom = room with a toilet (bathroom or restroom in America)
Can you guess if the Canadian stereotype is TRUE or FALSE?
They pronounce “out and about” as “oot and about” (false!).
They say “eh” a lot, (true, but in Western Canada, it’s “hey”).
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