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Canadian English

Canadian English

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Canadian English
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Canadian English
(
CanE
,
en-CA
[1]
) is the variety of English used in Canada. More than 26 million Canadians (85% of the population) have some knowledgeof English (2006 census).
[2]
Approximately 17 million speak English as their native language. Outside Quebec, 76% of Canadians speak English natively.Canadian English contains elements of British English in its vocabulary, as well as several distinctive Canadianisms. In many areas, speech is influenced byFrench, and there are notable local variations. However, Canada has very little dialect diversity compared to the United States.
[3]
The phonetics, phonology,morphology, syntax, and lexicon for most of Canada are similar to that of the Western and Midland regions of the United States,
[3]
while the phonologicalsystem of western Canadian English is identical to that of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and the phonetics are similar.
[4]
As such, CanadianEnglish and American English are sometimes grouped together as North American English. Canadian English spelling is a blend of British and Americanconventions.
Contents
1 History2 Spelling and dictionaries3 Phonemic incidence4 Regional variation4.1 Western and Central Dialect4.1.1 Canadian raising4.1.2 The low-back merger and the Canadian Shift4.1.3 Other features4.1.4 British Columbia4.1.5 Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta)4.1.6 Ontario4.1.6.1 Ottawa Valley4.1.6.2 Toronto4.1.7 Quebec4.2 Maritimes4.3 Newfoundland5 Grammar 6 Vocabulary6.1 Education6.2 Units of measurement6.3 Transportation6.4 Politics6.5 Law6.6 Places6.7 Daily life6.7.1 Apparel6.7.2 Food and beverage6.8 Informal speech6.8.1 Canadian colloquialisms6.9 Miscellaneous Canadianisms
History
The term "Canadian English" is first attested in a speech by the Reverend A. Constable Geikie in an address to the Canadian Institute in 1857. Geikie, aScottish-born Canadian, reflected the Anglocentric attitude prevalent in Canada for the next hundred years when he referred to the language as "a corruptdialect," in comparison to what he considered the proper English spoken by immigrants from Britain.
[5]
Canadian English is the product of four waves of immigration and settlement over a period of almost two centuries. The first large wave of permanent English-speaking settlement in Canada, and linguistically the most important, was the influx of British Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, chiefly from theMid-Atlantic States – as such, Canadian English is believed by some scholars to have derived from northern American English,
[6]
and is nothing more than avariety of it.
[7]
The second wave from Britain and Ireland was encouraged to settle in Canada after the War of 1812 by the governors of Canada, who wereworried about anti-English sentiment among its citizens. Waves of immigration from around the globe peaking in 1910 and 1960 had a lesser influence, but theydid make Canada a multicultural country, ready to accept linguistic change from around the world during the current period of globalization.
[8]
The languages of Aboriginal peoples in Canada started to influence European languages used in Canada even before widespread settlement took place,
[9]
andthe French of Lower Canada provided vocabulary to the English of Upper Canada.
[5]
Spelling and dictionaries
Canadian spelling of the English language combines British and American rules. Most notably, French-derived words that in American English end with
-or 
and
-er 
, such as
color 
or 
center 
, usually retain British spellings (
colour 
,
honour 
and
centre 
), although American spellings are not uncommon. Also, while the UnitedStates uses the Anglo-French spelling
defense 
(noun), Canada uses the British spelling
defence 
. (Note that
defensive 
is universal.) In other cases, Canadians and
Canadian English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Englis1
2009
 
Americans differ from British spelling, such as in the case of nouns like
tire 
and
curb 
, which in British English are spelled
tyre 
and
kerb 
. Words such as
realize 
and
recognize 
are usually spelled with
-ize 
rather than
-ise 
. The etymological convention that verbs derived from Greek roots are spelled with -ize and thosefrom Latin with -ise is preserved in that practice.
[10]
Nouns take
-ice 
while verbs take
-ise 
, compare
 practice 
and
 practise 
. Canadian spelling also retains theBritish practice of usually doubling a final single
-l 
when adding suffixes to words even when the final syllable (before the suffix) is not stressed. CompareCanadian (and British)
travelled 
,
counselling 
, and
controllable 
(always doubled) to American
traveled 
,
counseling 
, and
controllable 
(only doubled whenstressed). But both Canadian and British have
balloted 
and
 profiting 
.
[11]
Canadian spelling rules can be partly explained by Canada's trade history. For instance, the British spelling of the word
cheque 
probably relates to Canada'sonce-important ties to British financial institutions. Canada's automobile industry, on the other hand, has been dominated by American firms from its inception,explaining why Canadians use the American spelling of 
tire 
and American terminology for the parts of automobiles (e.g.,
truck 
instead of 
lorry 
,
 gasoline 
insteadof 
 petrol 
).
[11]
A contemporary reference for formal Canadian spelling is the spelling used for Hansard transcripts of the Parliament of Canada. Many Canadian editors,though, use the
Canadian Oxford Dictionary 
, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2004), often along with the chapter on spelling in
Editing Canadian English 
, and, where necessary (depending on context) one or more other references. (See Further reading below.)The first Canadian dictionaries of Canadian English were edited by Walter Spencer Avis and published by Gage Ltd (also Gauge. Toronto. The
Beginner's Dictionary 
(1962), the
Intermediate Dictionary 
(1964) and, finally, the
Senior Dictionary 
(1967) were milestones in CanE lexicography. Many secondaryschools in Canada use these dictionaries. The dictionaries have regularly been updated since: the
Senior Dictionary 
was renamed
Gage Canadian Dictionary 
andexists in what may be called its 5th edition from 1997. Gage was acquired by Thomson Nelson around 2003. Concise versions and paperback version areavailable.In 1997, the
ITP Nelson Dictionary of the Canadian English Language 
was another product, but has not been updated since.In 1998, Oxford University Press produced a Canadian English dictionary, after five years of lexicographical research, entitled
The Oxford Canadian Dictionary 
. A second edition, retitled
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary 
, was published in 2004. Just as the older dictionaries it includes uniquely Canadianwords and words borrowed from other languages, and surveyed spellings, such as whether 
colour 
or 
color 
was the most popular choice in common use.Paperback and concise versions (2005, 2006), with minor updates, are available.The scholarly
Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles 
(
DCHP 
) was first published in 1967 by Gage Ltd. It was a partner project of the
Senior Dictionary 
(and appeared only a few weeks apart from each other). The
DCHP 
can be considered the "Canadian OED", as it documents the historicaldevelopment of CanE words that can be classified as "Canadianisms". It therefore includes words such as
mukluk, Canuck, bluff  
and
 grow op 
, but does not listcommon core words such as
desk, table 
or 
car 
. It is a specialist, scholarly dictionary, but is not without interest to the general public. After more than 40 years, asecond edition has been commenced at UBC in Vancouver in 2006.Throughout most of the 20th century, Canadian newspapers generally adopted American spellings e.g.
color 
as opposed to the British-based
colour 
. The use of such spellings was the long-standing practice of the The Canadian Press perhaps since that news agency's inception, but visibly the norm prior to World War II.
[12]
The practice of dropping the letter 
in such words was also considered a labour-saving technique during the early days of printing in which movable typewas set manually.
[12]
Canadian newspapers also received much of their international content from American press agencies, therefore it was much easier for editorial staff to leave the spellings from the wire services as provided.
[13]
But reader complaints regarding the American spellings continued, given thewidespread usage of the British variants in Canada which were particularly taught in the school systems. Eventually, Canadian newspapers adopted the Britishspelling variants such as
-our 
endings, notably with the
The Globe and Mail 
changing its spelling policy in October 1990.
[14]
Other Canadian newspapersadopted similar changes later that decade, such as the Southam newspaper chain's conversion on 2 September 1998.
[15]
The
Toronto Star 
adopted this newspelling policy on 15 September 1997 after that publication's ombudsman discounted the issue earlier in 1997.
[13][16]
In summary, there is then neither a national standard nor even provincial level standards for the education of, or consistent usage of, the written form of Canada's first language, English.
Phonemic incidence
The pronunciation of certain words has both American and British influence.The name of the letter Z is normally the Anglo-European (and French)
zed 
; the American
zee 
is not unknown in Canada, but it is often stigmatized.
[17]
In the words
adult 
and
composite 
, the emphasis is usually on the first syllable, as in Britain.Canadians side with the British on the pronunciation of 
lieutenant 
/l
ɛ
ˈ
t
ɛ
nənt/,
shone 
/
 ʃɒ
n/,
lever 
/
ˈ
livər/, and several other words;
been 
is pronounced bymany speakers as /bin/ rather than /b
ɪ
n/; as in Southern England,
either 
and
neither 
are more commonly /
ˈ
a
ɪ
ðər/ and /
ˈ
na
ɪ
ðər/, respectively.
Schedule 
can sometimes be /
ˈʃɛ
d
ʒ
ul/;
 process 
,
 progress 
, and
 project 
are sometimes pronounced /
ˈ
 pro
ʊ
s
ɛ
s/, /
ˈ
 pro
ʊɡ
ɛ
s/, and /
ˈ
 pro
ʊ
d
ʒ
ɛ
kt/;
leisure 
is often/
ˈ
l
ɛʒ
ər/,
harassment 
is often /
ˈ
h
ɛ
rəsmənt/.
Again 
and
against 
are often pronounced /ə
ˈ
ge
ɪ
n(st)/ rather than /ə
ˈ
g
ɛ
n(st)/.The stressed vowel of words such as
borrow 
,
sorry 
or 
tomorrow 
is /
ɔ
r/ rather than /
ɑ
r/.Words such as
fragile 
,
fertile 
, and
mobile 
are pronounced as /fræd
ʒ
a
ɪ
l/, /f 
ɜ
rta
ɪ
l/, and /mo
ʊ
 ba
ɪ
l/. The pronunciation of 
fertile 
as /f 
ɜ
rtl
     
/ is also becomingsomewhat common in Canada, even though /f 
ɜ
rta
ɪ
l/ remains dominant.Words like
semi 
,
anti 
, and
multi 
tend to be pronounced as /s
ɛ
mi/, /ænti/, and /m
ʌ
lti/ rather than /s
ɛ
ma
ɪ
/, /ænta
ɪ
/, and /m
ʌ
lta
ɪ
/.Loanwords that have a low central vowel in their language of origin, such as
ll 
ma 
,
 p 
sta 
, and
 pyj 
mas 
, as well as place names like
za 
, tend to have /æ/rather than /
ɑ
/ (which is the same as /
ɒ
/ due to the father-bother merger, see below); this also applies to older loans like
drama 
. The word
khaki 
issometimes pronounced /k 
ɑ
rki/, the preferred pronunciation of the Canadian Army during the Second World War.
[18]
The most common pronunciation of 
vase 
is /ve
ɪ
z/.
[19]
Words of French origin, such as
clique 
,
niche 
, and
croissant 
, are pronounced more like they would be in French.The word
syrup 
is commonly pronounced /
ˈ
sirəp/.The word
 premier 
"leader of a provincial or territorial government" is commonly pronounced /
ˈ
 primjər/, with /
ˈ
 pr 
ɛ
mj
ɛ
r/ and /
ˈ
 primj
ɛ
r/ being rare variants.The herb and given masculine name
basil 
is usually pronounced /
ˈ
 bæzəl/ rather than /
ˈ
 be
ɪ
zəl/.Many Canadians pronounce
asphalt 
as "ash-falt" /
ˈ
æ
 ʃ 
ɒ
lt/.
[20]
This pronunciation is also common in Australian English, but not in General American
2
English or British English.
 
Based on Labov et al.; averaged F1/F2 means for speakersfrom Western and Central Canada. Note that /
ɒ
/ and /
ɔ
/ areindistinguishable; /æ/ and /
ɛ
/ are very open.
Milk 
may be pronounced /m
ɛ
lk/ by some speakers. It is common especially in areas such as Saskatchewan, although some Americans pronounce it thatway as well.
Regional variation
Canada has very little dialect diversity compared to the United States.
[3]
The provinces east of Ontario show the largest dialect diversity. Northern Canada is,according to Labov, a dialect region in formation, and a homogenous dialect has not yet formed.
[21]
A very homogeneous dialect exists in Western and CentralCanada, a situation that is similar to that of the Western United States. William Labov identifies an inland region that concentrates all of the defining features of the dialect centred on the Prairies, with periphery areas with more variable patterns including the metropolitan areas of Vancouver and Toronto.
[3]
This dialectforms a dialect continuum with the far Western United States, however it is sharply differentiated from the Inland Northern United States. This is a result of therelatively recent phenomenon known as the Northern cities vowel shift; see below.
Western and Central Dialect
As a variety of North American English, this variety is similar to most other forms of NorthAmerican speech in being a rhotic accent, which is historically a significant marker in differentiatingdifferent English varieties.Like General American, this variety possesses the merry-Mary-marry merger (except in Montreal,which tends towards a distinction between marry and merry
[3]
), as well as the father-bother merger.
Canadian raising
Perhaps the most recognizable feature of CanE is Canadian raising. The diphthongs /a
ɪ
/ and /a
ʊ
/ are"raised" before voiceless consonants, namely /p/, /t/, /k/, /s/, and /f/. In these environments, /a
ɪ
/ becomes [
ʌɪ
~
ɜɪ
~
ɐɪ
]. One of the few phonetic variables that divides Canadians regionally is thearticulation of the raised allophone of /a
ʊ
/: in Ontario, it tends to have a mid-central or evenmid-front articulation, sometimes approaching [
ɛʊ
], while in the West and Maritimes a moreretracted sound is heard, closer to [
ʌʊ
].
[22]
Among some speakers in the Prairies and in NovaScotia, the retraction is strong enough to cause some tokens of raised /a
ʊ
/ to merge with /o
ʊ
/, sothat
couch 
and
coach 
sound the same, and
about 
sounds like
a boat 
(though never like
a boot 
, as inthe American stereotype of Canadian raising). Canadian raising is found throughout Canada,including much of the Atlantic Provinces.
[3]
It is the strongest in the Inland region, and is recedingin younger speakers in Lower Mainland British Columbia, as well as certain parts of Ontario.Many Canadians, especially in parts of the Atlantic provinces, do not possess Canadian raising. In the U.S., this feature can be found in areas near the border such as the Upper Midwest, although it is much less common than in Canada; raising of /a
ɪ
/ alone, however, is increasing in the U.S., and unlike raising of /a
ʊ
/,is generally not noticed by people who do not have the raising.Because of Canadian raising, many speakers are able to distinguish between words such as
writer 
and
rider 
 —a feat otherwise impossible, because NorthAmerican dialects turn intervocalic /t/ into an alveolar flap. Thus
writer 
and
rider 
are distinguished solely by their vowels, even though the distinction betweentheir consonants has since been lost. Speakers who do not have raising cannot distinguish between these two words.
The low-back merger and the Canadian Shift
Almost all Canadians have the cot-caught merger, which also occurs in the Western U.S. Speakers do not distinguish /
ɔ
/ (as in
caught 
) and /
ɑ
/ (as in
cot 
), whichmerge as [
ɒ
], a low back rounded vowel. The merger causes speakers not only to produce these vowels identically, but also fail to hear the difference whenspeakers who preserve the distinction (e.g. speakers of Conservative General American and Inland Northern American English) pronounce these vowels. Thismerger has existed in Canada for several generations.
[23]
This merger creates a hole in the short vowel sub-system
[24]
and triggers a sound change known as the Canadian Shift, which involves the front lax vowels /æ,
ɛ
,
ɪ
/. The /æ/ of 
bat 
is lowered and retracted in the direction of [a] (except in some environments, see below). Indeed, /æ/ is backer in this variety than almost allother North American dialects;
[25]
the retraction of /æ/ was independently observed in Vancouver 
[26]
and is more advanced for Ontarians and women than for  people from the Prairies or Atlantic Canada and men.
[27]
Then, /
ɛ
/ and /
ɪ
/ may be lowered (in the direction of [æ] and [
ɛ
]) and/or retracted; studies actuallydisagree on the trajectory of the shift.
[28]
For example, Labov et al. (2006) noted a backward and downward movement of /
ɛ
/ in apparent time in all of Canadaexcept the Atlantic Provinces, but no movement of /
ɪ
/ was detected.Therefore, in Canadian English, the short-
and the short-
are shifted in opposite directions to that of the Northern Cities shift, found across the border in theInland Northern U.S., which is causing these two dialects to diverge: the Canadian short-
is very similar in quality to the Inland Northern short-
; for example,the production [ma
ː
 p] would be recognized as
map 
in Canada, but
mop 
in the Inland North.
Other features
Traditionally diphthongal vowels such as /o
ʊ
/ (as in
boat 
) and /e
ɪ
/ (as in
bait 
) have qualities much closer to monophthongs in some speakers especially in theInland region.Most Canadians have two principle allophones of /a
ɪ
/ (raised to lower-mid position before voiceless consonants and low-central or low-back elsewhere) andthree of /a
ʊ
/ (raised before voiceless consonants, fronted to [a
ʊ
] or [æ
ʊ
] before nasals, and low-central elsewhere).Unlike in many American English dialects, /æ/ remains a low-front vowel in most environments in Canadian English. Raising along the front periphery of thevowel space is restricted to two environments - before nasal and voiced velar consonants - and varies regionally even in these. Ontario and Maritime CanadianEnglish commonly show some raising before nasals, though not as extreme as in many American varieties. Much less raising is heard on the Prairies, and someethnic groups in Montreal show no pre-nasal raising at all. On the other hand, some Prairie speech exhibits raising of /æ/ before voiced velars (/
ɡ
/ and /ŋ/), withan up-glide rather than an in-glide, so that
bag 
sounds close to
vague 
.
[29]
3
Some older speakers still maintain a distinction between
whale 
and
wail 
, and
do 
and
dew 
.
[23]

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