Welcome to City-Data.com Forum!
U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Canada
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 02-22-2009, 12:38 AM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
1,048 posts, read 6,444,414 times
Reputation: 1160

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Maybe I didn't listen closely but I can't detect any Canadian in the speech of those people.
Have you ever considered that how they're talking is Canadian speech?

Have you ever considered that you're trying to detect an accent or a speech pattern that doesn't exist? It's like Atticman's story of the Americans didn't believe he was Canadian. You're just not recognizing it as a Canadian accent, that's all. But it is indeed a Canadian accent. North American accent would perhaps be a more accurate term, but it's certainly the accent spoken by most Canadians. The reality is that many Canadians and many Americans do share the same accent.

That's why so many Canadians in show biz are rarely recognized as Canadian, or why so many Canadians are automatically assumed to be Americans. It's because the majority of Canadians (not including francophones in Quebec, the rural/blue collar "eh"-sayers, or those in Newfoundland/the Maritimes) really don't sound any different than Americans. There really is no drastic Canadian accent.

I guess it's bit of a Canadian inside joke. Shows like South Park, the Simpsons, and old school Bob & Doug McKenzie (all satires) have created these massive myths that somehow Canadians have these wacky accents, but the reality is otherwise. The reality is that Canadians really don't sound much different than Ryan Seacrest or Katherine Heigl.

One key word to listen to is whether they say "sorry" or "sarry".

Sorry = Canadian. Sarry = American.

All you have to do, if you really want to hear how Canadians speak is to listen to Canadian radio stations online. Watch Canadian TV online, ideally shows where they're talking to locals like talk shows, reality shows, or the news. Watch an episode of a Canadian TV program like Degrassi High, Kids in the Hall, or So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Watch interviews with Canadian celebrities - Feist, Tom Green, Bryan Adams, Neve Campbell, kd lang, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Elisha Cuthbert, Sarah Chalke, Ellen Page, Shenae Grimes, Shania Twain, Michael Cera, Michael J Fox, Daniel Lanois, Sandra Oh, etc. For the movie stars/TV stars who might use Americanisms while on film/TV (ie: sarry, ya'll, etc.), you'll hear any Canadianisms come out when they're having an interview. But even then, they're not changing their accents. It's still the same accent, give or take one word (ie: sarry vs. sorry, Flaaarrrida vs. Florida). You'll soon realize that the myth of Canadian accents are just that - myths.

Last edited by Robynator; 02-22-2009 at 01:17 AM.. Reason: added more info
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-22-2009, 01:02 AM
 
Location: Cosmic Consciousness
3,871 posts, read 17,101,509 times
Reputation: 2702
Yes yes yes everything you say is true ----------- but -------

My father was Canadian (Ontario) with a vast Canadian family scattered through Ontario and Quebec. I spent some time every year in my childhood and teen years in Canada among those folks. I've also spent a fair bit of time in the last 25 years in Saskatchewan (a bit), Alberta (a bit) and B.C. (a lot).

Also, I'm a musician....

I say all that in order to say this: All my life I have found the sound of Canadian English musical, and lyrical, and cadenced -- all of which I've never heard in American English. There's a gentle "roll" to Canadian phrasing, and a slight "lilt" to Canadian pitch, that are entirely lacking in American speech. And overall, there's a gentleness, a softness to the hard consonants which is not true of American English.

That's what this musician hears. I think of all of that as "the Canadian sound", and to hear it makes my heart very, very happy because I think it sounds beautiful
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-22-2009, 01:34 AM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
1,048 posts, read 6,444,414 times
Reputation: 1160
Very, very interesting... and as a fellow musically-inclined individual, I certainly get what you're saying. There are definitely subtleties which you have so beautifully described, but that most people never detect. So kudos to you!

At work I speak to dozens of Americans on the phone daily - none have ever asked if I was Canadian. I can only imagine that they a) don't care to ask, or b) think I'm American. Most that ask where I'm located are surprised to find out they're speaking to somebody in Canada. I know the basic differences of American speech patterns and regional accents, but I've never given much thought to those subtle differences between the generic Canadian vs. the generic American - and what you've described above hits the mark.

I will acknowledge that my posts have been massive generalizations, perhaps I should have issued a disclaimer. I recognize that people have their own speech patterns, often a result of demographics, location, class, etc - it can vary dramatically within both country's borders, and heck, within the same city! But that' so interesting about the softer lilt... and I know what you're talking about. It's often only detected after spending a lot of quality time in both countries.

My previous post was more about the very basics. I, of course, have been assuming (always a bad thing to do) that somehow Trimac20 was equating "the Canadian accent" to be some mythical universal Canadian accent of sentences peppered in "eh's" and fictional Scottish "aboot's" when the reality is that most Americans couldn't pick out a Canadian accent unless the Canadian started to mimic Bob & Doug McKenzie. That's where I was coming from.

Hmmmm... I think we've got a linguistics paper in the works here!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-22-2009, 06:52 AM
 
1,669 posts, read 4,240,867 times
Reputation: 978
IMO Americans could watch a show full of Canadian actors and have no clue that they weren't American, but as soon as they discover that the actors are Canadian, all of a sudden they think they hear Canadian "accents". Take the show Flashpoint for example, millions of Americans watch that show on CBS and have no idea it's Canadian - you can bet that as far as they're concerned all of the actors are red-blooded Americans and speak with American accents. Nevermind that Flashpoint is actually set in Toronto - yet many American viewers haven't noticed that small detail and probably think it's supposed to be NYC.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-22-2009, 06:56 AM
 
410 posts, read 515,088 times
Reputation: 248
The majority in Canada speak without an accent. I speak hindi but I don't have an accent when I speak in english.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-22-2009, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Both coasts
1,574 posts, read 5,116,314 times
Reputation: 1520
there is a difference between "General US" accent and "General Canadian" accent though subtle. Besides the more likely chance of a "lilt" in a Canadian accent which is very rare in any US accent, the differences are in vowel pronunciations- such as a, o, u... there really is a difference in words such as "about" "house" etc pronounced by most (not all) Canadians compared to most (not all) Americans. To the American ear, when a given Canadian says "about" it sounds like "a-boat" though not at all like "aboot" as done to death in stereotypes. Also words with "a" in the middle or beginning such as "bag" and "at" sound different, the "a" vowel is pronounced further in the US accents so it doesn't sound as clipped as Canadians would pronounce it. Previous poster noted the "sorry"/ "s-arry" contrast which is quite noticeable. Again, these are very subtle differences.

Intonation is extremely similar but as a previous poster noted, "lilt" as in a slight raising of tone at the end of speech, is quite common in Canadian English yet I never heard it all my time living in the US except when a person is asking a question or is starting a confrontation.

As for a "Vancouver" accent, it is just a less strong version of a General Canadian accent- just less likely "eh"s thrown in...but there are people who say about/ house/ at/ back, etc, differently than say those in Seattle. I agree with Canadian accents it is kind of like Vancouver/ Toronto have a less strong accent and all the other places have the stereotypical accent that people always think of when they hear a Canadian accent. But obviously the regional differences are not as defined and distinct as in the US or Britain for that matter.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2009, 07:37 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,544 posts, read 56,047,835 times
Reputation: 11862
Hey Robynator, I too am a musician (budding) and take much notice of accents. I don't expect the Canadian accent to jump out at me, and I do know how it sounds like. I am actually a fan of the original Degrassi, I did notice the way they said 'sorry': more like 'sore-y' to my ears, which is like a California accent imo. And 'a-boat' was also obvious. Apart from that you're right, they didn't sound that Canadian. It sounded alot more noticeable among the older speakers, actually, many of the kids I wouldn't have picked until they said certain words.

It's not just the way they pronounce but the tone. What exactly is this 'lilting' you speak of? I did notice the melodic variations were indeed different for Canadians; a bit more British perhaps? The way they said 'o' like : no, go was also more pronounced. Also words like 'thankyou' and 'hand' sounded very different to the Inland North of Chicago. Indeed, I think Canadian sounds more like LA than Chicago or even Seattle, strangely. Minnesota, N.D., Montana and Maine sound most Canadian to my ears. But yes, I can sometimes not even tell Canadian...it's subtle but perceptible.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2009, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Both coasts
1,574 posts, read 5,116,314 times
Reputation: 1520
no the General American accent spoken in California, though flat, is different from Canadian. I'd say Pamela Anderson has now taken up a Californian accent and has lost her Canadian accent! Though it is very similar.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2009, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
9,019 posts, read 14,287,618 times
Reputation: 11032
Canadian accent is fairly neutral, and because of the lilt at the end, sounds more upbeat.

Look at the popular news-readers in the US, and you'll find plenty of Canadians.

John Roberts - formerly JD Roberts of Muchmusic
Ashligh Banfield - Local Calgary newsreader
Peter Jennings
Morley Safer
Mark Phillips
Robert MacNeil

This is of course totally aside from the Canadian domination of the US comedy industry.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2009, 07:06 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,544 posts, read 56,047,835 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
Canadian accent is fairly neutral, and because of the lilt at the end, sounds more upbeat.

Look at the popular news-readers in the US, and you'll find plenty of Canadians.

John Roberts - formerly JD Roberts of Muchmusic
Ashligh Banfield - Local Calgary newsreader
Peter Jennings
Morley Safer
Mark Phillips
Robert MacNeil

This is of course totally aside from the Canadian domination of the US comedy industry.
Do Canadians as a people have a better sense of humour than Americans iyo?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Canada

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2024, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top