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Old 07-16-2013, 11:05 AM
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
10,016 posts, read 12,578,968 times
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I watched the original Degrassi, and noticed the parents and adults in general often had a distinctly Canadian accent. I'd describe it as sort of Minnesota meets Native American meets British accent. Some of their intonations, for instant, were quite foreign to the US and sounded a lot like British accents (which I've very familiar with).

The children, however, sounded American except for a few words like 'about' and 'sorry', and I'm not even sure I'd say their accent was different enough to be called different from General American. Their intonation (the tone) seemed different though.

Would you say, in urban areas like Toronto and Vancouver that the accent is often indistinguishable from newscaster's American (think a place like Des Moines, Iowa or Seattle) aside from a few words? Of the many young Canadian celebrities, like Michael Buble, Michael Cera, Josh Rogan, Ellen Paige, Tegan and Sara, Feist, Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber.etc few seem to have decidedly Canadian accents. Is it stronger in rural areas? The strongest Canadian accent among young people I heard was a girl from Nova Scotia and even hers wasn't that strong. Middle aged people tended to sound different, a bit more 'dorky' sounding (no offence) lol.

Maybe I notice it less as an Australian, but I've also met many Canadians here and they just sounded American to me. I can also tell a strong Canadian accent quite easily so it's not like I don't know what that sounds like. I've met a few people from Toronto, one girl sounded a bit Minnesota/Fargo, while the others could've come from LA!

Has this been your observation too? Do you fear Canadianisms like 'eh' and 'aboot' are on the way out?

Also the way they say 'CAnada' is more 'open' compared to Americans. The same vowel in words like 'bad.'
I think you have it backwards. Americans are sounding more and more like Canadians as time goes by. The most standard Canadian accent is the one we have here in the greater Toronto area otherwise known as the GTA. No Matter where you go in the USA most of the accents you hear coming from the TV sound just like the GTA accent. sure there are small differences but they are small compared to the very strong regional American accents. I have been to all 48 states south of the border here and let me tell you there are some American accents that are just as strong as the downeastern Canadian accents. Personally I like accents and I find it fun and interesting listening to them. My parents had a house in Florida and the neighbours came from all over the USA. I was amazed at how strong an accent there was from areas we don't normally think would have them. Some of the neighbours came from the south of Illinois and man did they have a strong one. It was similar but not quite the same as the neighbours from Missouri who had an even stronger accent. There is a huge variety of southern accents. A Texan does not sound anything like someone from Tennessee for example. But listen to Al Gore and what do you have? Pretty much that GTA way of speaking. I've heard it said that the GTA type English can be called "Accentless" English. Of course it isn't in a world view but maybe it is in an North American context. Most people we hear public speaking sound like it. Actors, Journalists and many politicians. For some reason or another it must be seen as a "Better" accent to have EH!
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:14 AM
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It is true that the colonists of New France spoke many different dialects of French or even different languages, such as Breton or Provençal. Once in New France they had to adopt French as their new public language. Also the schools in New France allowed the new generation a chance to have standard French as a mother tongue long before this happened in France. The variety spoken and taught was the king's French, so aristocratic pronunciations such as moé and toé for modern moi et toi were taught. The French Revolution did away with the upper class pronunciations and replaced them with those of the lower classes. Since Canada was no longer under French jurisdiction, Canadians kept pronouncing words the old, pre-revolutionary way. These pronunciations can still be heard in casual French, but are generally eschewed in more formal contexts.

Some dialectal pronunciations also subsist. For example, seau (pail or bucket) pronounced as sieau or the verb s'asseoir being replaced by s'assir (assis-toi) or the verb garrocher being used instead of lancer.

The English language had a profound impact on all of French speaking Canada, not just the varieties spoken outside Quebec. The Quebec government set up an agency OLF (now OLFQ) to try to mitigate the influence of English and create new French words for the slew of English neologisms that enter the language. For example, the golfing term 'birdie' was replaced by 'oiselet'. In some cases society accepts these new words, but in other cases, the English words are too entrenched to be ousted (t-shirt and slush).

The importance of the waterways as a means of transportation can still be seen in Canadian French, where people regularly use the verbs embarquer and débarquer instead of monter and descendre when getting in or out of their vehicles. In Acadia, people use the verb amarrer (to moor) when tying anything including their shoe laces.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:19 AM
Location: Ontario, Canada
2,674 posts, read 3,095,203 times
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Some different accents in Canadian English:


Frank Cavallaro - weather specialist - YouTube


Derek Edwards JFL - Live In Quebec - YouTube

Nova Scotia:

Ron James: Road Between My Ears (Tim Hortons Coffee) - YouTube


Canada's Youngest Mayor - YouTube
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:39 PM
Location: western USA
675 posts, read 645,049 times
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As a kid, I had an odd fascination with Canada, and the similar accents but different syntax or grammar were a part of it. I used to subscribe to MacLeans as a teen. I needed to be careful to renew by the expiry date though. But thank gosh we needn't have worried about the expiration date.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:43 AM
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I think the generic Canadian accent has a bit of a resemblance to Geordie (just a little bit) and the Newfoundland accent to Irish and Bristolian.

Saying "aboot" and "alreet" and "leik" (like) is typical of England's far north and you hear some people in Canada pronounce the words those ways.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:56 AM
Location: Canada
4,865 posts, read 10,526,770 times
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Originally Posted by Pelland View Post
Canadian French is proper French. It just has a New World accent. It has some archaic pronunciations that have disappeared in France. However, the the spelling is pretty much identical to European French. The differences are more in vocabulary and expressions. In France, there is no stigma to using English loan words. Therefore, they freely use words such as 'le week-end, stopper, le drugstore, le ferry and le shopping'. In Canada, such English words are viewed as unwanted incursions into the French language, therefore we use words such as 'la fin de semaine, arrêter, la pharmacie, le traversier ' and 'magasinage'. Furthermore, European French is Eurocentric. In Canada, we adopted a number of Native words to describe the flora and fauna. What the French call 'élan d'Amérique',(moose) we call 'orignal'. What they call 'fausse myrtille', we call 'bleuet' (blueberry).

It should be noted that Canadian French is distinct from Acadian French spoken in Atlantic Canada.
Bleuet actually isn't from a native language, it's the Norman word for blueberry, in fact alot of Quebec words are actually from Norman or other languages from Northern France that the settlers spoke. When the immigrated and all started speaking French to each other French was actually only spoken in the area around Paris, about half the people were from elsewhere in France and spoke other Romance languages that heavily influences some of the more intense country dialects. Joual has alot of Norman influence in particular.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:03 AM
Location: Victoria TX
42,554 posts, read 86,977,099 times
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Why do Canadians have American English accent but British spelling?

Because it's too late to change them now.

It's a Canadian accent, and Canadian spelling.

Canadians spell it "curb" and "tire". That's not British, it's American.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:15 AM
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I teach English.

We (teachers) are required to teach with traditional spelling. The difference is that Americans have changed their spelling, and we have not.

As for accent, that is a natural progression when you consider proximity to the US and the impact of American TV/movies here.

It's pretty basic and nothing fancy about it, although you will find (unlike the US) that Canadian accents do not vary much, even with vast geographical differences (there are some small exceptions as we all know, the Newfoundlanders).

Millward's "Biography of the English Language" is an extensive linguistic read that details this evolution (this includes all English-speaking countries).
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:18 PM
2,096 posts, read 4,776,513 times
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Originally Posted by aliss2 View Post
I teach English.

We (teachers) are required to teach with traditional spelling. The difference is that Americans have changed their spelling, and we have not.

As for accent, that is a natural progression when you consider proximity to the US and the impact of American TV/movies here.
I don't think people really have changes to their accents from the movies/TV they watch. Maybe some of their word choices but I highly doubt it affects the phonetics people use and such.

Spell check is a HUGE threat to non-American spelling conventions however.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:19 PM
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
10,060 posts, read 12,810,783 times
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I wonder if some Canadian actors try to "sound American" when they are performing.
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