Yes, we DO have our own brand of English here in the Great White North. It’s an interesting blend of American English combined with rules that reflect our British roots, with a dash of French, First Nations and immigrant languages for added spice . Here are our TOP TEN things that separate Canadian English from the rest of the pack.
1. METRIC, of course! Even though we are supposed to have abandoned the old imperial system, we still see height and weight in pounds and feel temperatures better in Fahrenheit. Celsius IS a bit easier to spell and, speaking of spelling, we follow the British spelling for words like kilometre and litre (not meter and liter).
2. ZED not ZEE! We ALMOST always refer to the last letter of the alphabet as ZED, unless we’re singing that song and we slip up!
3. TOQUES! We wear them, and we know how to pronounce and spell the word correctly! There are some spellings variations, but this one is the most traditional. It is NOT a TOOK!
4. U GOT IT! Here’s the most obvious difference: we put the U in honour, humour, valour, colour, and neighbour.
5. STUDYING? In Canada, we go to college or to university, but in America (and we’re not sure why), the word university isn’t commonly used: post-secondary school is just college. Americans, however, use colourful words like FRESHMAN, JUNIOR and SENIOR that we almost never use.
6. S or Z? Here’s one time where we tend toward the American side, using the letter Z in words like RECOGNIZE and ADVERTIZE while the letters S tends to be used in British spelling.
7. DOUBLE L! That silly spell checker never seems to do the same thing twice with these! Canadians do tend to add the extra L in worlds like LEVELLED, TRAVELLED AND JEWELLRY.
8. SLIP SLIDING AWAY! Okay, in some parts of the country we use the word SLEDDING to mean zooming about on a snow machine. However, we are very unique in having made tobogganing a verb! This French and Mik’maq word is so much more colourful than a drab old sled, isn’t it?
9. CHESTERFIELD: You saw this coming, right? Unlike our American neighbours, we sit on Chesterfields, where they sit on smaller words like couches and sofas. We prefer that little tie back to the British aristocracy!
10. EH! Well, that makes the list complete. How could our spoken language ever survive without that little interjection!?!