Canadian English
Overview
 
Canadian English is the variety
Variety (linguistics)
In sociolinguistics a variety, also called a lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include languages, dialects, accents, registers, styles or other sociolinguistic variation, as well as the standard variety itself...

 of English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 spoken in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. English is the first language
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

, or "mother tongue", of approximately 24 million Canadians (77%), and more than 28 million (86%) are fluent in the language. 82% of Canadians outside Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 speak English natively, but within Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 the figure drops to just 7.7% as most are native speakers of Canadian French
Canadian French
Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

.

Canadian English contains elements of British English
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

 and American English
American English
American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers of English live in the United States....

 in its vocabulary, as well as many distinctive "Canadianisms".
Encyclopedia
Canadian English is the variety
Variety (linguistics)
In sociolinguistics a variety, also called a lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include languages, dialects, accents, registers, styles or other sociolinguistic variation, as well as the standard variety itself...

 of English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 spoken in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. English is the first language
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

, or "mother tongue", of approximately 24 million Canadians (77%), and more than 28 million (86%) are fluent in the language. 82% of Canadians outside Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 speak English natively, but within Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 the figure drops to just 7.7% as most are native speakers of Canadian French
Canadian French
Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

.

Canadian English contains elements of British English
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

 and American English
American English
American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers of English live in the United States....

 in its vocabulary, as well as many distinctive "Canadianisms". In many areas, speech is influenced by French
Canadian French
Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

, and there are notable local variations. Canada has very little dialect diversity compared to the United States. The phonetics
Phonetics
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

, phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

, morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

, syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

 and lexicon
Lexicon
In linguistics, the lexicon of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions. A lexicon is also a synonym of the word thesaurus. More formally, it is a language's inventory of lexemes. Coined in English 1603, the word "lexicon" derives from the Greek "λεξικόν" , neut...

 for most of Canada are similar to that of the Western
Western American English
The west was the last area in the United States to be reached during the gradual westward expansion of English-speaking settlement and its history shows considerable mixing of the linguistic patterns of other regions...

 and Midland
Midland American English
The Midland dialect of American English was first defined by Hans Kurath as being the dialect spoken in an area centered on Philadelphia and expanding westward to include most of Pennsylvania and part of the Appalachian Mountains...

 regions of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The Canadian Great Lakes region
Great Lakes region (North America)
The Great Lakes region of North America, occasionally known as the Third Coast or the Fresh Coast , includes the eight U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as the Canadian province of Ontario...

 has similarities to that of the Upper Midwest & Great Lakes
Upper Midwest
The Upper Midwest is a region in the northern portion of the U.S. Census Bureau's Midwestern United States. It is largely a sub-region of the midwest. Although there are no uniformly agreed-upon boundaries, the region is most commonly used to refer to the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and...

 region and/or Yooper dialect
Yooper dialect
Yooper is a form of North Central American English mostly spoken in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which gives the dialect its name...

 (in particular Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 which has extensive cultural and economic ties with Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

), while the phonological system of western Canadian English is virtually identical to that of the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest English
Pacific Northwest English is a dialect of the English language spoken in the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest is defined as an area that includes the American states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Montana, southeastern Alaska, northern California, the Canadian provinces of British...

 of the United States, and the phonetics are similar. As such, Canadian English and American English
American English
American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers of English live in the United States....

 are sometimes classified together as North American English
North American English
North American English is the variety of the English language of North America, including that of the United States and Canada. Because of their shared histories and the similarities between the pronunciation, vocabulary and accent of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken languages...

. Canadian English spelling is largely a blend of British and American conventions.

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, a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

-born Canadian, reflected the Anglocentric attitude that would be prevalent in Canada for the next hundred years when he referred to the language as "a corrupt dialect", in comparison to what he considered the proper English spoken by immigrants from Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

.

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 Loyalists
Loyalist (American Revolution)
Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. At the time they were often called Tories, Royalists, or King's Men. They were opposed by the Patriots, those who supported the revolution...

 fleeing the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, chiefly from the Mid-Atlantic States
Mid-Atlantic States
The Mid-Atlantic states, also called middle Atlantic states or simply the mid Atlantic, form a region of the United States generally located between New England and the South...

 – as such, Canadian English is believed by some scholars to have derived from northern American English
Northern American English
Northern American English may refer to:* Northern American English, a variety of American English used in the northern United States, comprising:** North Central American English** Inland Northern American English** General American...

. The historical development of Canadian English is underexplored, but recent studies suggest that Canadian English has been developing features of its own since the early 19th century, while recent studies have shown the emergence of Canadian English features. The second wave from Britain and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 was encouraged to settle in Canada after the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 by the governors of Canada, who were worried about anti-English sentiment among its citizens. Waves of immigration from around the globe peaking in 1910 and 1960 had a lesser influence, but they did make Canada a multicultural
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

 country, ready to accept linguistic change from around the world during the current period of globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

.

The languages of Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

 started to influence European languages used in Canada even before widespread settlement took place, and the French
Quebec French
Quebec French , or Québécois French, is the predominant variety of the French language in Canada, in its formal and informal registers. Quebec French is used in everyday communication, as well as in education, the media, and government....

 of Lower Canada
Lower Canada
The Province of Lower Canada was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence...

 provided vocabulary to the English of Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

.

Spelling and dictionaries

Canadian spelling of the English language combines British and American conventions.
  • French-derived words that in American English end with -or and -er, such as color or center, retain British spellings (colour, honour and centre). While the United States uses the Anglo-French spelling defense (noun), Canadians use the British spellings defence and offence. (Note that defensive and offensive are universal.)
  • In other cases, Canadians and Americans differ from British spelling, such as in the case of nouns like curb and tire, which in British English are spelled kerb and tyre.
  • Words such as realize and paralyze are usually spelled with -ize or -yze rather than -ise or -yse. (The etymological convention that verbs derived from Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

     roots are spelled with -ize and those from Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

     with -ise is preserved in that practice.)
  • Some nouns take -ice while matching verbs take -ise – for example, practice is a noun and practise is a verb; in addition, licence is a noun and license is a verb. (Note that prophecy and prophesy are universal.)
  • Canadian spelling sometimes retains the British practice of doubling consonant when adding suffixes to words even when the final syllable (before the suffix) is not stressed. Compare Canadian (and British) travelled, counselling, and controllable (always doubled in British, more often than not in Canadian) to American traveled, counseling, and controllable (only doubled when stressed). (Both Canadian and British English use balloted and profiting.)


Canadian spelling conventions can be partly explained by Canada's trade history. For instance, the British spelling of the word cheque probably relates to Canada's once-important ties to British financial institutions. Canada's automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 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 (for example, truck instead of lorry, gasoline instead of petrol, trunk instead of boot).

Canada's political history has also had an influence on Canadian spelling. Canada's first prime minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

, John A. Macdonald
John A. Macdonald
Sir John Alexander Macdonald, GCB, KCMG, PC, PC , QC was the first Prime Minister of Canada. The dominant figure of Canadian Confederation, his political career spanned almost half a century...

, once issued an order-in-council directing that government papers be written in the British style.

A contemporary reference for formal Canadian spelling is the spelling used for Hansard
Hansard
Hansard is the name of the printed transcripts of parliamentary debates in the Westminster system of government. It is named after Thomas Curson Hansard, an early printer and publisher of these transcripts.-Origins:...

 transcripts of the Parliament of Canada
Parliament of Canada
The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

 (see The Canadian Style in Further reading below). Many Canadian editors, though, use the Canadian Oxford Dictionary
Canadian Oxford Dictionary
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary is a dictionary of Canadian English. First published by Oxford University Press Canada in 1998, it quickly became the standard dictionary reference for Canadian English. Until September 2008, Oxford maintained a permanent staff of lexicographers in Canada, led by...

, 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
Gage Educational Publishing Company
Gage Educational Publishing Company is a division of Oxford University Press Canada that publishes a variety of educational reference books in Canada. It also publishes books by various authors if the book being published is solely a reference book....

 Ltd. The Beginner's Dictionary (1962), the Intermediate Dictionary (1964) and, finally, the Senior Dictionary (1967) were milestones in Canadian English lexicography. Many secondary schools in Canada use these dictionaries. The dictionaries have regularly been updated since: the Senior Dictionary was renamed Gage Canadian Dictionary and exists in what may be called its 5th edition from 1997. Gage was acquired by Thomson Nelson around 2003. The latest editions were published in 2009 by HarperCollins
HarperCollins
HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by News Corporation. It is the combination of the publishers William Collins, Sons and Co Ltd, a British company, and Harper & Row, an American company, itself the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers and Row, Peterson & Company. The worldwide...

.

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 Canadian words and words borrowed from other languages, and surveyed spellings, such as whether colour or color was the more 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 it). The DCHP can be considered the "Canadian OED", as it documents the historical development of Canadian English words that can be classified as "Canadianisms". It therefore includes words such as mukluk, Canuck, bluff and grow op, but does not list common 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, a second edition has been commenced at UBC in Vancouver in 2006.

Throughout most of the 20th century, Canadian newspapers generally adopted American spellings for example, color as opposed to the British-based colour. The use of such spellings was the long-standing practice of the Canadian Press perhaps since that news agency's inception, but visibly the norm prior to World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The practice of dropping the letter u in such words was also considered a labour-saving technique during the early days of printing in which movable type
Movable type
Movable type is the system of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document ....

 was set manually. 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.

More recently, Canadian newspapers have adopted the British spelling variants such as -our endings, notably with The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail is a nationally distributed Canadian newspaper, based in Toronto and printed in six cities across the country. With a weekly readership of approximately 1 million, it is Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper and second-largest daily newspaper after the Toronto Star...

 changing its spelling policy in October 1990. Other Canadian newspapers adopted similar changes later that decade, such as the Southam
Canwest News Service
Postmedia News is a national news agency with correspondents in Canada, Europe, and the United States and is part of the Canadian newspaper chain owned by Postmedia Network Inc.-History:...

 newspaper chain's conversion in September 1998. The Toronto Star
Toronto Star
The Toronto Star is Canada's highest-circulation newspaper, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Its print edition is distributed almost entirely within the province of Ontario...

 adopted this new spelling policy in September 1997 after that publication's ombudsman discounted the issue earlier in 1997. The Star had always avoiding using recognized Canadian spelling, citing the Gage Canadian Dictionary in their defence. Controversy around this issue was frequent. When the Gage Dictionary finally adopted standard Canadian spelling, the Star followed suit.

Phonemic incidence

The pronunciation of certain words has both American and British influence; some pronunciations are more distinctively Canadian.
  • The name of the letter Z
    Z
    Z is the twenty-sixth and final letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.-Name and pronunciation:In most dialects of English, the letter's name is zed , reflecting its derivation from the Greek zeta but in American English, its name is zee , deriving from a late 17th century English dialectal...

     is normally the Anglo-European (and French) zed; the American zee is less common in Canada, and it is often stigmatized, though the latter is common in younger speakers.
  • 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 shone /ʃɒn/, often lever /ˈlivər/, and several other words; been is pronounced by many speakers as /bin/ rather than /bɪn/; as in Southern England, either and neither are more commonly /ˈaɪðər/ and /ˈnaɪðər/, respectively.
  • Schedule can sometimes be /ˈʃɛdʒul/; process, progress, and project are sometimes pronounced /ˈproʊsɛs/, /ˈproʊɡrɛs/, and /ˈproʊdʒɛkt/; leisure is often /ˈlɛʒər/, harassment is sometimes /ˈhɛrəsmənt/.
  • Again and against are often pronounced /əˈɡeɪn(st)/ rather than /əˈɡɛn(st)/.
  • The stressed vowel of words such as borrow, sorry or tomorrow is /ɔɹ/ rather than /ɑɹ/.
  • Words such as fragile, fertile, and mobile are pronounced /ˈfrædʒaɪl/, /ˈfɚtaɪl/, and /ˈmoʊbaɪl/. The pronunciation of fertile as /fɚtl̩/ is also becoming somewhat common in Canada, even though /ˈfɚtaɪl/ remains dominant.
  • Words like semi, anti, and multi tend to be pronounced /ˈsɛmi/, /ˈænti/, and /ˈmʌlti/ rather than /ˈsɛmaɪ/, /ˈæntaɪ/, and /ˈmʌltaɪ/.
  • Loanwords that have a low central vowel in their language of origin, such as llama, pasta, and pyjamas, as well as place names like Gaza, 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 or Apache. The word khaki is sometimes pronounced /ˈkɑrki/, the preferred pronunciation of the Canadian Army during the Second World War.
  • Pecan is usually /ˈpikæn/ or /piˈkæn/, as opposed to /pɨˈkɑn/, more common in the US.
  • The most common pronunciation of vase is /ˈveɪz/.
  • Words of French origin, such as clique and niche are pronounced more like they would be in French, so /klik/ rather than /klɪk/, /niʃ/ rather than /nɪtʃ/.
  • The word syrup is commonly pronounced /ˈsɪrəp/.
  • The word premier "leader of a provincial or territorial government" is commonly pronounced /ˈprimjər/, with /ˈprɛmjɛr/ and /ˈprimjɛr/ being rare variants.
  • Many Canadians pronounce asphalt as "ash-falt" /ˈæʃfɒlt/. This pronunciation is also common in Australian English, but not in General American English or British English.
  • Some Canadians pronounce predecessor as /ˈpriːdəsɛsər/, and mom /mʌm/.

Regional variation

Canada has very little dialect diversity compared to the United States. 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. A very homogeneous dialect exists in Western and Central Canada, a situation that is similar to that of the Western United States. William Labov
William Labov
William Labov born December 4, 1927) is an American linguist, widely regarded as the founder of the discipline of variationist sociolinguistics. He has been described as "an enormously original and influential figure who has created much of the methodology" of sociolinguistics...

 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. This dialect forms 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 the relatively recent phenomenon known as the Northern cities vowel shift
Northern cities vowel shift
The Northern cities vowel shift is a chain shift in the sounds of some vowels in the dialect region of American English known as the Inland North.-Geography:...

; see below.

Western and Central Dialect

As a variety of North American English, this variety is similar to most other forms of North American speech in being a rhotic accent
Rhotic and non-rhotic accents
English pronunciation can be divided into two main accent groups: a rhotic speaker pronounces a rhotic consonant in words like hard; a non-rhotic speaker does not...

, which is historically a significant marker in differentiating different 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), as well as the father–bother merger.

Canadian raising

Perhaps the most recognizable feature of Canadian English is Canadian raising
Canadian raising
Canadian raising is a phonetic phenomenon that occurs in varieties of the English language, especially Canadian English, in which certain diphthongs are "raised" before voiceless consonants...

. The diphthongs /aɪ/ and /aʊ/ are "raised" before voiceless consonants, namely /p/, /t/, /k/, /s/, and /f/. In these environments, /aɪ/ becomes [ʌɪ~ɜɪ~ɐɪ]. One of the few phonetic variables that divides Canadians regionally is the articulation of the raised allophone of /aʊ/: in Ontario, it tends to have a mid-central or even mid-front articulation, sometimes approaching [ɛʊ], while in the West and Maritimes a more retracted sound is heard, closer to [ʌʊ]. Among some speakers in the Prairies and in Nova Scotia, the retraction is strong enough to cause some tokens of raised /aʊ/ to merge with /oʊ/, so that couch and coach sound the same, and about sounds like a boat (though never like a boot, as in the American stereotype of Canadian raising). Canadian raising is found throughout western and central Canada, as well as in parts of the Atlantic Provinces. It is the strongest in the inland region, and is receding in younger speakers in Lower Mainland British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, 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
Upper Midwest
The Upper Midwest is a region in the northern portion of the U.S. Census Bureau's Midwestern United States. It is largely a sub-region of the midwest. Although there are no uniformly agreed-upon boundaries, the region is most commonly used to refer to the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and...

 and parts of New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

, although it is much less common than in Canada; raising of /aɪ/ alone, however, is increasing in the U.S., and unlike raising of /aʊ/, 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 North American dialects turn intervocalic /t/ into an alveolar flap. Thus writer and rider are distinguished solely by their vowels, even though the distinction between their consonants has since been lost. Speakers who do not have raising cannot distinguish between these two words.

The cot–caught 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), which merge as [ɒ] or [ɑ]. Speakers with this merger produce these vowels identically, and often fail to hear the difference when speakers who preserve the distinction (for example, speakers of General American
General American
General American , also known as Standard American English , is a major accent of American English. The accent is not restricted to the United States...

 and Inland Northern American English
Inland Northern American English
The Inland North dialect of American English is spoken in a region that includes most of the cities along the Erie Canal and on the U.S. side of Great Lakes region, reaching approximately from Utica, New York to Green Bay, Wisconsin, as well as a corridor extending down across central Illinois from...

) pronounce these vowels. This merger has existed in Canada for several generations.

This merger creates a hole in the short vowel sub-system and triggers a sound change known as the Canadian Shift
Canadian Shift
The Canadian Shift is a linguistic vowel shift found in Canadian English. It was first described by Clarke, Elms and Youssef in 1995, based on impressionistic analysis....

, 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 further back in this variety than almost all other North American dialects; the retraction of /æ/ was independently observed in Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 and is more advanced for Ontarians and women than for people from the Prairies
Canadian Prairies
The Canadian Prairies is a region of Canada, specifically in western Canada, which may correspond to several different definitions, natural or political. Notably, the Prairie provinces or simply the Prairies comprise the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as they are largely covered...

 or Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada is the region of Canada comprising the four provinces located on the Atlantic coast, excluding Quebec: the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia – and Newfoundland and Labrador...

 and men. Then, /ɛ/ and /ɪ/ may be lowered (in the direction of [æ] and [ɛ]) and/or retracted; studies actually disagree on the trajectory of the shift. For example, Labov and others. (2006) noted a backward and downward movement of /ɛ/ in apparent time
Apparent-time hypothesis
In sociolinguistics, the apparent-time hypothesis states that age-stratified variation in a linguistic form is often indicative of a change in progress. That is, if in a survey of a population, patterned differences between the speech of individuals 75 years old, 50 years old, and 25 years old may...

 in all of Canada except the Atlantic Provinces, but no movement of /ɪ/ was detected.

Therefore, in Canadian English, the short-a and the short-o are shifted in opposite directions to that of the Northern Cities shift
Northern cities vowel shift
The Northern cities vowel shift is a chain shift in the sounds of some vowels in the dialect region of American English known as the Inland North.-Geography:...

, found across the border in the Inland Northern U.S.
Inland Northern American English
The Inland North dialect of American English is spoken in a region that includes most of the cities along the Erie Canal and on the U.S. side of Great Lakes region, reaching approximately from Utica, New York to Green Bay, Wisconsin, as well as a corridor extending down across central Illinois from...

, which is causing these two dialects to diverge: the Canadian short-a is very similar in quality to the Inland Northern short-o; for example, the production [maːp] would be recognized as map in Canada, but mop in the Inland North.

Other features

Most Canadians have two principal allophones of /aɪ/ (raised to lower-mid position before voiceless consonants and low-central or low-back elsewhere) and three of /aʊ/ (raised before voiceless consonants, fronted to [aʊ] or [æʊ] 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 the vowel space is restricted to two environments – before nasal and voiced velar consonants – and varies regionally even in these. Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 and Maritime Canadian English commonly show some raising before nasals, though not as extreme as in many American varieties. Much less raising is heard on the Prairies, and some ethnic groups in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 show no pre-nasal raising at all. On the other hand, some Prairie speech exhibits raising of /æ/ before voiced velars (/ɡ/ and /ŋ/), with an up-glide rather than an in-glide, so that bag sounds close to vague.

The first element of /ɑr/ (as in start) tends to be raised. As with Canadian raising, the relative advancement of the raised nucleus is a regional indicator. A striking feature of Atlantic Canadian speech (the Maritimes and Newfoundland) is a nucleus that approaches the front region of the vowel space, accompanied by strong rhoticity, ranging from [ɜɹ] to [ɐɹ]. Western Canadian speech has a much more retracted articulation with a longer non-rhotic portion, approaching a mid-back quality, [ɵɹ] (though there is no tendency toward a merger with /ɔr/). Articulation of /ɑr/ in Ontario is in a position midway between the Atlantic and Western values.

Another change in progress in Canadian English, part of a continental trend affecting many North American varieties, is the fronting of /uː/, whereby the nucleus of /uː/ moves forward to high-central or even high-front position, directly behind /iː/. There is a wide range of allophonic dispersion in the set of words containing /uː/ (i.e., the GOOSE set), extending over most of the high region of the vowel space. Most advanced are tokens of /uː/ in free position after coronals (do, too); behind these are tokens in syllables closed with coronals (boots, food, soon), then tokens before non-coronals (goof, soup); remaining in back position are tokens of /uː/ before /l/ (cool, pool, tool). Unlike in some British speech, Canadian English does not show any fronting or unrounding of the glide of /uː/, and most Canadians show no parallel centralization of /oʊ/, which generally remains in back position, except in Cape Breton
Cape Breton
-Geographic locations:*Cape Breton Island, a Canadian island on the Atlantic Ocean coast*Cape Breton, a cape located at the eastern tip of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island*Cape Breton Highlands, a mountain range in northern Cape Breton Island...

 and Newfoundland.

Traditionally diphthongal vowels such as /oʊ/ (as in boat) and /eɪ/ (as in bait) have qualities much closer to monophthongs in some speakers especially in the Inland region.

Some older speakers still maintain a distinction between whale and wail, and do and dew.

British Columbia

British Columbia English has several words still in current use borrowed from the Chinook Jargon
Chinook Jargon
Chinook Jargon originated as a pidgin trade language of the Pacific Northwest, and spread during the 19th century from the lower Columbia River, first to other areas in modern Oregon and Washington, then British Columbia and as far as Alaska, sometimes taking on characteristics of a creole language...

 although the use of such vocabulary is observably decreasing. The most famous and widely used of these terms are skookum
Skookum
Skookum is a Chinook jargon word that has come into general use in the Pacific Northwest region of North America.The word skookum has three meanings:# a word in regional English that has a variety of positive connotations;...

 and saltchuck. However, among young British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

ns, almost no one uses this vocabulary, and only a small percentage is even familiar with the meaning of such words. In the Yukon
Yukon
Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

, cheechako is used for newcomers or greenhorn
Greenhorn
Greenhorn is slang for an inexperienced person. It may also refer to:* Greenhorn, California, United States* Greenhorn, Oregon, United States* The Greenhornes, a rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio...

s. A study shows that people from Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 exhibit more vowel retraction of /æ/ before nasals than people from Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, and this retraction may become a regional marker of West Coast English.

Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta)

A strong Canadian raising exists in the prairie regions together with certain older usages such as chesterfield and front room also associated with the Maritimes. Aboriginal Canadians are a larger and more conspicuous population in prairie cities than elsewhere in the country and certain elements of aboriginal speech in English are sometimes to be heard. Similarly, the linguistic legacy, mostly intonation but also speech patterns and syntax, of the Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n, Slavic and German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 settlers – who are far more numerous and historically important in the Prairies than in Ontario or the Maritimes – can be heard in the general milieu. Again, the large Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

 population in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

 and Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

 also carries with it certain linguistic traits inherited from French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

, Aboriginal
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

 and Celt
Celt
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

ic forebears.
Some terms are derived from immigrant groups or are just local inventions:
  • Bluff: small group of trees isolated by prairie
    Prairie
    Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

  • Bunny hug: elsewhere hoodie
    Hoodie
    A hoodie is a sweatshirt with a hood. The characteristic design includes large frontal pockets, a hood, and a drawstring to adjust the hood opening. They are sometimes worn with sweatpants. Some hoodies have zippers on them to allow easy removal much like a jacket...

     or hooded sweat shirt (mainly in Saskatchewan, but also in Alberta)
  • Ginch/gonch/gitch/gotch: underwear (usually men's or boys' underwear, more specifically briefs), probably of Eastern European or Ukrainian origin. Gitch and gotch are primarily used in Saskatchewan and Manitoba while the variants with an n are common in Alberta and British Columbia.
  • Jam buster: jelly-filled doughnut.
  • Porch climber: moonshine
    Moonshine
    Moonshine is an illegally produced distilled beverage...

     or homemade alcohol.
  • Pot hole: usually a deeper slough; also used to refer to slough in plural. Pot hole more commonly refers to a hole in a paved road caused by the freezing and thawing cycle.
  • Slough: pond – usually a pond on a farm
  • Vi-Co: occasionally used in Saskatchewan instead of chocolate milk. Formerly a brand of chocolate milk.


In farming communities with substantial Ukrainian
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, German or Mennonite
Mennonite
The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after the Frisian Menno Simons , who, through his writings, articulated and thereby formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders...

 populations, accents, sentence structure and vocabulary influenced by these languages is common.
Ottawa Valley

The area to the north and west of Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

 is heavily influenced by original Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, and German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 settlers, with many French loanwords. This is frequently referred to as the Valley Accent.
Toronto

Although only 1.5% of Torontonians speak French, a relatively low proportion of them (56.2%) are native speakers of English, according to the 2006 Census. As a result Toronto shows a more variable speech pattern. Although slang terms used in Toronto are synonymous with those used in other major North American cities, there is also an influx of slang terminology originating from Toronto's many immigrant communities. These terms originate mainly from various Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n words. Among youths in predominantly West Indian areas, a large number of words borrowed from West Indian Patois
Caribbean English
Caribbean English is a broad term for the dialects of the English language spoken in the Caribbean, most countries on the Caribbean coast of Central America, and Guyana. Caribbean English is influenced by the English-based Creole varieties spoken in the region, but they are not the same. In the...

 can be heard.
Northwest Ontario

With a smaller French population, and sizable Aboriginal population, this area is somewhat unique as having elements from both the Western provinces and the rest of Ontario. Communities receive media from both directions, and residents travel frequently to both areas, prompting a blending of dialects. Sharp eared locals can detect from word usage (soda versus pop, hoodie versus bunny hug) where one originated, "Down east," east of (Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie may refer to:* Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario , a Canadian city** Sault Ste. Marie , a federal electoral district in Ontario, Canada...

 and beyond the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

) or "Out West" (west of the Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

 border).

Quebec

  • Many people in Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

     distinguish between the words marry and merry.
  • Quebec Anglophones generally pronounce French street names in Montreal as French words. Pie IX Boulevard
    Pie-IX Boulevard
    Pie-IX Boulevard, named after Pope Pius IX, is a major boulevard on the island of Montreal. It runs for roughly in a northwest/southeast direction between Henri Bourassa Boulevard and Notre-Dame East...

     is pronounced as in French («pea-nuf»), not as "pie nine." On the other hand, most Anglophones do pronounce final Ds, as in Bernard and Bouchard.
  • In the city of Montreal, especially in some of the western suburbs like Côte-St-Luc and Hampstead, there is a strong Jewish influence in the English spoken in these areas. A large wave of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe
    Eastern Europe
    Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

     and the former Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     before and after World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     is also evident today. Their English has a strong Yiddish influence; there are some similarities to English spoken in New York
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

    .
  • Words used mainly in Quebec and especially in Montreal are: stage for "apprenticeship" or "internship", copybook for a notebook, dépanneur or dep for a convenience store, and guichet for an ABM/ATM. It is also common for Anglophones, particularly of Greek or Italian descent, to use translated French words instead of common English equivalents such as "open" and "close" for "on" and "off" or "Open the lights, please" for "Turn on the lights, please". This is however, openly acknowledged as incorrect grammar.

Maritimes

Many in the Maritime provinces – Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

, New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

 and Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

 – have an accent that sounds more like Scottish English
Scottish English
Scottish English refers to the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. It may or may not be considered distinct from the Scots language. It is always considered distinct from Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language....

 and, in some places, Irish English than General American. Outside of major communities, dialects can vary markedly from community to community, as well as from province to province, reflecting ethnic origin as well as a past in which there were few roads and many communities, with some villages very isolated. Into the 1980s, residents of villages in northern Nova Scotia could identify themselves by dialects and accents distinctive to their village. The dialects of Prince Edward Island are often considered the most distinct grouping. The phonology of Maritimer English
Maritimer English
Canadian Maritime English or Maritimer English is a dialect of English spoken in the Maritime provinces of Canada. Quirks include the removal of pre-consonantal sounds, and a faster speech tempo...

 has some unique features:
  • Pre-consonantal /r/ is sometimes deleted.
  • The flapping of intervocalic /t/ and /d/ to alveolar tap [ɾ] between vowels, as well as pronouncing it as a glottal stop [ʔ], is less common in the Maritimes. Therefore, battery is pronounced [ˈbætɹi] instead of [ˈbæɾ(ə)ɹi].
  • Especially among the older generation, /w/ and /hw/ are not merged; that is, the beginning sound of why, white, and which is different from that of witch, with, wear.
  • Like most varieties of CanE, Maritimer English contains Canadian raising.

Newfoundland

The dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

 spoken in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

, an autonomous dominion until March 31, 1949, is often considered the most distinctive Canadian English dialect. Some Newfoundland English differs in vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

 pronunciation
Pronunciation
Pronunciation refers to the way a word or a language is spoken, or the manner in which someone utters a word. If one is said to have "correct pronunciation", then it refers to both within a particular dialect....

, morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

, syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

, and preservation of archaic
Archaism
In language, an archaism is the use of a form of speech or writing that is no longer current. This can either be done deliberately or as part of a specific jargon or formula...

 adverbal-intensifiers. The dialect can vary markedly from community to community, as well as from region to region, reflecting ethnic origin as well as a past in which there were few roads and many communities, and fishing villages
Newfoundland outport
An outport is the term given for a small isolated coastal community in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Originally the term was just used for coastal communities on the island of Newfoundland but the term has also been adopted for those on the mainland area of Labrador as...

 in particular remained very isolated. A few speakers have a transitional pin–pen merger.

Northern Canada

First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 and Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 people from Northern Canada
Northern Canada
Northern Canada, colloquially the North, is the vast northernmost region of Canada variously defined by geography and politics. Politically, the term refers to the three territories of Canada: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut...

 speak a version of Canadian English influenced by the phonology of their first languages. European Canadians in these regions are relatively recent arrivals, and have not produced a dialect that is distinct from southern Canadian English.

Grammar

  • When writing, Canadians will start a sentence with As well, in the sense of "in addition"; this construction is a Canadianism.
  • Canadian, Australian and British English share idioms like in hospital and to university, In American English, the definite article is mandatory in both cases. (However, in most situations where English speakers outside the U.S. use the phrase to university, American English speakers instead use the phrase to college, with no article required.)

Vocabulary

Where Canadian English shares vocabulary with other English dialects, it tends to share most with American English. Many terms are shared with Britain, but not with the majority of American speakers. In some cases British and the American terms coexist in Canadian English to various extents; a classic example is holiday, often used interchangeably with vacation, distinguishing the two between a trip elsewhere and general time off work respectively. In addition, the vocabulary of Canadian English also features words that are seldom (if ever) found elsewhere. A good resource for these and other words is the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles
Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles
The Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles was edited by Walter S. Avis , C. Crate, P. Drysdale, D. Leechman, M. H. Scargill, C. J. Lovell and published in 1967 by W. J. Gage Limited....

 (Avis and others. 1967), which is currently being revised at the University of British Columbia
University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is a public research university. UBC’s two main campuses are situated in Vancouver and in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley...

, Vancouver.

As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, Canada shares many items of institutional terminology and professional designations with the countries of the former British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 – for example, constable, for a police officer of the lowest rank, and chartered accountant.

Education

The term college, which refers to post-secondary education in general in the U.S., refers in Canada to either a post-secondary technical or vocational institution, or to one of the colleges that exist as federated school
Federated school
An affiliated school is an educational institution that operates independently, but also has a formal collaborative agreement with another, usually larger institution that may have some level of control or influence over its academic policies, standards or programs.While a university may have one...

s within some Canadian universities. Most often, a college is a community college, not a university. It may also refer to a CEGEP
Cégep
CEGEP is an acronym for , which is literally translated as "College of General and Vocational Education" but commonly called "General and Vocational College" in circles not influenced by Quebec English. It refers to the public post-secondary education collegiate institutions exclusive to the...

 in Quebec. In Canada, college student might denote someone obtaining a diploma in business management while university student is the term for someone earning a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

. For that reason, going to college does not have the same meaning as going to university, unless the speaker or context clarifies the specific level of post-secondary education that is meant.

Within the public school system the chief administrator of a school is generally "the principal", as in the United States, but the term is not used preceding his or her name, i.e. "Principal Smith". The assistant to the principal is not titled as "assistant principal", but rather as "vice-principal", although the former is not unknown.

Canadian universities publish calendars or schedules, not catalogs as in the U.S.. Canadian students write or take exams (in the U.S., students generally "take" exams while teachers "write" them); they rarely sit them (standard British usage). Those who supervise students during an exam are sometimes called invigilators as in Britain
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, or sometimes proctors as in the U.S.; usage may depend on the region or even the individual institution.

Successive years of school are usually referred to as grade one, grade two, and so on. In Quebec, the speaker (if Francophone) will often say primary one, primary two (a direct translation from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

), and so on; while Anglophones will say grade one, grade two. (Compare American first grade, second grade (sporadically found in Canada), and English/Welsh Year 1, Year 2, Scottish/Nth.Irish Primary 1, Primary 2 or P1, P2, and Sth.Irish First Class, Second Class and so on.)American Speech 80.1 (2005), p. 47.
In the U.S., the four years of high school are termed the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years (terms also used for college years); in Canada, the specific levels are used instead (ie, "grade nine"). As for higher education, only the term freshman (often reduced to frosh) has some currency in Canada. The American usages "sophomore", "junior" and "senior" are not used in Canadian university terminology, or in speech. The specific high-school grades and university years are therefore stated and individualized; for example, the grade 12s failed to graduate; John is in his second year at McMaster. The "first year", "third year" designation also applies to Canadian law school students, as opposed to the common American usage of "1L", "2L" and "3L."

Canadian students use the term marks (more common in England) or grades (more common in the US) to refer to their results; usage is very mixed.

Units of measurement

Unlike in the United States, use of metric
Si
Si, si, or SI may refer to :- Measurement, mathematics and science :* International System of Units , the modern international standard version of the metric system...

 units within a majority of industries (but not all) is standard in Canada, as a result of the national adoption of the Metric System during the mid-to-late 1970s; this has spawned some colloquial usages such as klick for kilometre (as also heard in the U.S. military). See metrication in Canada
Metrication in Canada
Canada has converted to the metric system for many purposes but there is still significant use of non-metric units and standards in many sectors of the Canadian economy...

. Nonetheless, Imperial units are still used in many situations. For example, many English Canadians will usually state their weight and height in pounds and feet/inches, respectively. Temperatures for cooking are often given in Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit is the temperature scale proposed in 1724 by, and named after, the German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit . Within this scale, the freezing of water into ice is defined at 32 degrees, while the boiling point of water is defined to be 212 degrees...

. Directions in the Prairie provinces are often given using miles, because the country roads generally follow the mile-based grid of the Dominion Land Survey
Dominion Land Survey
The Dominion Land Survey is the method used to divide most of Western Canada into one-square-mile sections for agricultural and other purposes. It is based on the layout of the Public Land Survey System used in the United States, but has several differences...

. The letter paper size
Paper size
Many paper size standards conventions have existed at different times and in different countries. Today there is one widespread international ISO standard and a localised standard used in North America . The paper sizes affect writing paper, stationery, cards, and some printed documents...

 of 8.5 inches × 11 inches is used instead of the international and metric A4 size of 210 mm × 297 mm.

Transportation

  • Although Canadian lexicon features both railway
    Usage of the terms railroad and railway
    The terms railroad and railway generally describe the same thing, a guided means of land transport, designed to be used by trains, for transporting passengers and freight. Etymologically both words derive from Old English; a road being something one rides along and way deriving from a Germanic...

     and railroad
    Usage of the terms railroad and railway
    The terms railroad and railway generally describe the same thing, a guided means of land transport, designed to be used by trains, for transporting passengers and freight. Etymologically both words derive from Old English; a road being something one rides along and way deriving from a Germanic...

    , railway is the usual term in naming (witness Canadian National Railway
    Canadian National Railway
    The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad"....

     and Canadian Pacific Railway
    Canadian Pacific Railway
    The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

    ), though railroad can be heard fairly frequently in some regions; most rail terminology
    Rail terminology
    Rail terminology is a form of technical terminology. The difference between the American term railroad and the international term railway is the most obvious difference in rail terminology...

     in Canada, however, follows American usage (for example, ties and cars rather than sleepers and carriages).
  • A two-way ticket can be either a round-trip (American term) or a return (British term).
  • The terms highway (for example, Trans-Canada Highway
    Trans-Canada Highway
    The Trans-Canada Highway is a federal-provincial highway system that joins the ten provinces of Canada. It is, along with the Trans-Siberian Highway and Australia's Highway 1, one of the world's longest national highways, with the main route spanning 8,030 km...

    ), expressway (Central Canada, as in the Gardiner Expressway
    Gardiner Expressway
    The Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway, colloquially referred to as "the Gardiner", is a municipal expressway in the Canadian province of Ontario, connecting downtown Toronto with its western suburbs...

    ) and freeway (Sherwood Park Freeway, Edmonton
    Edmonton
    Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

    ) are often used to describe various high speed roads with varying levels of access control. Generally, but not exclusively, highway refers to a provincially funded road. Often such roads will be numbered. Similar to the US, the terms expressway and freeway are often used interchangeably to refer to controlled-access highways, that is, divided highways with access only at grade-separated interchanges (for example, a 400-Series Highway
    400-series highways (Ontario)
    The 400-series highways are a network of controlled-access highways throughout the southern portion of the Canadian province of Ontario, forming a special subset of the provincial highway system. They are analogous to the Interstate Highway System in the United States or the British Motorway...

     in Ontario). However, expressway may also refer to a limited-access road
    Limited-access road
    A limited-access road known by various terms worldwide, including limited-access highway, dual-carriageway and expressway, is a highway or arterial road for high-speed traffic which has many or most characteristics of a controlled-access highway , including limited or no access to adjacent...

     that has control of access but has at-grade junctions, railway crossings (for example, the Harbour Expressway
    Harbour Expressway
    The Harbour Expressway is a four lane highway with signalized intersections running the Intercity business district of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada....

     in Thunder Bay
    Thunder Bay
    -In Canada:Thunder Bay is the name of three places in the province of Ontario, Canada along Lake Superior:*Thunder Bay District, Ontario, a district in Northwestern Ontario*Thunder Bay, a city in Thunder Bay District*Thunder Bay, Unorganized, Ontario...

    .) Sometimes the term Parkway
    Parkway (disambiguation)
    -Road:*A scenic route, or a road giving access through, or into, a park, or a rural district, or an area of wilderness*A controlled-access highway, especially in North America, especially one which is more scenic or particularly suited to light vehicles, or for recreational motoring*A landscaped...

     is also used (for example, the Hanlon Parkway
    Hanlon Parkway
    The Hanlon Parkway is a high-capacity at-grade suburban expressway in the city of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, which connects it with Highway 401. It runs in a general north-south direction in the city's west end. It is signed as Highway 6 for its whole length; from Wellington Street to Woodlawn Road,...

     in Guelph
    Guelph
    Guelph is a city in Ontario, Canada.Guelph may also refer to:* Guelph , consisting of the City of Guelph, Ontario* Guelph , as the above* University of Guelph, in the same city...

    ). In Saskatchewan
    Saskatchewan
    Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

    , the term 'grid road' is used to refer to minor highways or rural roads, usually gravel, referring to the 'grid' upon which they were originally designed. In Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    , freeways and expressways are called autoroutes. In Alberta
    Alberta
    Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    , the generic Trail is often used to describe a freeway, expressway or major urban street (for example, Deerfoot Trail
    Deerfoot Trail
    Deerfoot Trail is a freeway section of the Queen Elizabeth II Highway in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was formerly known as Blackfoot Trail Freeway, but was renamed to honour the first Native American to win the marathon....

    , Macleod Trail or Crowchild Trail
    Crowchild Trail
    Crowchild Trail is an expressway located on the west side of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.The road was originally signed as 24th Street SW from North Glenmore Park to the Bow River, 24th Street NW from the Bow to the intersection with 16th Avenue NW , and Highway 1A from 16th Ave NW to the city limits...

     in Calgary
    Calgary
    Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

    , Yellowhead Trail in Edmonton
    Edmonton
    Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

    ). The British term motorway is not used. The American terms turnpike
    Toll road
    A toll road is a privately or publicly built road for which a driver pays a toll for use. Structures for which tolls are charged include toll bridges and toll tunnels. Non-toll roads are financed using other sources of revenue, most typically fuel tax or general tax funds...

     and tollway for a toll road are not common. The term throughway or thruway was used for first tolled limited-access highways (for example, the Deas Island Throughway, now Highway 99, from Vancouver, BC, to Blaine, Washington
    Blaine, Washington
    Blaine is a city in Whatcom County, Washington, United States. The city's northern boundary is the Canadian border. Blaine is the shared home of the Peace Arch international monument...

    , USA or the Saint John Throughway (Highway 1) in Saint John, NB), but this term is not common anymore. In everyday speech, when a particular roadway is not being specified, the term highway is generally or exclusively used.
  • A railway at-grade junction is a level crossing; the U.S. term grade crossing is rarely, if ever, used.
  • A railway or highway crossing overhead is an overpass or underpass, depending on which part of the crossing is referred to (the two are used more or less interchangeably); the British term flyover is sometimes used in Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

    , and in the Maritimes as well as on occasion in the prairies (such as the 4th avenue flyover in Calgary, Alberta), subway is also used.
  • In Quebec, English speakers often use the word "Metro" to mean subway
    Rapid transit
    A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

    . Non-native Anglophones of Quebec will also use the designated proper title "Metro" to describe the Montréal subway system.
  • The term Texas gate refers to the type of metal grid
    Cattle grid
    A cattle grid or cattle guard – also known as a vehicle pass, Texas gate, stock gap A cattle grid (or stock grid)(British English) or cattle guard (American English) – also known as a vehicle pass, Texas gate, stock gap A cattle grid (or stock grid)(British English) or cattle guard (American...

     called a cattle guard in American English or a cattle grid in British English.
  • Depending on the region, large trucks used to transport and deliver goods are referred to as 'transport trucks' (Eg. used in Ontario and Alberta) or 'transfer trucks' (Eg. used in Prince Edward Island)

Politics

  • While in standard usage the terms prime minister
    Prime minister
    A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

     and premier
    Premier
    Premier is a title for the head of government in some countries and states.-Examples by country:In many nations, "premier" is used interchangeably with "prime minister"...

     are interchangeable terms for the head of an elected parliamentary government, Canadian English today generally follows a usage convention of reserving the title prime minister for the federal first minister and referring to provincial or territorial leaders as premiers. However, because Canadian French
    Canadian French
    Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

     does not have separate terms for the two positions, using premier ministre for both, the title prime minister is sometimes seen in reference to a provincial leader when a francophone is speaking or writing English. As well, until the 1970s the leader of the Ontario provincial government was officially styled prime minister.
  • When a majority of the elected members of the House of Commons or a provincial legislature are not members of the same party as the government, the situation is referred to as a minority government rather than a hung Parliament.
  • To table a document in Canada is to present it (as in Britain), whereas in the U.S. it means to withdraw it from consideration. (However in non-governmental meetings using Robert's Rules of Order to table a document can be to postpone consideration until a later date.)
  • Several political terms are more in use in Canada than elsewhere, including riding (as a general term for a parliamentary
    Parliament of Canada
    The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

     constituency or electoral district
    Electoral district (Canada)
    An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...

    ). The term reeve was at one time common for the equivalent of a mayor in some smaller municipalities in British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

     and Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

    , but is now falling into disuse. The title is still used for the leader of a rural municipality in Saskatchewan
    Saskatchewan
    Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

     and Manitoba
    Manitoba
    Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

    .
  • The term Tory, used in Britain with a similar meaning
    Tory
    Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

    , denotes a supporter of the federal Conservative Party of Canada
    Conservative Party of Canada
    The Conservative Party of Canada , is a political party in Canada which was formed by the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003. It is positioned on the right of the Canadian political spectrum...

    , the historic federal
    Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
    The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was a Canadian political party with a centre-right stance on economic issues and, after the 1970s, a centrist stance on social issues....

     or provincial Progressive Conservative Party. The term Red Tory
    Red Tory
    A red Tory is an adherent of a particular political philosophy, tradition, and disposition in Canada somewhat similar to the High Tory tradition in the United Kingdom; it is contrasted with "blue Tory". In Canada, the phenomenon of "red toryism" has fundamentally, if not exclusively, been found in...

     is also used to denote the more socially liberal wings of the Tory parties. Blue Tory
    Blue Tory
    Blue Tories, also known as small 'c' conservatives, are, in Canadian politics, members of the former federal Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, current Conservative Party of Canada and provincial Progressive Conservative parties who are more economically right wing...

     is less commonly used, and refers to more strict fiscal (rather than social) conservatism. The U.S. use of Tory to mean the Loyalists in the time of the American Revolution is not used in Canada, where they are called United Empire Loyalists
    United Empire Loyalists
    The name United Empire Loyalists is an honorific given after the fact to those American Loyalists who resettled in British North America and other British Colonies as an act of fealty to King George III after the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War and prior to the Treaty of Paris...

    , or simply Loyalists.
  • Members of the Liberal Party of Canada
    Liberal Party of Canada
    The Liberal Party of Canada , colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre and the centre-left. Historically the Liberal Party has positioned itself to the left of the Conservative...

     or a provincial Liberal party are sometimes referred to as Grits. Historically, the term comes from the phrase Clear Grit, used in Victorian times
    Victorian era
    The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

     in Canada to denote an object of quality or a truthful person. The term was assumed as a nickname by Liberals by the 1850s.
  • Members of the Bloc Québécois
    Bloc Québécois
    The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party in Canada devoted to the protection of Quebec's interests in the House of Commons of Canada, and the promotion of Quebec sovereignty. The Bloc was originally a party made of Quebec nationalists who defected from the federal Progressive Conservative...

     are sometimes referred to as Bloquistes. At the purely provincial level, members of Quebec's Parti Québécois
    Parti Québécois
    The Parti Québécois is a centre-left political party that advocates national sovereignty for the province of Quebec and secession from Canada. The Party traditionally has support from the labour movement. Unlike many other social-democratic parties, its ties with the labour movement are informal...

     are often referred to as Péquistes, and members of the Quebec provincial Action démocratique du Québec
    Action démocratique du Québec
    The Action démocratique du Québec, commonly referred to as the ADQ is a centre-right political party in Quebec, Canada. On the sovereignty question, it defines itself as autonomist, and has support from both soft nationalists and federalists....

     as Adéquistes.
  • The term "Socred" is no longer common due to its namesake party's decline, but referred to members of the Social Credit Party
    Canadian social credit movement
    The Canadian social credit movement was a Canadian political movement originally based on the Social Credit theory of Major C. H. Douglas. Its supporters were colloquially known as Socreds...

    , and was particularly common in British Columbia. It was not used for Social Credit members from Quebec, nor generally used for the federal caucus of that party; in both cases Créditiste, the French term, was used in English.
  • Members of the Senate are referred to by the title "Senator" preceding their name, as in the United States. Members of the Canadian House of Commons
    Canadian House of Commons
    The House of Commons of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign and the Senate. The House of Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 308 members known as Members of Parliament...

    , following British parliamentary nomenclature, are termed "Members of Parliament", and are referred to as "Jennifer Jones, MP" during their term of office only. This style is extended to the Premiers of the provinces during their service. Senators, and members of the Privy Council are styled "The Honourable" for life, and the Prime Minister of Canada is styled "The Right Honourable" for life, as is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Governor-General. This honorific may also be bestowed by Parliament, as it was to retiring deputy prime minister Herb Gray
    Herb Gray
    Herbert Eser Gray, is a retired Canadian politician. He was Canada's first Jewish federal cabinet minister, and is one of only a few Canadians ever granted the title The Right Honourable who was not so entitled by virtue of a position held.-Early life:Born in Windsor, Ontario, the son of Harry...

     in 1996. Members of provincial legislatures do not have a pre-nominal style, except in certain provinces, such as Nova Scotia where members of the Queen's Executive Council of Nova Scotia
    Executive Council of Nova Scotia
    The Executive Council of Nova Scotia is the cabinet of that Canadian province....

     are styled "The Honourable" for life, and are entitled to the use of the post-nominal letters "ECNS". The Cabinet of Ontario serves concurrently (and not for life) as the Executive Council of Ontario
    Executive Council of Ontario
    The Executive Council of Ontario plays an important role in theGovernment of Ontario, in accordance with the Westminster system....

    , while serving members are styled "The Honourable", but are not entitled to post-nominal letters.
  • Members of provincial/territorial legislative assemblies are called MLAs
    Member of the Legislative Assembly
    A Member of the Legislative Assembly or a Member of the Legislature , is a representative elected by the voters of a constituency to the legislature or legislative assembly of a sub-national jurisdiction....

     in all provinces and territories except: Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

    , where they have been called Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) since 1938; Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    , where they have been called Members of the National Assembly
    Member of the National Assembly (Quebec)
    A Member of the National Assembly is a member of the National Assembly of Quebec in Canada.In other jurisdictions within Canada, the titles used are:* "Member of Provincial Parliament" in Ontario,...

     (MNAs) since 1968; and Newfoundland and Labrador
    Newfoundland and Labrador
    Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

    , where they are called Members of the House of Assembly
    Member of the House of Assembly
    A Member of the House of Assembly is a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly in Canada.Other Provinces and TerritoriesMembers of other Canadian provincial and territorial assemblies employ the titles:...

     (MHAs).

Law

Lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

s in all parts of Canada, except Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, which has its own civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

 system, are called "barristers and solicitors" because any lawyer licensed in any of the common law provinces and territories must pass bar exams for, and is permitted to engage in, both types of legal practice in contrast to other common-law jurisdictions such as England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 where the two are traditionally separated (i.e., Canada has a fused legal profession
Fused profession
Fused profession is a term relating to jurisdictions where the legal profession is not divided between barristers and solicitors.It is generally used in the context of Commonwealth countries which have provided by statute for there to be a single profession of "Barrister and Solicitor".In practice,...

). The words lawyer and counsel (not counsellor) predominate in everyday contexts; the word attorney refers to any personal representative. Canadian lawyers generally do not refer to themselves as "attorneys", a term which is common in the United States.

The equivalent of an American district attorney
District attorney
In many jurisdictions in the United States, a District Attorney is an elected or appointed government official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses. The district attorney is the highest officeholder in the jurisdiction's legal department and supervises a staff of...

, meaning the barrister representing the state in criminal proceedings, is called a crown attorney
Crown attorney
Crown Attorneys or Crown Counsel are the prosecutors in the legal system of Canada.Crown Attorneys represent the Crown and act as prosecutor in proceedings under the Criminal Code of Canada...

 (in Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

), crown counsel (in British Columbia), crown prosecutor or the crown, on account of Canada's status as a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 in which the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

 is the locus of state power.

The words advocate and notary
Civil law notary
Civil-law notaries, or Latin notaries, are lawyers of noncontentious private civil law who draft, take, and record legal instruments for private parties, provide legal advice and give attendance in person, and are vested as public officers with the authentication power of the State...

 – two distinct professions in Quebec civil law – are used to refer to that province's equivalent of barrister and solicitor, respectively. In Canada's common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 provinces and territories, the word notary means strictly a notary public
Notary public
A notary public in the common law world is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and international business...

.

Within the Canadian legal community itself, the word solicitor
Solicitor
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

 is often used to refer to any Canadian lawyer in general (much like the way the word attorney is used in the United States to refer to any American lawyer in general). Despite the conceptual distinction between barrister and solicitor, Canadian court documents would contain a phrase such as "John Smith, solicitor for the Plaintiff" even though "John Smith" may well himself be the barrister who argues the case in court. In a letter introducing him/herself to an opposing lawyer, a Canadian lawyer normally writes something like "I am the solicitor for Mr. Tom Jones."

The word litigator is also used by lawyers to refer to a fellow lawyer who specializes in lawsuits even though the more traditional word barrister is still employed to denote the same specialization.

Judges of Canada's superior courts (which exist at the provincial and territorial levels) are traditionally addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lady", like much of the Commonwealth, however there are some variances across certain jurisdictions, with some superior court judges preferring the titles "Mister Justice" or "Madam Justice" to "Lordship".

Masters are addressed as "Mr. Master" or simply "Sir".

Judges of provincial or inferior courts are traditionally referred to in person as "Your Honour". Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

 and of the federal-level courts prefer the use of "Mister/Madam (Chief) Justice". Justices of The Peace are addressed as "Your Worship". "Your Honour" is also the correct form of address for a Lieutenant Governor.

As in England, a serious crime is called an indictable offence
Indictable offence
In many common law jurisdictions , an indictable offence is an offence which can only be tried on an indictment after a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is a prima facie case to answer or by a grand jury...

, while a less-serious crime is called a summary offence
Summary offence
A summary offence is a criminal act in some common law jurisdictions that can be proceeded with summarily, without the right to a jury trial and/or indictment .- United States :...

. The older words felony
Felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

 and misdemeanour, which are still used in the United States, are not used in Canada's current Criminal Code
Criminal Code of Canada
The Criminal Code or Code criminel is a law that codifies most criminal offences and procedures in Canada. Its official long title is "An Act respecting the criminal law"...

 (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46) or by today's Canadian legal system. As noted throughout the Criminal Code, a person accused of a crime is called the accused and not the defendant, a term used instead in civil lawsuits.

A county in British Columbia
Counties of British Columbia
In British Columbia, eight counties are created in the County Boundary Act.The counties are created for the administration of justice, and are not used in the administration of government...

 means only a regional jurisdiction of the courts and justice system and is not otherwise connected to governance as with counties in other provinces and in the United States. The rough equivalent to "county" as used elsewhere is a "Regional District".

Places

Distinctive Canadianisms are:
  • Bachelor
    Bachelor
    A bachelor is a man above the age of majority who has never been married . Unlike his female counterpart, the spinster, a bachelor may have had children...

    : bachelor apartment, an apartment all in a single room, with a small bathroom attached ("They have a bachelor for rent"). The usual American term is studio. In Quebec, this is known as a one-and-a-half apartment; some Canadians, especially in Prince Edward Island, call it a loft.
  • Public house
    Public house
    A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

    : or more often 'pub'. Drinking establishments which are not pubs may be termed bars, taverns or lounges, among other terms.
  • Camp: in Northern Ontario, it refers to what is called a cottage in the rest of Ontario and a cabin in the West. It is also used, to a lesser extent, in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, as well as in parts of New England.
  • Fire hall: fire station
    Fire station
    A fire station is a structure or other area set aside for storage of firefighting apparatus , personal protective equipment, fire hose, fire extinguishers, and other fire extinguishing equipment...

    , firehouse.
  • height of land: a drainage divide. Originally American.
  • Parkade: a parking garage, especially in the West
    Western Canada
    Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

    .
  • Washroom
    Washroom
    A public toilet is a room or small building containing one or more toilets and possibly also urinals which is available for use by the general public, or in a broader meaning of "public", by customers of other...

    : the general term for what is normally named public toilet or lavatory in Britain. In the U.S. (where it originated) the word was mostly replaced by restroom in the 20th century. Generally used only as a technical or commercial term outside of Canada. The word bathroom is also used.
  • First Nation reserve
    Indian reserve
    In Canada, an Indian reserve is specified by the Indian Act as a "tract of land, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, that has been set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band." The Act also specifies that land reserved for the use and benefit of a band which is not...

    , rather than the U.S. term "Federal Indian Reservation." A slang variant of this term is the shortened res or rez.
  • Rancherie
    Rancherie
    A Rancherie is a First Nations residential area of an Indian Reserve in colloquial English throughout the Canadian province of British Columbia...

    : the residential area of a First Nation reserve, used in BC only.
  • Quiggly hole
    Quiggly hole
    A quiggly hole, also known simply as a quiggly or kekuli, is the remains of an underground house built by the First Nations people of the Interior of British Columbia and the Columbia Plateau in the U.S....

     and/or quiggly: the depression in the ground left by a kekuli or pithouse. Groups of them are called "quiggly hole towns". Used in the BC Interior only.
  • Gasbar: a filling station
    Filling station
    A filling station, also known as a fueling station, garage, gasbar , gas station , petrol bunk , petrol pump , petrol garage, petrol kiosk , petrol station "'servo"' in Australia or service station, is a facility which sells fuel and lubricants...

     (gas station) with a central island, having pumps under a fixed metal or concrete awning.
  • Boozcan: an after-hours establishment where alcohol is served, often illegally.
  • The term dépanneur, or the diminutive form dep, is often used by English speakers in Quebec. This is because convenience stores are called dépanneurs in Canadian French.
  • A Snye is a side-water channel that rejoins a larger river, creating an island.

Daily life

Terms common in Canada, Britain and Ireland but less frequent or nonexistent in the U.S. are:
  • Tin (as in tin of tuna), for can, especially among older speakers. Among younger speakers, can is more common, with tin referring to a can which is wider than it is tall.
  • Cutlery, for silverware or flatware.
  • Serviette, especially in Eastern Canada, for a paper table napkin.
  • Tap
    Tap (valve)
    A tap is a valve controlling release of liquids or gas. In the British Isles and most of the Commonwealth, the word is used for any everyday type of valve, particularly the fittings that control water supply to bathtubs and sinks. In the U.S., the term "tap" is more often used for beer taps,...

    , conspicuously more common than faucet in everyday usage.


The following are more or less distinctively Canadian:
  • ABM, bank machine: synonymous with ATM
    Automated teller machine
    An automated teller machine or automatic teller machine, also known as a Cashpoint , cash machine or sometimes a hole in the wall in British English, is a computerised telecommunications device that provides the clients of a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public...

     (which is also used).
  • BFI bin: Dumpster, after a prominent Canadian waste management company
    BFI Canada
    Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. is the third largest non-hazardous solid waste solutions provider in North America in North America. In Canada, the company acquired its original assets in 2000 and today, BFI Canada serves five provinces. In the US, the company acquired IESI Corp. in 2005 and...

    , in provinces where that company does business; compare Kleenex
    Kleenex
    Kleenex is a brand name for a variety of toiletry paper-based products such as facial tissue, bathroom tissue, paper towels, and diapers. The name Kleenex is a registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Often used as a genericized trademark, especially in the United States, "Kleenex"...

    , Xerox
    Xerox
    Xerox Corporation is an American multinational document management corporation that produced and sells a range of color and black-and-white printers, multifunction systems, photo copiers, digital production printing presses, and related consulting services and supplies...

    .
  • Chesterfield: originally British and internationally used (as in classic furnishing terminology) to refer to a sofa whose arms are the same height as the back, it is a term for any couch or sofa in Canada (and, to some extent, Northern California). Once a hallmark of CanE, chesterfield as with settee and davenport, is now largely in decline among younger generations in the western and central regions. Couch is now the most common term; sofa is also used.
  • Eavestroughs: rain gutter
    Rain gutter
    A rain gutter is a narrow channel, or trough, forming the component of a roof system which collects and diverts rainwater shed by the roof....

    s. Also used, especially in the past, in the Northern and Western U.S.; the first recorded usage is in Herman Melville
    Herman Melville
    Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumous novella Billy Budd....

    's Moby-Dick
    Moby-Dick
    Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, was written by American author Herman Melville and first published in 1851. It is considered by some to be a Great American Novel and a treasure of world literature. The story tells the adventures of wandering sailor Ishmael, and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod,...

    : "The tails tapering down that way, serve to carry off the water, d'ye see. Same with cocked hats; the cocks form gable-end eave-troughs [sic], Flask."
  • Flush: Toilet, used primarily by older speakers throughout the Maritimes.
  • Garburator: (rhymes with carburetor) a garbage disposal
    Garbage disposal
    A garbage disposal unit or waste disposal unit is a device, usually electrically powered, installed under a kitchen sink between the sink's drain and the trap which shreds food waste into pieces small enough—generally less than —to pass through plumbing.Garbage disposal units are widely used in...

    .
  • Homogenized milk or homo milk: Milk containing 3.25% milk fat, typically called "whole milk" in the US.
  • Hydro: a common synonym for electrical service
    Mains electricity
    Mains is the general-purpose alternating current electric power supply. In the US, electric power is referred to by several names including household power, household electricity, powerline, domestic power, wall power, line power, AC power, city power, street power, and grid power...

    , used primarily in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. Most of the power in these provinces is hydroelectricity
    Hydroelectricity
    Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

    , and incorporate the term "Hydro". Usage: "I didn't pay my hydro bill so they shut off my lights." Hence hydrofield, a line of electricity transmission towers, usually in groups cutting across a city, and hydro lines/poles, electrical transmission lines/poles. These usages of hydro are also standard in the Australian state of Tasmania
    Tasmania
    Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

    . Also in slang usage can refer to hydroponically grown marijuana.
  • Loonie
    Loonie
    The Canadian 1 dollar coin is a gold-coloured, bronze-plated, one-dollar coin introduced in 1987. It bears images of a common loon, a bird which is common and well known in Canada, on the reverse, and of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.The design for the coin was meant to be a voyageur theme,...

    : the Canadian one-dollar coin; derived from the use of the common loon
    Great Northern Diver
    The Great Northern Loon, Great Northern Diver, or Common Loon , is a large member of the loon, or diver, family of birds...

     on the reverse. The toonie
    Toonie
    The Canadian 2 dollar coin, commonly called Toonie, was introduced on February 19, 1996 by Public Works minister Diane Marleau. The Toonie is a bi-metallic coin which bears an image of a polar bear, by Campbellford, Ontario artist Brent Townsend, on the reverse. The obverse, like all other current...

     (less commonly spelled tooney, twooney, twoonie) is the two-dollar coin. Loonie is also used to refer to the Canadian currency
    Canadian dollar
    The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

    , particularly when discussing the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar
    United States dollar
    The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

    ; neither loonie nor toonie can describe amounts of money beyond a very small amount. (for example, I have thirty dollars versus "got a loonie/toonie?").
  • Pencil crayon: coloured pencil.
  • Pogie or pogey: term referring to unemployment insurance, which is now officially called Employment Insurance in Canada. Derived from the use of pogey as a term for a poorhouse. Not used for welfare, in which case the term is "the dole", as in "he's on the dole, eh?".

Apparel

The following are common in Canada, but not in the U.S. or the U.K.
  • Runners: running shoes, especially in Western Canada
    Western Canada
    Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

    . Also used in Australian English
    Australian English
    Australian English is the name given to the group of dialects spoken in Australia that form a major variety of the English language....

     and Irish English. Atlantic Canada prefers sneakers while central Canada (including Quebec and Ontario) prefer "running shoes".
  • Toque (also spelled tuque
    Tuque
    A – variously known as a knit hat or stocking cap among other names – is a knitted cap, originally of wool though now often of synthetic fibers, that is designed to provide warmth in winter...

     or touque): a knitted winter hat. A similar hat would be called a beanie in the western U.S. and a watch cap in the eastern U.S, though these forms are generally closer-fitting, and may lack a brim as well as a pompom. There seems to be no exact equivalent outside Canada, since the tuque is of French Canadian origin.

  • Dressing Gown: in the US, called a bathrobe.

  • Bunnyhug: a hooded sweatshirt, with or without a zipper. Used mainly in Saskatchewan.

Food and beverage

  • Most Canadians as well as Americans in the Northwest, North Central, Prairie and Inland North prefer pop over soda to refer to a carbonated beverage (but neither term is dominant in British English; see further at Soft drink naming conventions
    Soft drink naming conventions
    Soft drinks are called by many names in different places of the world.- South Africa :Soft drinks in South Africa are called cool drinks generically, although lemonade follows the same conventions as Australia.- Argentina :...

    ). "Soft drink" is also extremely common throughout Canada.
  • What Americans call Canadian bacon is named back bacon
    Back bacon
    Back bacon is bacon prepared from centre-cut boneless pork loin. The name refers to the cut of meat, which is from the back, and distinguishes it from other bacon made from pork belly or other cuts. Unlike other bacon, back bacon is not brined, cured, boiled, or smoked...

     or, if it is coated in cornmeal or ground peas, cornmeal bacon or peameal bacon
    Peameal bacon
    Peameal bacon is a type of bacon originating in Canada. The name reflects the historic practice of rolling the bacon in ground dried yellow peas, although nowadays, it is generally rolled in yellow cornmeal...

     in Canada.
  • What most Americans call a candy bar
    Candy bar
    A chocolate bar is a confection in bar form comprising some or all of the following components: cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, milk. The relative presence or absence of these components form the subclasses of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. In addition to these main...

     is usually known as a chocolate bar (as in the UK; however, some in the US, especially Americans in northern states, call it a chocolate bar). In certain areas surrounding the Bay of Fundy
    Bay of Fundy
    The Bay of Fundy is a bay on the Atlantic coast of North America, on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a small portion touching the U.S. state of Maine...

    , it is sometimes known as a nut bar; however this use is more popular amongst older generations.
  • Even though the terms French fries and fries are used by Canadians, some speakers use the word chips (and its diminutive, chippies) (chips is always used when referring to fish and chips
    Fish and chips
    Fish and chips is a popular take-away food in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada...

    , as elsewhere).
  • Whole-wheat bread is often referred to as brown bread, as in "Would you like white or brown bread for your toast?"

Vocabulary pertaining to race and ethnicity

  • Aboriginals (aka Natives, Indigenous Peoples, etc.) are not referred to as "Indian", in part because there is a large and growing East Indian population in Canada. The term First Nations
    First Nations
    First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

     is used as an adjective when referring in a respectful manner to persons who would be called American Indians in the United States. Northern aboriginal persons are Inuit
    Inuit
    The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

     and mixed-race (First Nations – European) are Métis
    Métis people (Canada)
    The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

    .

Canadianisms

  • Double-double: a cup of coffee with two creams and two sugars, most commonly associated with the Tim Hortons
    Tim Hortons
    Tim Hortons Inc. is a Canadian fast casual restaurant known for its coffee and doughnuts. It is also Canada's largest fast food service with over 3000 stores nationwide. It was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton and Jim Charade, after an initial venture in...

     chain of coffee shops. By the same token, triple-triple.
  • Mickey: a 375 mL bottle of hard liquor (informally called a pint
    Pint
    The pint is a unit of volume or capacity that was once used across much of Europe with values varying from state to state from less than half a litre to over one litre. Within continental Europe, the pint was replaced with the metric system during the nineteenth century...

     in the Maritimes and the US).
  • Two-six, twenty-sixer, twixer: a 750 mL bottle of hard liquor (called a quart in the Maritimes).
  • Texas mickey (esp. in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick; more often a "Saskatchewan mickey" in western Canada): a 3 litre bottle of hard liquor. (Despite the name, Texas mickeys are generally unavailable outside of Canada.)
  • Two-four: a case of 24 beers, also known as a "flat" in Western Canada, or simply "a case" in Eastern Canada.
  • Half-sack, Poverty-pack or Six-pack: a case of 6 beers
  • Poutine
    Poutine
    Poutine is a Canadian dish of French fries and fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy or sauce. Sometimes additional ingredients are added.Poutine is a fast food dish that originated in Quebec and can now be found across Canada...

    : a snack of french fries topped with cheese curds and hot gravy.
  • Cheezies
    Cheezies
    Cheezies are a brand of cheese curl snack food made and sold in Canada by W.T. Hawkins Ltd. The snack is made from aged cheddar and sold in various size bags.-History:...

    : Cheese puffs
    Cheese puffs
    Cheese puffs, cheese curls, cheese balls, or corn curls are a puffed corn snack, coated with a mixture of cheese or cheese-flavored powders...

    . The name is a genericized trademark
    Genericized trademark
    A genericized trademark is a trademark or brand name that has become the colloquial or generic description for, or synonymous with, a general class of product or service, rather than as an indicator of source or affiliation as intended by the trademark's holder...

     based on a brand of crunchy cheese snack sold in Canada.
  • Freezies: A frozen flavoured sugar water snack common worldwide, but known by this name exclusively in Canada.
  • Dainty, dainties: Fancy cookies, pastries, or squares served at a social event (usually plural). Used in western Canada.
  • Smarties, Smarties: A bean sized, small candy covered chocolate, similar to M&M's
    M&M's
    M&M's are dragée-like "colorful button-shaped candies" produced by Mars, Incorporated...

     without peanuts. This is also seen in British English Smarties in the United States refer to small, tart powdered disc sold in rolls. In Canada these are sold as "Rockets".
  • The United States of America is almost always called "The States" rather than "America".

Informal speech

A rubber in the U.S. and Canada is slang for a condom; however, in Canada it is sometimes (rarely except for Newfoundland and South Western Ontario) another term for an eraser
Eraser
An eraser or rubber is an article of stationery that is used for rubbing out pencil markings. Erasers have a rubbery consistency and are often white or pink, although modern materials allow them to be made in any color. Many pencils are equipped with an eraser on one end...

 (as it is in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

).

The word bum can refer either to the buttocks (as in Britain or the U.S.), or, derogatorily, to a homeless person (as in the U.S.). However, the "buttocks" sense does not have the indecent character it retains in British and Australian
Australian English
Australian English is the name given to the group of dialects spoken in Australia that form a major variety of the English language....

 use, as it and "butt" are commonly used as a polite or childish euphemism for ruder words such as arse
Buttocks
The buttocks are two rounded portions of the anatomy, located on the posterior of the pelvic region of apes and humans, and many other bipeds or quadrupeds, and comprise a layer of fat superimposed on the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles. Physiologically, the buttocks enable weight to...

 (commonly used in Atlantic Canada and among older people in Ontario and to the west) or ass
Buttocks
The buttocks are two rounded portions of the anatomy, located on the posterior of the pelvic region of apes and humans, and many other bipeds or quadrupeds, and comprise a layer of fat superimposed on the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles. Physiologically, the buttocks enable weight to...

, or mitiss (used in the Prairie Provinces, especially in northern and central Saskatchewan; probably originally a Cree loanword). Older Canadians may see "bum" as more polite than "butt", which before the 1980s was often considered rude.

Similarly the word pissed can refer either to being drunk (as in Britain), or being mad or angry (as in the U.S.), though anger is more often said as pissed off, while piss drunk or pissed up is said to describe inebriation (though piss drunk is sometimes also used in the US, especially in the northern states).

Canadian colloquialisms

One of the most distinctive Canadian phrases is the spoken interrogation eh
Eh
Eh is a spoken interjection in English, Armenian, Japanese, French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan that is similar in meaning to "Excuse me," "Please repeat that" or "huh?" It is also commonly used as a method for inciting an answer, as in "It's nice here, eh?" It is occasionally...

, which is commonly mocked by films such as South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, and treated more warm-heartedly within Canada itself by programs such as The Red Green Show
The Red Green Show
The Red Green Show is a Canadian television comedy that aired on various channels in Canada, with its ultimate home at CBC Television, and on Public Broadcasting Service stations in the United States, from 1991 until the series finale April 7, 2006 on CBC...

 and The Royal Canadian Air Farce. The only usage of eh exclusive to Canada, according to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, is for "ascertaining the comprehension, continued interest, agreement, etc., of the person or persons addressed" as in, "It's four kilometres away, eh, so I have to go by bike." In that case, eh? is used to confirm the attention of the listener and to invite a supportive noise such as mm or oh or okay. This usage is also common in Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

, Australia. Other uses of eh – for instance, in place of huh? or what? meaning "please repeat or say again" – are also found in parts of the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

.

The term Canuck simply means Canadian in its demonym
Demonym
A demonym , also referred to as a gentilic, is a name for a resident of a locality. A demonym is usually – though not always – derived from the name of the locality; thus, the demonym for the people of England is English, and the demonym for the people of Italy is Italian, yet, in english, the one...

ic form, and, as a term used even by Canadians themselves, it is not considered derogatory. In the 19th century and early 20th century it tended to refer to French-Canadians, but Janey Canuck was used by Anglophone writer Emily Murphy
Emily Murphy
Emily Murphy was a Canadian women's rights activist, jurist, and author. In 1916, she became the first woman magistrate in Canada, and in the British Empire...

 in the 1920s and the Johnny Canuck
Johnny Canuck
Johnny Canuck was a Canadian cartoon hero and superhero who was created as a political cartoon in 1869 and was later re-invented, most notably as a Second World War action hero in 1942...

 comic book character of the 1940s. Throughout the 1970s, Canada's winning World Cup men's downhill ski team was called the "Crazy Canucks
Crazy Canucks
The Crazy Canucks was a group of Canadian alpine ski racers who rose to prominence in the World Cup during the 1970s and 80s. Dave Irwin, Dave Murray, Steve Podborski, Jim Hunter and Ken Read earned themselves a reputation for fast and seemingly reckless skiing....

" for their fearlessness on the slopes. It is also the name of the Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks are a professional ice hockey team based in Vancouver, :British Columbia, Canada. They are members of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League . The Canucks play their home games at Rogers Arena, formerly known as General Motors Place,...

, the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 team of Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

.

The term hoser
Hoser
Hoser is both a slang term and a stereotype, originating from and used primarily in Canada. It is not often used by Canadians, but it is sometimes used as "typical" Canadian slang by those imitating Canadians, similar to the expression "eh?" The term "hoser" gained popularity from the comedic skits...

, popularized by Bob & Doug McKenzie, typically refers to an uncouth, beer-swilling male. Bob & Doug also popularised the use of Beauty, eh, another western slang term which may be used in variety of ways. This describes something as being of interest, of note, signals approval or simply draws attention to it.

A Newf or Newfie is someone from Newfoundland and Labrador; sometimes considered derogatory. In Newfoundland, the term Mainlander refers to any Canadian (sometimes American, occasionally Labradorian) not from the island of Newfoundland. Mainlander is also occasionally used derogatorily.

In the Maritimes, a Caper or "Cape Bretoner" is someone from Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

, a Bluenoser is someone with a thick, usually southern Nova Scotia accent or as a general term for a Nova Scotian (Including Cape Bretoners), while an Islander is someone from Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

 (the same term is used in British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 for people from Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is a large island in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, the British Royal Navy officer who explored the Pacific Northwest coast of North America between 1791 and 1794...

, or the numerous islands along it). A Haligonian refers to someone from the city of Halifax.

Miscellaneous Canadianisms

  • The code appended to mail addresses (the equivalent of the British postcode and the American ZIP code
    ZIP Code
    ZIP codes are a system of postal codes used by the United States Postal Service since 1963. The term ZIP, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, is properly written in capital letters and was chosen to suggest that the mail travels more efficiently, and therefore more quickly, when senders use the...

    ) is called a postal code
    Canadian postal code
    A Canadian postal code is a six-character string that forms part of a postal address in Canada. Like British and Dutch postcodes, Canada's postal codes are alphanumeric. They are in the format A0A 0A0, where A is a letter and 0 is a digit, with a space separating the third and fourth characters...

    .
  • The term First Nations
    First Nations
    First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

     is often used in Canada to refer to what are called American Indians or Native Americans
    Indigenous peoples of the Americas
    The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

     in the United States. This term does not include the Métis
    Métis people (Canada)
    The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

     and Inuit
    Inuit
    The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

    , however; the term aboriginal peoples (and sometimes spelled with a capital "A": "Aboriginal peoples") is preferred when all three groups are included. The term "Eskimo
    Eskimo
    Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

    " has been replaced by the term Inuit
    Inuit
    The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

     in the past few decades. It is now considered offensive to use the term Eskimo, but is still used commonly (without pejorative intent) by those born in the early-mid-20th century.
  • "Going camping" still refers to staying in a tent
    Tent
    A tent is a shelter consisting of sheets of fabric or other material draped over or attached to a frame of poles or attached to a supporting rope. While smaller tents may be free-standing or attached to the ground, large tents are usually anchored using guy ropes tied to stakes or tent pegs...

     in a campground or wilderness area, while "going out to camp" may refer to a summer cottage or home in a rural area. "Going to camp" refers to children's summer camp
    Summer camp
    Summer camp is a supervised program for children or teenagers conducted during the summer months in some countries. Children and adolescents who attend summer camp are known as campers....

    s. In British Columbia, "camp" was used as a reference for certain company towns (for example, Bridge River
    Bridge River, British Columbia
    Bridge River was used to describe three separate towns or localities in the Lillooet Country of the Interior of British Columbia connected with the river and valley of the same name.-1858-60:...

    ). It is used in western Canada to refer to logging and mining camps such as Juskatla Camp. It is also is a synonym for a mining district; the latter occurs in names such as Camp McKinney and usages such as "Cariboo gold camp" and "Slocan mining camp" for the Cariboo goldfields and Slocan silver-galena mining district, respectively. A "cottage" in British Columbia is generally a small house, perhaps with an English design or flavour, while in southern Ontario it more likely means a second home
    Vacation property
    Vacation property is a niche in the real estate market dealing with residences used for holiday vacations . In the United Kingdom this type of property is usually termed a holiday home, in Australia, a holiday house/home, or weekender, in New Zealand, a bach or crib...

     on a lake. Similarly, "chalet" – originally a term for a small warming hut – can mean a second home of any size, but refers to one located in a ski resort. Outside of southern Ontario and southern Quebec, these second homes tend to be called "camps".
  • A stagette is a female bachelorette party (US) or hen party (UK).
  • A "shag" is thought to be derived from "shower" and "stag", and describes a dance where alcohol, entry tickets, raffle tickets, and so on, are sold to raise money for the engaged couple's wedding. Normally a Northwest Ontario, Northern Ontario and sometimes Manitoba term, a "stag and doe" or "buck and doe" is used elsewhere in Ontario. The more common term for this type of event in Manitoba is a "social".
  • The humidex
    Humidex
    The humidex is an index number used by Canadian meteorologists to describe how hot the weather feels to the average person, by combining the effect of heat and humidity. The humidex is a unit-less number based on the dew point, but it is equivalent to dry temperature in degrees Celsius...

     is a measurement used by meteorologists to reflect the combined effect of heat and humidity.
  • An expiry date is the term used for the date when a perishable product will go bad (similar to the UK Use By date). The term expiration date is more common in the United States (where expiry date is seen mostly on the packaging of Asian food products). The term Best Before also sees common use, where although not spoiled, the product may not taste "as good".

See also

  • American and British English spelling differences
    American and British English spelling differences
    One of the ways in which American English and British English differ is in spelling.-Historical origins:In the early 18th century, English spelling was not standardized. Differences became noticeable after the publishing of influential dictionaries...

  • Bungi creole
  • Canadian French
    Canadian French
    Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

  • Canadian Gaelic
  • North American English
    North American English
    North American English is the variety of the English language of North America, including that of the United States and Canada. Because of their shared histories and the similarities between the pronunciation, vocabulary and accent of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken languages...

  • North American English regional phonology
  • Pacific Northwest English
    Pacific Northwest English
    Pacific Northwest English is a dialect of the English language spoken in the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest is defined as an area that includes the American states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Montana, southeastern Alaska, northern California, the Canadian provinces of British...

  • Quebec French
    Quebec French
    Quebec French , or Québécois French, is the predominant variety of the French language in Canada, in its formal and informal registers. Quebec French is used in everyday communication, as well as in education, the media, and government....

  • Regional accents of English
  • Vowel shift
    Vowel shift
    A vowel shift is a systematic sound change in the pronunciation of the vowel sounds of a language.The best-known example in the English language is the Great Vowel Shift, which began in the 15th century...


Further reading

  • Barber, Katherine, editor (2004). Canadian Oxford Dictionary, second edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-541816-6.
  • Barber, Katherine. "11 Favourite Regionalisms Within Canada", in David Vallechinsky and Amy Wallace (2005). The Book of Lists, Canadian Edition. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-676-97720-2.
  • Boberg, Charles (2005). "The North American Regional Vocabulary Survey: Renewing the study of lexical variation in North American English." American Speech 80/1. Dukejournals.org
  • Boberg, Charles, Sounding Canadian from Coast to Coast: Regional accents in Canadian English, McGill University.
  • Courtney, Rosemary, and others., senior editors (1998). The Gage Canadian Dictionary, second edition. Toronto: Gage Learning Corp. ISBN 0-7715-7399-5.
  • Chambers, J.K. (1998). "Canadian English: 250 Years in the Making," in The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2nd ed., p. xi.
  • Clark, Joe (2008). Organizing Our Marvellous Neighbours: How to Feel Good About Canadian English (e-book). ISBN 978-0-9809525-0-6.
  • Peters, Pam (2004). The Cambridge Guide to English Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-62181-X.
  • Canadian Raising: O'Grady and Dobrovolsky, Contemporary Linguistic Analysis: An Introduction, 3rd ed., pp. 67–68.
  • Canadian English: Editors' Association of Canada
    Editors' Association of Canada
    The Editors' Association of Canada/Association canadienne des réviseurs promotes professional editing as key in producing effective communication...

    , Editing Canadian English: The Essential Canadian Guide, 2nd ed. (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2000).
  • Canadian federal government style guide: Public Works and Government Services Canada
    Public Works and Government Services Canada
    Public Works and Government Services Canada is the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for the government's internal servicing and administration....

    , The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Public Works and Government Services Canada, 1997).
  • Canadian usage: Margery Fee and Janice McAlpine, Guide to Canadian English Usage (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2001).
  • Hamilton, Sandra A. M. (1997) Canadianisms and their treatment in dictionaries, Thesis (M.A.), University of Ottawa, ISBN 9780612199682
  • Canadian newspaper and magazine style guides:


External links

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