Re: British English--and Canadian

Subject: Re: British English--and Canadian
From: byfield -at- DIRECT -dot- CA
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 11:05:07 -0800

Anthony Veeder wrote:

>Australian, New Zealand and South African readers have similar English
>to the Brits. In Canada, I assume, they have similar English to that
>in the US.

Your assumption is only partly right. Of course, Canada is constantly
bombarded by American influence, and the language is no exception. But
a good deal of English influence remains, and some Canadians make it
a point of nationalism to always use spellings like "colour" and
"centre," just to prove that Canada isn't part of the United States.

Also (to generalize wildly), Canadian English is less prone than
American English to add unnecessary prepositions to verbs (preferring
"contact" more often than "contact with", for example), and to be a
little more formal (for example, the colloquial American expression
"I could care less" is usually translated in Canada as "I couldn't
care less"). And, in common usage, Canadian English tends to be more
polite; many public signs in the United States seem rude to me (A common
joke: how do you get 50 Canadians out of a swimming pool? A: You say,
"Please get out of the pool").

Pronounciation is also different: about three-quarters
of Canada call the last letter of the alphabet "zed" and to many Canadians
the average American places the accent of many words on the wrong
syllable.

Then, too, just when we Canadians are lured into thinking that Americans
are like us, we find that it really is a different culture south of
the 49th Parallel. Once on a camping trip, I spent a long and frustrating
afternoon wandering a shopping mall explaining to clerk after clerk what
a kettle was and why I wanted it. They all thought it sounded like a good
idea, but no store stocked any. . .

----------------------------------------------------------
Bruce Byfield (byfield -at- direct -dot- ca)
Burnaby, BC, Canada
(604) 421-7189


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