Canadians have long been quick to declare the differences with their American neighbors to the south. Whether displayed through a particularly fervent love for hockey or by virtue of the country’s publicly-funded healthcare system, there’s numerous if sometimes subtle differences. We can now add one more reason to the list – Canada has its own version of English.
OK, yes…I can hear you saying that “eh” doesn’t quite count as a word. But it turns out Canadian English is much more than that – enough that Canada has its very own dictionary made by publisher Harper Collins. The most recent version of the Canadian Dictionary, released in April 2010, provides an interesting run down of some distinctly Canadian words and phrases.
A few examples can be found here (PDF download). Ever heard of a toque? For those not up on their Canadian lingo, it’s a close-fitting knitted hat often with a tassel or pompom. Or what about a wanigan? As any Canadian worth their salt will tell you, it’s a watertight box or chest used by canoeists or lumberjacks to hold provisions. In honor of the dictionary’s release, Harper Collins is holding a short-story contest. All entries must contain ten Canadian words found on the PDF list mentioned above.
If you’re heading to Canada any time soon, make sure you grab yourself a copy to start practicing your Canadian. As respectful travelers, of course, it’s important we all speak some of the local lingo.