How to Speak/Write English the Canadian Way

Canada is the second largest country in the world. So depending on which part of Canada you’re visiting, you may encounter different accents, slang, and vocabulary. Furthermore, there are 2 official languages, English and French, but for this post I would like to focus on Canadian English.

Canadian English is an interesting blend of British and American English splashed with its own flavor. Canada is a former British colony and is still currently part of the British Commonwealth. To this date, the spelling is more noticeably British. For example: centre, cheque, and colour.  However, other words like curb and tire, for example, are spelled just like in U.S. English. Some other spellings of words like analyze and antagonize are the same as the one south of the Canadian border, while in British English these words would be spelled with the ending -se. When you reach a cosmopolitan city, like Toronto, the accent tends to reflect that of its American counterparts. Most of the time you won’t notice that you are speaking to a Canadian, except for the odd word or pronunciation. For example, the name of the letter Z is zed, like in British English. And if you want to sound like someone from Toronto, pronounce it Torono.

Clearly, Canada has also developed its own vocabulary and slang. Here are just some examples of words you may come across:

Loonie: A one dollar coin. Named after the loon, a bird featured on the coin.
Toonie: A two dollar coin.
Poutine: A popular Canadian dish made of french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.
Tuque: A winter hat. Similar to what is known as a beanie in the U.S.
Washroom: Restroom or bathroom.

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