Today, for vocabulary month, I’m going to give a few snippets of Canadian-isms. One thing of the few things I’ve learned since I moved from Canada to Florida is that there are more differences in terminology and expressions than I realized. Now, it’s a little more than just using “eh”. Sure, I say “eh”, and I’ve noticed American writers sometimes aren’t quite sure how to use it properly. It’s not a filler word, its purpose is primarily to turn a statement into a question, and is most often akin to adding “don’t you think?” to the end of a sentence.
There are other differences. At the day job, I hear many people saying how person x needed to “get with” person y, with the meaning of having a meeting or discussion. Well, back home, “get with” is used exclusively for sex, as in hooking up. This may not be a Canada-wide interpretation, but for months it gave both hubby and I the giggles every time we heard it (well, he was amused & I giggled).
Something I adore about Florida (and I guess the south in general) is the availability of biscuits. Biscuits are not readily available anywhere in Canada, as far as I know. Something called tea biscuits are, but they’re more like stale scones, frequently embedded with raisins (ew). If you ask for a biscuit in Toronto, people will either assume you mean a tea biscuit, or a cookie, as in the British usage of the word.
One of my favourite expressions gets me total blank looks down here. That would be “sweet fuck all”. Means “absolutely nothing” and I’ve never had to explain the expression back home, but down here, it always needs an explanation.
Spelling is a bit of a pain, too. It’s hard to remember to remove ‘u’ from my words, and to use check instead of cheque (it’s spelled this way for the noun only). In a restaurant, we don’t ask for the check (or cheque) but for the bill.
There are also differences in pronunciation, and although that’s not completely impossible to relate via the written word, I’ve never been able to interpret those funny little pronunciation symbols, so I won’t bother with that. If you’re interested, though, people tend to laugh when I pronounce “out”. Undoubtedly, I have a Canadian accent.
And for the record… for those who remember Bob & Doug McKenzie… I do know people who talk like that, but as far Canadian terminology goes, I never knew anyone who used the term “hoser”, unless they were referencing SCTV or Strange Brew.