This page explains the major differences between Canadian English and its British and American compatriots, follows the debate over colour and color, talks about place names and French, then looks at some unique Canadian vocabulary and ends with a short essay on pronunciation and regional variations.
Some examples of Canadian English differences:
- College: A Canadian college is very different from an American college. An American college is a limited version of a university, one that can grant only bachelor’s degrees. A Canadian college is at best a halfway house between high school and university.
- Dick: Our Internet penpals tell us that only Canadians use “dick” to mean “absolutely nothing,” as in, “Last weekend I did dick all.” There are, of course, other meanings.
- Loonie or loony: This is a colloquialism for Canada’s dollar coin. The plural is loonies. The nickname comes from the loon on the coin.
- Phone: One of our Internet penpals tells us that Americans don’t phone each other, they call instead. Canadians can do either.
- Soda vs. pop vs. coke: Canadians drink pop. Ask for a soda and you’ll get soda water. Avoid referring to coke unless you mean a product made by Coca-Cola or the drug that was once added to it.
- Zed: This is the proper way to pronounce the last letter of the alphabet.
They posted an excellent quote by Stephen Leacock:
In Canada we have enough to do keeping up with two spoken languages without trying to invent slang, so we just go right ahead and use English for literature, Scotch for sermons and American for conversation.