Canadians and Americans are similar in some ways but very different in others It isn’t until you travel somewhere or speak to someone from another province or country you notice that while we all speak English, not all words are used the same way.
As a Canadian author with an American publisher and American editors, this cultural language difference has cropped up more than a few times. I’ll admit that one of my favourite parts of getting “edits” back on a manuscript is reading the comment bubbles from my editors. Aside from the typical “u” and the “re/er” changes, I’ve been questioned on words like
Hydro Bill: “Do you mean water or power because we just call it all, electric?”
And Runners: “I think you mean tennis shoes or sneakers (?), please revise.”
I wrote a series of books set in a small town outside of Algonquin Park and then countered my editor with the reasoning that since the books are written in Canada, I’m using a Canadian dialect and should get to keep all my “u”‘s.(Even if you don’t hear them). Thankfully, I have awesome publishers that agreed it was fair but that didn’t stop them from teasing me in the comment bubbles.
Out of curiosity I started looking for the differences and found a list in one of my husband’s books, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader – Perpetually Pleasing edition. (You can laugh but they’re a great resource when looking for obscure facts.)
This is a few examples from their list:
Elastics Rubber Band
Chocolate Bar Candy Bar
Rippers, Peelers, or The Ballet Strippers
(Automated Banking Machine) (Automated Teller Machine)
Pencil Crayon Coloured Pencil
Now there was a couple I didn’t entirely agree with…
Bunny Hug Hoodie
This must be a Canadian regional thing, because I’m sure I’ve heard the term Bunny Hug (out east or west, maybe) but I’ve always called them Hoodies.
BFI Bin Dumpster
I’ve used Dumpster all my life and had to google BFI Bin to see what that actually referred to. Do any of you use BFI Bin when referring to the …dumpster?
They have a serious case of candy confusion…Did you know that In the US they call their “Rockets”, Smarties?
Smarties, the chocolate filled/candy coated favourite is totally a Canadian thing. Who knew?
Are there any similar examples you’ve noticed in your travels? Have you ever noticed a different in East Coast and West Coast terminology or expressions you’ve heard in another country that you weren’t quite sure what they were talking about?