The English – I mean, Canadian – Language…eh

I was over at Emma’s blog and she had a funny post on Canadianisms and how “Canadian English is a mixture of both British and American English”.  It reminded me of some arguments conversations in our home over this very topic.

Now, as a disclaimer, I will say at the top that I love the English accent.  It is what attracted me to Adrian in the first place.  15 years ago, his accent was much stronger and I was an impressionable little 19 year old.  I could listen to him for hours.  Of course, I couldn’t understand half of what he said and I’d just nod and say “uh huh”.  And then there’s his blue eyes, but – eh hem – I digress.

There are – uh – complications that come with talking to/living with a Brit.  Turns out they’re kinda arrogant about their language.  (When I say ‘they’ I mean Adrian)  They seem to think that they invented it or something and that the way they say stuff IS the only right way.  (again, they = Adrian) Well, maybe I’ll give them the inventing part.  I don’t know anything about the evolution of the English language but it IS called the ENGLISH language, I guess.

But my argument side of the calm discussion is that language evolves and changes.  For ex., nobody says thee and thou anymore right??

We’ve had several “discussions” on how to say the word “dawn”.  Our neighbour and friend is named DON.  There is no problem there – we agree on how you say it.  “D-o-n” (o as in not).  But when it comes to “dawn”, as in the sun rising in the morning, we have a major disagreement.  Sometimes friendly, sometimes not so much.  I think you pronounce the two words pretty much the same way.  He, however, thinks that “dawn” should be pronounced as “d-oe-w-n” (the aw said like o in note and then still adding a ‘w’ sound???).   

Adrian:  You don’t say ‘ahhhhh‘ for ‘aw‘.
Me:  Yes you dooo!!!  It’s certainly not ‘oe‘.  How do you say “lawn”?  “L-oe-w-n”???
Adrian:  Yes!!!!
Me: Gimme a break.

And now, conveniently, we’ve become friends with our other neighbour who happens to be…Dawn .

Me:  Dawn’s here to pick me up for the meeting!  Bye!
Adrian:  You mean, D-oe-w-n?
Me:  Oh, give it up!  <slam>

Don’t be rolling your eyes!  This is important stuff.  Try teaching your kids to read or spell with him in the room.

Me:  That’s right, sweetie. (speaking to my child who is writing me a lovely card)  It is spelled, M-o-m.
Adrian: You mean, m-u-m.
Me:  Noooo.  We’re in Canada.  Not England.  Herrrre it’s m-O-m.
Adrian:  You don’t say, mawwwm.
Me:  Yes..I…DO!!!! 
Adrian:  Well, that’s wrong.  You should say, muhm
Me:  Are you telling me how I should speak now????
Adrian:  No, I’m just telling you that you say it wrong.  If we hadn’t come over here you Colonials would still be speaking ‘bear’ or something.
Me:  Ex-cusssse ME???!!!
My poor innocent child:  Ummm.  So how do I spell it??

See?  Complications.

Note:  Events may have been exaggerated for dramatic effect. 
No, they weren’t. 
Yes, there were.

About Debbie

I am a stay at home mom of 2 energetic children. I homeschool them as well. I have a great husband who, after 7 years of working away from, finally has a job where he is home every night. We are trying to learn how to live together again along with adjusting to the lower pay that came along with the job change.
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14 Responses to The English – I mean, Canadian – Language…eh

  1. Debbie says:

    This is funny. I feel for you. It is Mom here, but I did say MUM sometimes just to be different. 😀

  2. Debbie says:

    *Should have said….. I do say mum. I can’t type, spell, or read today. 😉

  3. Sirdar says:

    I don’t believe the events were exaggerated. You are right….Adrian is wrong.

    Pronunciation of Dawn

    Click the little speaker icon beside the word Dawn and it speaks the proper pronunciation.

  4. Dawn says:

    This is so funny, and Adrian needs to learn, when in Canada, do as the Canadians. I must say, when I went to Australia, the worst thing was, I didn’t know how to say my own name. It is the same with Sirdar’s name. They pronounce it with a long hard drawn out middle. I came back with an accent from saying our names the way they do, but…I conformed when I was there (it was either that or have the whole group of them go “Huh…you are saying it wrong”). Great post.

  5. Joy T. says:

    Oh this is SO funny!! Even though I haven’t met Adrian I can so picture you doing this LOL I’m afraid on this one I’d probably be the same way. When in Rome and all that 🙂 Way to go girl! Keep sticking to your guns. Or would that be goons?

  6. Emma says:

    No when you say they you mean the English! My mum is the exact same way.

    As far as prounouncing words that are spelled differently the same that is a Canadian thing. Like route and root. In the same book I took my post from, it says what it’s called but of course I don’t have the book in front of me right now. Anyway, this is one of the few things the Americans have gotten from us…the lazy way of pronouncing similar words.

    I wish we were able to come tomorrow…I think William and Adrian would get on great. He is always telling me we pronounce words wrong. But this is the same guy who says free instead of three so I don’t take him to seriously.

  7. philosophyoflife says:

    Alas the misfortune of ‘dual’ pronunciation 😦

    We of course have the same problem here in Scotland – in that we can never understand the English either 😉

  8. my4kids says:

    Too funny! We don’t have that really here just the fact that I have things I say from growing up in California that my husband gets batty about. Like, “you know” I say it in almost every sentance. Of course it’s different then the pronunciation but it goes to show that just living in different communities can have differences in how you speak.

  9. Melanie says:

    LOL we are both English but hubby is from the NW and I am from Oxfordshire in the South. Bath for example to me is “Barth” to him is “baath”, scone to him is scon. I say dawrn for dawn.

    I think it was in a book by David Crystal that I read about the use of language being constantly evolving. It’s only been the written language which has stagnated and no longer resembles the words as pronounciation has changed.

    Your hubby is wrong though to get the children to use English spellings rather than Canadian ones as you live in Canada. It could confuse them. American children in Brize Norton school were allowed to continue using American spelling as they would go to American schools again when they were re-stationed. It was the school’s policy for the sake of the children.

  10. Debbie says:

    And this is just the tip, people. 🙂

    For the most part, Melanie, he was just interupting to bug me.

    He does get hot under the collar at times, though, because he thinks we speak like Americans.

    Ah well. I’ve got more people on my side!! 😉

  11. Carla says:

    This is pretty funny. I always like hearing different pronunciation as long as the speakers don’t get too serious about it. When I lived in Quebec, no one could pronounce my name. For awhile it drove me nuts, and then I just accepted it.

  12. robinellablog says:

    A most excellent post! BN has put Canada on our list of possible places to retire in a few years. I know acreage, hork…

  13. Sephyroth says:

    I’m stopping by on my way to commenting on as many NaBloPoMo blogs as possible as part of the NaBloPoMo commenting challenge. More information is available here –

    It might be the fact that one of my best friends is an Aussie (and btw, if you like the Brit accent, you’ll likely love the Aussie accent; I know that if I hear a gal talking in Strine, I’ll stop straight away 😉 ), but I’ve noticed that the more I’m exposed to that flavor of English, the more I pick up bits and pieces.

    However, I stick to my guns and stay with mom, just like we do here in the States (and, of course, in most of Canada 😉 )


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