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-   -   Speech pattern and typographical variations across Canada (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=209368)

middeljohn Jan 25, 2014 2:00 AM

Speech pattern and typographical variations across Canada
 
It's no secret that the States are littered with various accents - Midwest, Brooklyn, Appalachian, African American Vernacular, etc. Meanwhile Canada is thought of to have one accent across the country.

For the most part I'd say Canadians sound most like the US television accent, but I've noticed a couple of regions with their own distinct accents:
- Black Creek in Toronto, the second and third generation Jamaicans speak with a hybrid Canadian-Jamaican accent, despite having been born here.
- Rural parts of south western Ontario. They emphasize sentemces differently, I'm trying to imagine it in my head so I can describe it, but I don't if that'd be correct. They say "oat" and "a-boat" (but not oot and a-boot as the stereotype). Also, I've only noticed this within the blue collar types in these regions.

What other accents are there that you know of? I've never actually heard any of the Newfoundlander accents.

Also, with all the immigration over recent years, and larger ethnic enclaves developing than we've ever had before, is it possible that certain areas of cities could develop their own accent (such as the Italian-American influence to create the Brooklyn accent)?

MonkeyRonin Jan 25, 2014 2:07 AM

I'm no expert on accents or anything, but to my ears there are four easily distinguishable accent groupings in Toronto (not including those of transplants and immigrants), and at least another 4 in the rest of Ontario (in which I have a lot less experience however).


There's the standard, indistinguishably North American bourgeoisie accent. Standard among the educated, upper middle class and generally throughout the inner city...basically like most any North American within this demographic. (this is my standard sober accent)

There's the Italian-Torontonian accent. Similar to the gruff Italian-influenced accents of the northeastern US but with more Canadianisms. Y'know, "aboat" and stuff. It's a bit different than Montreal's Italian Anglo accent. (I tend to slip into this accent when I'm with family or when I'm mad)

There's the accent & manner in which most working class-middle class young people speak (under 30 or so)...not sure what to call it, but it's basically the Toronto equivalent of the Multicultural London English accent, I guess. Lots of different influences (I would group the above-mentioned Jamaican-Canadian accent into this, for example), and often "unique" phrases, but it's unmistakably Torontonian. As much as I'm unable to describe it, it's something I've never heard outside of Toronto. Most prevalent in the inner suburbs, but it seems to be working its way into the inner city and the inner portions of the 905 (Mississauga, Brampton, etc.) as well. (this is how I sound when I'm around my old neighbourhood pals and/or when drinking)

There's also the still-present older variation of the working class-middle class inner suburban accent: think Mike Myers in Wayne's World. Seems to perhaps hold on to a bit of the old Irish influence, resulting in something sounding sort of half way between a Maritime accent and an Ontario accent. I can always identify it by the stressed a's - "But I still know how paahrty!"

And then there's the typical, Don Cherry Southern Ontario accent which works its way into the edges of the GTA.

In the rest of the province, you have the more nasally, American-sounding Southwestern accent, the Ottawa Valley accent, and then of course the classic Bob n' Doug Northern Ontario accent.


It's a bit tough to describe this sort of thing, but that's my best attempt anyway. I'll maybe look for some videos or audio clips later. (okay, I'm not actually going to do that)

middeljohn Jan 25, 2014 2:23 AM

Yeah I could definitely hear different ways of pronouncing for all of you. Sounds Irish, but just... not...quite. How common is it for islanders to have a non-generic Canadian accent? I've only met one person from SJs but she sounds like the rest of us.

Rusty van Reddick Jan 25, 2014 2:42 AM

Aboriginal people absolutely have distinctive accents though this is obviously more evident in on- versus off-reserve persons. I assume that there is a big difference between, say, Dene and Mi'kmaq but as most of the native people I encounter here are some variant of Blackfoot I'm not sure what those difference are. There is tonnes of academic research on this subject so get to the library.

But as to what I've observed- first, nobody says that there isn't huge linguistic diversity in Canada so I don't know why you framed this thread that way. I can hear differences in speech patters and vocabularies among Canadians from Vancouver Island, from Vancouver versus, say, Chilliwack, from rural versus non-rural Alberta, from Toronto (and not just Patois vs non-Patois; Jewish Torontonians have distinctive accents, many of them, too, as do people from all manner of ethnic groups); I know Newfoundland will have been discussed to death here so I won't but will add: Quebec. Too much fodder for discussion just in that province.

middeljohn Jan 25, 2014 2:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rusty van Reddick (Post 6421914)
Aboriginal people absolutely have distinctive accents though this is obviously more evident in on- versus off-reserve persons. I assume that there is a big difference between, say, Dene and Mi'kmaq but as most of the native people I encounter here are some variant of Blackfoot I'm not sure what those difference are. There is tonnes of academic research on this subject so get to the library.

But as to what I've observed- first, nobody says that there isn't huge linguistic diversity in Canada so I don't know why you framed this thread that way. I can hear differences in speech patters and vocabularies among Canadians from Vancouver Island, from Vancouver versus, say, Chilliwack, from rural versus non-rural Alberta, from Toronto (and not just Patois vs non-Patois; Jewish Torontonians have distinctive accents, many of them, too, as do people from all manner of ethnic groups); I know Newfoundland will have been discussed to death here so I won't but will add: Quebec. Too much fodder for discussion just in that province.

There's language diversity in Canada, but it isn't as well-known as that which exists in the States - even among Canadians I've talked about this with before. Yeah, the accent the sheriff from Corner Gas has I've definitely heard from Natives before.

I've never found Jewish Torontonians to sound different tbh. Althoigh I haven't actually met that many of them.

I purposely didn't include foreign accents since those are from people who speak english as a second language. Ditto for Quebec accent, unless you mean various accents in french? I've heard that the french varies greatly across the province, but I wouldn't be able to pick up on it as my french is at a 3 year-old's level.

softee Jan 25, 2014 3:07 AM

Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population. :P
Video Link

flar Jan 25, 2014 3:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by softee (Post 6421948)
Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population. :P
Video Link

I can't stand that accent, but I hear it a lot. It seems to be what has emerged from the multicultural mish mash in Toronto schools as it cuts across races.

MonkeyRonin Jan 25, 2014 4:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by softee (Post 6421948)
Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population. :P


Ha, yeah that's the one I was getting at in my third paragraph earlier, though that's obviously a much exaggerated version of it. :P

rousseau Jan 25, 2014 4:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by softee (Post 6421948)
Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population. :P
Video Link

Wow. I've never heard that before. I guess it's one thing to be a visitor strolling around Kensington Market on weekends, and it's quite another to be a high school student in Scarborough.

Innsertnamehere Jan 25, 2014 4:20 AM

"yo who's here bro? yo is that Omar? Oh fuck bro"

I've heard stuff like that before around here. I wouldn't call it common, but its here.. none of that "flip" crap though.

MonkeyRonin Jan 25, 2014 4:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker (Post 6422017)

EDIT: I should explain my thought process, if only to illustrate to you all what goes through my head. Wow, that fake TO accent is sexy. I wonder what the sexiest accents are? Well, I know a lot of Canada's accents are sexy. The sexiest is rural Alberta, but only if his voice is deep. OMG... remember that guy at the Ship and Anchor? Oy, Calgary... but I can't be sharing that story... what's the next sexiest accent? Well, French Canadian of course, but that's a cop-out. OH! Those guys from Montreal at the Ship. That one that looked like Ryan Gosling... yes. That story is fine. I'll share.

And I never did ask which ones YOU think are sexiest... which was my point. :( I hate my brain.


I've never thought of any Canadian accents terribly sexy - least of all that one. :haha:

On the other hand Manchester/northern England accents, young Londoners, coastal Southern (US) gentry...

White Pine Jan 25, 2014 4:23 AM

Some say there's a phenomenon called "Ottawa Valley Twang" over here. I can't confirm or deny it, as I don't get out enough in the valley or outside of it.

But you still hear a lot of "How she goin'" (or "How she goin' eh!") around here, which I take to mean some variation of "hello", and sometimes I catch myself saying "fer" and "yer".

"garage" is pronounced differently here, so I hear. Anyways, that's all I can say about my area.

MonkeyRonin Jan 25, 2014 4:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rousseau (Post 6422022)
Wow. I've never heard that before. I guess it's one thing to be a visitor strolling around Kensington Market on weekends, and it's quite another to be a high school student in Scarborough.


Yeah that's probably how like 70% of Toronto-raised people under 30 speak. But then...Toronto-raised means like not even half the people within that demographic.

MonkeyRonin Jan 25, 2014 4:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker (Post 6422037)
Oh, no, Canadian accents are sexy. Trust me.

Some of them (Milton, Ontario, springs to mind because there was a couple from there on HGTV that made me want to kill myself so as to not hear them again) are AWFUL. The most common complaint you hear from us about them is that they sound "whiny".

But these a small minority. Even the hoser accent is like... dumb straight guy in my bed for a weekender... sexy.


Whiny as in that nasally Great Lakes accent? I swear - that Minnesota accent in particular must be the worst bastardisation of the English language in existance. :haha: The Don Cherry accent is just boring. Hosery accents meanwhile do have a folksy charm. I think my favourite Canadian accent though would be the Trailer Park Boys-esque Nova Scotian accent.

middeljohn Jan 25, 2014 5:14 AM

Haha, I didn't realize that was just a Toronto thing. I had that phase too in high school (it worked it's way to Oakville too), but unlearned it. For the most part. With some people I will always start sentences with "yo bro", "sup bro". I can proudly say I haven't called anyone "guy" since gr 10 though. Flar you're right about being a multicultural thing though.

I forgot to mention the Ottawa Valley twang! I know a guy in London from that region. Definitely distinct accent. He comes from a poor upbringing too, so he grew up isolated from cities. "ar" becomes "er" for example. It's even more noticable when he starts drinking.

Razor Jan 25, 2014 6:03 AM

This has been done before, but I'll post a couple of links.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=299mce_SFoo

Never mind the fire..Listen to the accents..Especially from 3:55 on..Classic Northern Ontario

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIZ5qzbze9Q

MTLskyline Jan 25, 2014 7:27 AM

There are a few different anglophone accents in Montreal.

This Gazette link compares the accents of Montrealers of Jewish, Italian and British Isles origins. These are pretty good examples of the different accents actually. http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/...map/index.html

The differences are largely due to different anglophone communities being a bit segregated from each other without one anglo group dominating throughout the whole city.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/accent/index.html

ciudad_del_norte Jan 25, 2014 9:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by softee (Post 6421948)
Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population. :P
Video Link

Hah! That's interesting, I work with a young guy that just moved here from Toronto and although that clip is an exaggerated example there is definitely some of that in the way he talks, I always thought of it as just kind of a quirky thing he did, not an accent. I think there is more variation in Canada than we consciously hear. I hear a slight "aboot/aboat" in pretty much anybody from Ontario or Atlantic Canada. The Maritimes have a particularly hard "ar" sound that I can't replicate well without sounding pirate-ish. When i lived in Halifax people trying to imitate my 'a' as in "pan" sounded strangely upper class England English in a way that I still can't hear. A few things I've also noticed is the pronunciation of "radiator" gets weird in some places. Even between Edmonton and Calgary, Edmontonians will say "bud"/"butt" for cutting in line, every Calgarian I know says "budge". I keep meaning to ask somebody from red deer. :haha: Mostly inconsequential differences but they amuse me to no end for some reason because people are often convinced that they talk correctly and everybody else is somehow mistaken in their communication.

A lot of Canadian differences to me, at least ,seem to be more in cadence and inflection than obvious vowel sounds. It's a lot of feeling that people aren't quite sounding the same but it's hard to identify what exactly he difference is.

giallo Jan 25, 2014 9:25 AM

I'm definitely more prone to hearing different Canadian accents now compared to when I lived in Canada.

Vancouver seems to have an accent. It's hard to define, and not all the special, but I can usually tell a born-and-bred Vancouverite if I meet them in Shanghai.

The Okanagan Valley definitely has an accent. I used to get flashbacks of my sister when I'd hang out with this girl from Penticton. It wasn't just the way she pronounced words, but how she structured sentences and, of course, some of the slang. It seems like Chilliwack and Abbotsford speak like this too.

Montreal's anglo accent is VERY apparent to me. There are quite of few Montrealers in SH, and I can almost always identify where they're from.

Ontario seems to have a bunch of accents. The Bob and Doug thing is real. Toronto seems to have a few. I have a very tough time figuring out where in Ontario someone is from based on their accent.

kool maudit Jan 25, 2014 11:24 AM

montreal anglos have a few unique things, like saying "man" with a short a. it sounds kind of clipped and northeastern, even jersey if you don't watch out or are italian.

Vorkuta Jan 25, 2014 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ciudad_del_norte (Post 6422228)
The Maritimes have a particularly hard "ar" sound that I can't replicate well without sounding pirate-ish.

I never really thought about this until my wife (from southern ON, but who's been in NS/NB for about 10 years) mentioned that her family have started noticing her "maritime" accent. I asked her what they said she sounded like and she said, "kinda like a pirate". In Ontario, for example, the R on the end of "car" is softer. In the maritimes, it's more... "piratey" for lack of a better word. Drawn out. Also, in ON, you apparently park in a "gah-rawge" but in NB it's a "gradge". :D She also makes fun of the way I refer to my father; she says I sound like I'm saying "dee-add" instead of "dahd". We also like to clip out bits of words here. The last day of the week is "Sa-er-day" (mashed together) not "Sa-ter-day". Also used by myself and others I know:

"This pie is some good."
"Are ya spoze'da?" (Are you supposed to)
"Did you guys play hookey?" (skipped school)
"She was three sheets to the wind!" (drunk)
"Really reef on it, will ya?" (pull hard)
"Are car zin the gradge." (Our car is in the garage)
"Did you make the cake badder?" (cake batter)

Acajack Jan 25, 2014 1:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MTLskyline (Post 6422200)
There are a few different anglophone accents in Montreal.

This Gazette link compares the accents of Montrealers of Jewish, Italian and British Isles origins. These are pretty good examples of the different accents actually. http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/...map/index.html

The differences are largely due to different anglophone communities being a bit segregated from each other without one anglo group dominating throughout the whole city.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/accent/index.html

It's also because there is no single dominant variant of English there like there would be in a mainly anglophone city.

The dominant code you hear in public is French, not English, and so this prevents a standardized English from taking hold.

And when English is used, it's often in a variety of accents, including French, and often ''second language'' English as opposed to native speaker.

kool maudit Jan 25, 2014 1:48 PM

maritimers often sort of flatten their short vowels, so "car" becomes "ker," and "milk," "melk."

kool maudit Jan 25, 2014 1:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 6422271)
It's also because there is no single dominant variant of English there like there would be in a mainly anglophone city.

The dominant code you hear in public is French, not English, and so this prevents a standardized English from taking hold.

And when English is used, it's often in a variety of accents, including French, and often ''second language'' English as opposed to native speaker.

i don't know. until the 1960s or '70s — even the '80s in some cases — a lot of anglo montrealers lived in english and treated the city as if it were anglophone. the accents of these pre-quiet revolution old-timers are related to the modern ones; check out old interviews with mordecai richler etc.

Acajack Jan 25, 2014 1:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kool maudit (Post 6422275)
i don't know. until the 1960s or '70s — even the '80s in some cases — a lot of anglo montrealers lived in english and treated the city as if it were anglophone. the accents of these pre-quiet revolution old-timers are related to the modern ones; check out old interviews with mordecai richler etc.

This is true, but I am talking more about contemporaries. And even Richler's generation was heavily exposed to a predominance of ''second languagers''.

Mrs Sauga Jan 25, 2014 1:53 PM

It seems like every American city or state has their own accent while Canada is regarded as having just one.

To be honest, the most distinct to me seem to be Newfoundland, Quebec and then rest of Canada. I've never been able to notice any others.

I've also never heard anyone talk in that Canadain stereotype created by Americans (eg. aboot)

kool maudit Jan 25, 2014 1:55 PM

canadians always protest that they don't get the "aboot" thing*, but it's actually pretty apparent when you come to canada after spending some time away. there is a noticeable deviation from standard u.s. english on words like that, and it's vaguely scottish-sounding.

(* this is 10% because it's inexact and 90% because it sort of embarrasses people. it's also a class marker: working class and blue collar canadians sound more like this than do other ones.)

Mrs Sauga Jan 25, 2014 2:04 PM

I live in Mississauga and I've never heard it. I remember when that "I Am Canadian" commerial came out I had to ask people what he was talking about saying "ABOOT". I spent a month in Londond UK and when I came back I still didn't notice. Is it not a GTA thing??

Acajack Jan 25, 2014 2:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mrs Sauga (Post 6422282)
I live in Mississauga and I've never heard it. I remember when that "I Am Canadian" commerial came out I had to ask people what he was talking about saying "ABOOT". I spent a month in Londond UK and when I came back I still didn't notice. Is it not a GTA thing??

It's not really aboot. It's described like that with exaggeration by Americans who are unfamiliar with it and used to hearing it said abahhht.

kool maudit Jan 25, 2014 2:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mrs Sauga (Post 6422282)
I live in Mississauga and I've never heard it. I remember when that "I Am Canadian" commerial came out I had to ask people what he was talking about saying "ABOOT". I spent a month in Londond UK and when I came back I still didn't notice. Is it not a GTA thing??


it's all over the GTA, but it's maybe more subtle there. i can tell a torontonian from an american here using that exact metric. again, "aboot" isn't quite right, but there's a definite quality to that vowel sound that americans don't have. the american "about" is flatter and broader in nearly every regional case.

GreaterMontréal Jan 25, 2014 2:31 PM

Anglos in Montréal have a sound similar to how we speak french here in Qc. When you are bilingual, it becomes even more clear. Anglos here in Montréal can say '' there is a small wind'' '' ya un ptit vent '' ... they say ''I had 7 on 10 '' j'ai eu 7 sur 10 '' they use french syntax and they translate word for word. country house instead of cottage.. cottage means a 2-storey home. close the light , open the lights. etc.... all-dressed pizza everybody ?

Mrs Sauga Jan 25, 2014 2:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kool maudit (Post 6422287)
it's all over the GTA, but it's maybe more subtle there. i can tell a torontonian from an american here using that exact metric. again, "aboot" isn't quite right, but there's a definite quality to that vowel sound that americans don't have. the american "about" is flatter and broader in nearly every regional case.

I'm gonna try to listening to a Canadian news show and then CNN and see if I can spot it.

GreaterMontréal Jan 25, 2014 2:54 PM

again and again ... agayn agen

Trevor3 Jan 25, 2014 3:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kool maudit (Post 6422274)
maritimers often sort of flatten their short vowels, so "car" becomes "ker," and "milk," "melk."

I do the "melk" thing, if I heard it pronounced like "ilk" I would ask that person when they became the Queen.

Have never heard "ker" though.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mrs Sauga (Post 6422277)
It seems like every American city or state has their own accent while Canada is regarded as having just one.

To be honest, the most distinct to me seem to be Newfoundland, Quebec and then rest of Canada. I've never been able to notice any others.

I've also never heard anyone talk in that Canadain stereotype created by Americans (eg. aboot)

I haven't heard it used in person, but there was a commercial for maybe workplace safety or something like it with a woman from Ontario or Saskatchewan (I know the woman was a nurse in the commercial) and she spoke with the "aboot" thing. It used to come on during hockey games I think.

kwoldtimer Jan 25, 2014 3:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by middeljohn (Post 6422100)
Haha, I didn't realize that was just a Toronto thing. I had that phase too in high school (it worked it's way to Oakville too), but unlearned it. For the most part. With some people I will always start sentences with "yo bro", "sup bro". I can proudly say I haven't called anyone "guy" since gr 10 though. Flar you're right about being a multicultural thing though.

I forgot to mention the Ottawa Valley twang! I know a guy in London from that region. Definitely distinct accent. He comes from a poor upbringing too, so he grew up isolated from cities. "ar" becomes "er" for example. It's even more noticable when he starts drinking.

All the variants people are speaking about seem to reflect lower class/less educated speech patterns. The Ottawa Valley thing definitely exists, as does the Rideau Valley accent, which can actually be mistaken for a Newfoundland accent (heavy Irish influence).

Personally, I think I sound like Peter Mansbridge ( :D ) although when I lived in D.C. I was sometimes asked if I was from Wisconsin or Minnesota.

Komatiite Jan 25, 2014 3:50 PM

Big disparity between Swampy Cree, Oji-Cree, and Metis accents in Manitoba. Also a strong rural vs urban divide in white communities, as well as being split along ethic background (e.g. 3rd generation Mennonite, Ukranian, and French will all sound much, much different). Classic Canadian-guy accent represents a small portion.

kwoldtimer Jan 25, 2014 3:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kool maudit (Post 6422275)
i don't know. until the 1960s or '70s — even the '80s in some cases — a lot of anglo montrealers lived in english and treated the city as if it were anglophone. the accents of these pre-quiet revolution old-timers are related to the modern ones; check out old interviews with mordecai richler etc.

I used to find the pronunciation of the old Montreal anglo community (ie British ancestry) to be slightly more "clipped" (precise? I can't find a good word to describe it) sounding than that of points west. I always felt that west of Montreal there was very little variation in standard Canadian English. Things have changed over the last thirty or forty years however.

Today, as has been pointed out, you can sometimes hear the slightest hint of a French Quebec accent in the speech of some anglo Montrealers. That's apart from the use of French words and phrasings.

kwoldtimer Jan 25, 2014 4:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 6422284)
It's not really aboot. It's described like that with exaggeration by Americans who are unfamiliar with it and used to hearing it said abahhht.

More like "abahwt", but yeah. Some as the distinctive U.S. and Canadian pronunciations of "house" (i.e. hahwse in the States vs Canada's "howse").

lio45 Jan 25, 2014 4:09 PM

I'm really impressed by how fine-tuned your ears are... able to tell between different areas of Ontario? To my ears (and I've traveled all over the continent) there are basically two different Anglo accents that I can really distinguish in North America, U.S. deep south (found from east TX to the Carolinas, mostly outside cities), and North-American-non-U.S.-Southern. (Includes all Canadians... oh, actually not Newfoundlanders any more, now that I've heard videos, thanks SHH ;))


Having said that, I can immediately and effortlessly tell a Saguenay accent, even more easily a Gaspésie accent, and it's easy to tell from which area of France someone comes based on the accent (and if Belgian or Swiss instead), so I suppose that your amazing skills (to me) are just normal. I can actually even recognize a Sorel-specific accent, but the kids nowadays have of course zero accent, only people 50/60 or older, more or less. I think people my age and younger from southern Quebec don't really have regional accents any more.



I wonder how long it takes to develop that ability to recognize and identify ridiculously small differences in accent if you're not a native speaker... it's likely the very last thing you develop... or maybe never?

kwoldtimer Jan 25, 2014 4:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lio45 (Post 6422362)
I'm really impressed by how fine-tuned your ears are... able to tell between different areas of Ontario? To my ears (and I've traveled all over the continent) there are basically two different Anglo accents that I can really distinguish in North America, U.S. deep south (found from east TX to the Carolinas, mostly outside cities), and North-American-non-U.S.-Southern. (Includes all Canadians... oh, actually not Newfoundlanders any more, now that I've heard videos, thanks SHH ;))


Having said that, I can immediately and effortlessly tell a Saguenay accent, even more easily a Gaspésie accent, and it's easy to tell from which area of France someone comes based on the accent (and if Belgian or Swiss instead), so I suppose that your amazing skills (to me) are just normal. I can actually even recognize a Sorel-specific accent, but the kids nowadays have of course zero accent, only people 50/60 or older, more or less. I think people my age and younger from southern Quebec don't really have regional accents any more.



I wonder how long it takes to develop that ability to recognize and identify ridiculously small differences in accent if you're not a native speaker... it's likely the very last thing you develop... or maybe never?

In my experience, is far more difficult to hear accents in a foreign language unless they are very pronounced. I am fluent in Spanish for example, but can't really pick out the differences among Central American accents, although all my CentAm acquaintances can immediately tell which country someone is from. As for Canadian French, I could probably tell if someone was a Quebecker or Acadian, but that's about it. It also depends on the amount of exposure - I have on occasion mistaken New Zealanders for Australians, much to their displeasure!

matt602 Jan 25, 2014 4:42 PM

Hamilton is about the same as Toronto for the most part but a lot less of the Jamaican and multicultural accents and more maritime and Western Canada accents, especially in the North end around the steel mills. Sometimes I even come across some that sound like a Southern US dialect, it's quite interesting.

Mine is just your standard, white person Torontonian accent with some occasional slight German/Eastern European thrown in there when I'm drinking or around family.

MonctonRad Jan 25, 2014 5:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by White Pine (Post 6422036)
Some say there's a phenomenon called "Ottawa Valley Twang" over here. I can't confirm or deny it, as I don't get out enough in the valley or outside of it.

When I was a radiology resident in Halifax, there was a guy doing a fellowship in the department who was from the upper Ottawa River valley. He sounded exactly like a Newfoundlander! He couldn't see it.

The funny thing is that after his fellowship, he started practicing in Corner Brook. I'm sure he fit right in!! :haha:

GreatTallNorth2 Jan 25, 2014 5:27 PM

Spending 2+ years in the UK interacting with people all the time. They loved to make fun of my "ooot" and "abooot". And yes, we do say it and its very noticeable to people from UK and USA. People in the UK say a-bow-t (as in taking a bow).

Some of those Montrealers english accents are very cool. And Newfoundland accent definitely sounds more Irish/Scouse than standard Canadian - and I love it. I bet east coast people have a great sense of humour. Probably less influenced by America and can laugh at themselves like the British.

theman23 Jan 25, 2014 6:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by softee (Post 6421948)
Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population. :P
Video Link

This is the Toronto gangsta accent.

It's pretty embarrassing. I hope they grow out of it.

kwoldtimer Jan 25, 2014 6:07 PM

To me, he sounded like a typical Torontonian until he slipped into that weird patois.

GreaterMontréal Jan 25, 2014 6:11 PM

lol. at least, you didn't use Rob Ford in his last drunken stupor

Video Link

giallo Jan 25, 2014 9:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kool maudit (Post 6422287)
it's all over the GTA, but it's maybe more subtle there. i can tell a torontonian from an american here using that exact metric. again, "aboot" isn't quite right, but there's a definite quality to that vowel sound that americans don't have. the american "about" is flatter and broader in nearly every regional case.

Yup. Ontarians are the biggest users of the ''aboat/oat'' pronunciations in my experience. It's how I can identify whether someone is from Ontario are not when abroad. Anglo Montrealers don't seem to do it and it gets softer the further west you.

I think the reason Americans have so much fun with it is because it's actually quite jarring when you first hear it. You'll be talking to someone, and be thinking, "Ok, where is this person from? California? Florida? New York?", then, BAM! "Aboat". It just doesn't match the rest of the accent. It hard to explain, but it really is apparent.

"Sorry" is another word that Canadians pronounce noticeably different.

GlassCity Jan 25, 2014 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GreatTallNorth2 (Post 6422451)
Spending 2+ years in the UK interacting with people all the time. They loved to make fun of my "ooot" and "abooot". And yes, we do say it and its very noticeable to people from UK and USA. People in the UK say a-bow-t (as in taking a bow).

Some of those Montrealers english accents are very cool. And Newfoundland accent definitely sounds more Irish/Scouse than standard Canadian - and I love it. I bet east coast people have a great sense of humour. Probably less influenced by America and can laugh at themselves like the British.

The a-bow-t is exactly how I say it too. From my personal experiences the farther east you go the more you get the stereotypical Canadian accent. Like when I watch Canada's worst driver I always notice his pronunciation of car very interesting (ker) People from around here for the most part sound like everybody on TV.

rousseau Jan 25, 2014 11:54 PM

It's "aboat," not "aboot." "Aboot" is Scottish. The Canadian one is more pronounced the less educated you get.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GlassCity (Post 6422866)
People from around here for the most part sound like everybody on TV.

Not really. The west tends to use flatter As and Os. The instant giveaway is how Americans say "kah-llege" by contrast with how westerners say it. Interestingly, people in Ontario actually sound closer to the standard white western USA accent just below the border of Vancouver than people in BC do (save for "aboat"), but we sound very different from the "northern cities vowel shift" in Buffalo and Detroit ("kayallege" in Buffalo, "kahlllege" in Ontario).

Check out the classic western accent in the video below. At about 1:37 he says "man" with a very flat A, where in Ontario it would be a more American "mayan."

Video Link

middeljohn Jan 25, 2014 11:56 PM

There's a definite American influence on how Windsorites talk. Eg. Kahrmel instead of Kehremel.


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