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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:00 AM
middeljohn middeljohn is offline
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Speech pattern 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)?
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:07 AM
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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)
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:23 AM
middeljohn middeljohn is offline
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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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:42 AM
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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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty van Reddick View Post
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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 3:07 AM
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Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 3:32 AM
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Originally Posted by softee View Post
Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population.
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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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softee View Post
Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population.

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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softee View Post
Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population.
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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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:20 AM
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"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.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:21 AM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post

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.

On the other hand Manchester/northern England accents, young Londoners, coastal Southern (US) gentry...
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:23 AM
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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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:26 AM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:40 AM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
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. 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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 5:14 AM
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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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 6:03 AM
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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
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 7:27 AM
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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
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 9:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softee View Post
Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population.
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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. 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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 9:25 AM
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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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 11:24 AM
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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.
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