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  #81  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 7:56 PM
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
The accent is somewhat different but also they jump right into talking about random things that I don't expect. There is a weird impedance mismatch. I usually just mutter something or say hello then leave.
That's a good observation. A dialect is not only tone, rhythm and cadence, but also the position of content in a spoken sentence, all of which can catch you off guard.

America is just a much more exhibitionist/expressive culture. The difference between American expressiveness and Canadian reticence takes on all forms. It's not just the way they talk, it's also public displays of written communication: all the bumper stickers on their cars; their roadway signs, which are both bigger and more numerous ("Be a Hero, Report Carpool Lane Violators","Adopt a Highway Next 4 Miles: Kiwanis Club of Mount Vernon"); the size of their billboards, and the kinds of things that they advertise.

At the end of the day, the United States and Canada are very different places with very different people and very different values. I'm not necessarily saying ours are always better, but I can't understand how some people seem to think that there are few differences between the two countries.
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  #82  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:02 PM
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^ I find those differences to be fairly minor for the most part.
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  #83  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:07 PM
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Here's how I look at Canada:

Pacific Canada or British Columbia
Canadian Prairies (AB, SK, MB)
Canadian Great Lakes Region or Ontario
Laurentian Canada or Quebec
Atlantic Canada (NS, NB, PEI, NL)
Northwestern Canada (YT, NWT)
Arctic Canada or Nunavut
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  #84  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:08 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
At the end of the day, the United States and Canada are very different places with very different people and very different values. I'm not necessarily saying ours are always better, but I can't understand how some people seem to think that there are few differences between the two countries.
Really? I'd say the opposite, very similar places by global standards.

A couple years ago, we had French relatives coming to visit. My parents took a couple weeks off and took them on a loop: Montreal, Ottawa, Thousand Islands, Toronto, Niagara Falls, NYC, Boston, and back home. They loved their trip but you can be sure they didn't spot all the little things you're talking about. Certainly not minor regional differences in accent and speech, as they don't speak any English (one powerful reason right there for my dad to go with them).
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  #85  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:10 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
That's a good observation. A dialect is not only tone, rhythm and cadence, but also the position of content in a spoken sentence, all of which can catch you off guard.

America is just a much more exhibitionist/expressive culture. The difference between American expressiveness and Canadian reticence takes on all forms. It's not just the way they talk, it's also public displays of written communication: all the bumper stickers on their cars; their roadway signs, which are both bigger and more numerous ("Be a Hero, Report Carpool Lane Violators","Adopt a Highway Next 4 Miles: Kiwanis Club of Mount Vernon"); the size of their billboards, and the kinds of things that they advertise.

At the end of the day, the United States and Canada are very different places with very different people and very different values. I'm not necessarily saying ours are always better, but I can't understand how some people seem to think that there are few differences between the two countries.
With the caveat, of course, that your description of Americans applies better to many parts of Canada, especially mine, than your description of Canadians.
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  #86  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Really? I'd say the opposite, very similar places by global standards.

A couple years ago, we had French relatives coming to visit. My parents took a couple weeks off and took them on a loop: Montreal, Ottawa, Thousand Islands, Toronto, Niagara Falls, NYC, Boston, and back home. They loved their trip but you can be sure they didn't spot all the little things you're talking about. Certainly not minor regional differences in accent and speech, as they don't speak any English (one powerful reason right there for my dad to go with them).
I would have said that, despite differences, there's considerable overlap/commonality wrt values.
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  #87  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:12 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
The difference between American expressiveness and Canadian reticence takes on all forms. It's not just the way they talk,
If clearly perceivable differences in "the way they talk" is now enough to declare places to be "very different" culturally, then I can confirm that Provence and Languedoc are "very different".

Needless to say, by global standards they aren't. Locally, sure, someone from Village A can immediately spot a "stranger" from Village B downriver, but such standards actually minimize the vast differences that can actually be found on this planet, because if French Village A is considered "very different" from French Village B, you'll need to invent new words to be able to describe how different French Village A is from Mumbai or Jakarta.
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  #88  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:30 PM
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Michigan being "Yankee" in the US context makes sense given the western migration paths. Michigan is the most "Yankee" state of the Midwest culturally (as its settlers came from New England/western New York).
There's also the question of what time period of settlement is needed to define a "regional" affiliation. If it happened so long ago, it is relevant today if the influence is lost?

If New Orleans and Quebec were both settled by New France, but obviously there's a huge difference between the two in actually hanging on to the French influence vs. losing it, does it make sense to lump them together based on a culture they once shared but no longer?

After all, Michigan was part of New France too. New York was New Amsterdam. But these influences are so distant that it can be odd to claim they're defining features of the area today. Conversely, very recent influences (eg. Miami's post 1950s and 60s Cuban and other Latin American connections) can be claimed to define regions, and override the previous affiliations (eg. Miami is claimed to be too Caribbean-influenced to be "Dixie" or Louisiana is too "Dixie"-influenced to be New France).

What's the founding connection of Canadian regions to the American regions also depends on if you care about differences that existed before the American Revolution (eg. Quebec, Maritimes and New England), around the time of, or shortly after (eg. which Loyalists settled where in Ontario), or much after (eg. Ecotopia when the environmentalist, left-wing, hippie movement happened much later, in the later years of the 20th century).
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  #89  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:33 PM
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The first law of geography (not a real law): all things are related, but close things are more related to others.

Also not a real law, but a useful rule of thumb: language = culture. A cultural gulf is proportional to differences in language, with the widest gulf being entirely separate language families with no historical connection (Korean & Basque) and the closest being accent differences (Queens accent vs. Brooklyn accent).

In that sense, of course, Canada and the US are going to be close to one another culturally by global standards.

But, given all their commonalities, living in Canada is a very different thing than living in the US (I have lived in both), and I was surprised how a lot of cultural features on one side of the border don't travel into the other. These aren't minor trivialities like comparing Exxon to Esso, or Tim Horton's to Dunkin Donuts. These are major life-defining things like rates of church attendance. There are things that can't actually be explained by simple regression models: why does suburban, postwar Scarborough have a higher transit ridership than inner city Philadelphia? Why does Connecticut have a higher gun ownership rate than the Northwest Territories? Why does British Columbia have 1/3 lower rates of obesity compared with neighbouring Washington? I think these differences are more stark than the differences in similar metrics between, say, Wallonia and France or Austria and Germany or Uruguay and Argentina.
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  #90  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:36 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
(Queens accent vs. Brooklyn accent).
NYC accents are based on ethnicity and class, not borough-based. There's no such thing as a specific Queens or Brooklyn accent.

(I know there's that "borough accents" video that's gone viral but it's more based on stereotypes - the Bronx is "tough", Manhattan is "fast-paced", Queens is "boring" etc.)

Last edited by Docere; Apr 12, 2018 at 8:46 PM.
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  #91  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:44 PM
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That being said, you're on to something about national differences. For instance, there are people that argue Toronto is like a Sunbelt city not an old Eastern city because it grew quickly after WWII and has denser suburbs. No, it's a Canadian city. These two things are coincidental. It's a good example of missing the forest for the trees-type analysis.
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  #92  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:46 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
These aren't minor trivialities like comparing Exxon to Esso, or Tim Horton's to Dunkin Donuts. These are major life-defining things like rates of church attendance.
Yeah, "major" things like rates of Anglican church attendance... in a world where there's countless unrelated, completely alien religions. I rest my case
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  #93  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:49 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
The first law of geography (not a real law): all things are related, but close things are more related to others.

Also not a real law, but a useful rule of thumb: language = culture. A cultural gulf is proportional to differences in language, with the widest gulf being entirely separate language families with no historical connection (Korean & Basque) and the closest being accent differences (Queens accent vs. Brooklyn accent).

In that sense, of course, Canada and the US are going to be close to one another culturally by global standards.

But, given all their commonalities, living in Canada is a very different thing than living in the US (I have lived in both), and I was surprised how a lot of cultural features on one side of the border don't travel into the other. These aren't minor trivialities like comparing Exxon to Esso, or Tim Horton's to Dunkin Donuts. These are major life-defining things like rates of church attendance. There are things that can't actually be explained by simple regression models: why does suburban, postwar Scarborough have a higher transit ridership than inner city Philadelphia? Why does Connecticut have a higher gun ownership rate than the Northwest Territories? Why does British Columbia have 1/3 lower rates of obesity compared with neighbouring Washington? I think these differences are more stark than the differences in similar metrics between, say, Wallonia and France or Austria and Germany or Uruguay and Argentina.
All true, but it's inaccurate to consider these differences representative of Canada versus the United States. They're really just representative of Scarborough versus Philly, and Connecticut versus NWT.

You can find many regions of Canada that vary just as much or more from what you're describing as the Canadian version of these things.

For example, your examples...

Public transit use by CMA
Toronto, ON - 24.3%
Canadian average - 12.4%
St. John's, NL - 3.1%

Gun ownership by province
1. NL - 14,239 per 100K residents
10. ON - 4,362 per 100K residents

Obesity by province
1. NL - 33.9%
10. BC - 19.2%

There are very, very few things that are uniform across Canada - and they tend to be so abstract that they're likely shared by most North Americans at minimum.
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  #94  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:50 PM
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In the US, Episcopalians are traditionally the "posh" denomination, while the the more middling sort of white Protestants are Methodists. In Canada, I'm pretty sure the social differences between the United Church and Anglicans are pretty minor.
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  #95  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 8:50 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
I think these differences are more stark than the differences in similar metrics between, say, Wallonia and France or Austria and Germany or Uruguay and Argentina.
But even if they are, no one here has ever tried to say Wallonia was "very different" from France. If they did, I'd correct them too (having spent time in both).

By global standards, if I say Wallonia and France are very very similar while Canada and the U.S. are very similar, I'm not disagreeing with the part of your post I've quoted above...
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  #96  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 9:08 PM
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Though it would produce an amusing chuckle to clarify that you meant "Ontario's west coast." Which nobody actually says, as it's a fanciful term concocted by the tourism-minded Huron county government. We just say Lake Huron. Or maybe "the lake," as it's pretty clear which one you mean when you're around here.
Norfolk County does some thing similar, "Explore Ontario's South Coast". Which in Norfolk means Turkey Point or Port Dover 90% of time so you just say that.

I don't think it's out of the ordinary to say the west coast instead of BC though. Seems just as common as east coast.
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  #97  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
All true, but it's inaccurate to consider these differences representative of Canada versus the United States. They're really just representative of Scarborough versus Philly, and Connecticut versus NWT.

You can find many regions of Canada that vary just as much or more from what you're describing as the Canadian version of these things.

For example, your examples...

Public transit use by CMA
Toronto, ON - 24.3%
Canadian average - 12.4%
St. John's, NL - 3.1%

Gun ownership by province
1. NL - 14,239 per 100K residents
10. ON - 4,362 per 100K residents

Obesity by province
1. NL - 33.9%
10. BC - 19.2%

There are very, very few things that are uniform across Canada - and they tend to be so abstract that they're likely shared by most North Americans at minimum.
I'm surprised about the gun ownership. Is there a particular reason for this? I've never heard of Newfoundland gun culture. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be implying that these things are not uniform across Canada, when in fact they generally are, and these statistics do more to highlight the differences Newfoundland has vs "Mainland Canada", because the trends hipster duck noted are fairly uniform across Canada, even in Quebec. Obesity rates are lower, gun ownership is lower, and transit ridership is higher.
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  #98  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2018, 11:35 PM
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I don't agree that either of those three things are very uniform across Canada. Urban versus rural, north versus south, established versus transient - they can fluctuate pretty widely. Surely Sydney has stats comparable to ours, and far removed from Richmond, for example.

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  #99  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2018, 1:11 AM
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I've actually found that despite the prominence of guns in American culture, urban Canada and the urban US don't feel that different in terms of the feeling that guns or gun culture are all around you (unless an event happens involving a gun and is in the news). The difference seems more rural.

If I walk around most US big cities, be it New York, Boston, Denver, Californian cities etc. I don't get the feel like the average joe is more gun-obsessed than Torontonians, Vancouverites, Montrealers etc. On an intellectual level I know that the New Yorker is more likely to be packing heat than the Torontonian, but even if he or she has a gun somewhere in the car or stored in some cupboard, my default expectation is I'm not thinking or expecting a gun to be pulled out any given moment. Living and talking among urban Americans, guns don't come up any more in conversation than among urban Canadians, unless the issue itself is gun control and other related politics.
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  #100  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2018, 1:17 AM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
The first law of geography (not a real law): all things are related, but close things are more related to others.

Also not a real law, but a useful rule of thumb: language = culture. A cultural gulf is proportional to differences in language, with the widest gulf being entirely separate language families with no historical connection (Korean & Basque) and the closest being accent differences (Queens accent vs. Brooklyn accent).

In that sense, of course, Canada and the US are going to be close to one another culturally by global standards.

But, given all their commonalities, living in Canada is a very different thing than living in the US (I have lived in both), and I was surprised how a lot of cultural features on one side of the border don't travel into the other. These aren't minor trivialities like comparing Exxon to Esso, or Tim Horton's to Dunkin Donuts. These are major life-defining things like rates of church attendance. There are things that can't actually be explained by simple regression models: why does suburban, postwar Scarborough have a higher transit ridership than inner city Philadelphia? Why does Connecticut have a higher gun ownership rate than the Northwest Territories? Why does British Columbia have 1/3 lower rates of obesity compared with neighbouring Washington? I think these differences are more stark than the differences in similar metrics between, say, Wallonia and France or Austria and Germany or Uruguay and Argentina.
I've lived in both Canada and the US for some time, and I suspect that many posters here have similar experiences too based on how many people are familiar with and talk with ease about both countries.

I find our experiences all vary in whether we see Canada and the US as super different or super similar.

I personally feel that on a day to day basis living as a Canadian in the US, I don't sense a difference unless some thing comes up that reminds me among my American peers that I'm not "one of them" (eg. someone brings up say the Constitution in a political discussion and I still find it hard to relate to their reverence for the Constitution as a mythologized, almost sacred document, in and of itself).

I think the differences are also less in more big cities or more left-leaning cities. The religiosity thing isn't too different I find between Canada and the US in the largest cities (people have tried to convert me to their religion in both countries but in most big cities people are "live and let live").
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