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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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  #2  
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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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:09 AM
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I'm going to start offering Newfoundland English lessons; see if anyone is willing to pay for them.

Here's a starter course...

Quote:
Lesson 1: Forget everything you think you know about past tense. Simply insert the word "after".

Present (or future, whatever) tense: I'm going to the store
Past tense: I'm after going to the store

Lesson 2: "You" cannot be plural and pretending it can makes you sound ridiculous. When referencing more than one individual, always use "Ye".

Lesson 3: "Some" means "Very". "Right" means "Very Very".

I'm some hungry.
I'm right hungry.

Lesson 4: Replace "Eh" at the end of your sentences with "Sure" at the beginning of them.

WRONG: I know what's going on, eh!
RIGHT: Sure I know what's going on!

For extra credit, pluralize all verbs.

Lesson 5: Don't go UP at random PLACES in your SENTENCES like you're asking a QUESTION because that instantly identifies YOU as a MAINLANDER?
I recorded this a while ago trying to see if anyone agreed my Uncle (old East End St. John's accent, one of the three main, very different ones in the city) sounded American. They didn't. The other two voices are my mother and I. We all have slightly different accents.

Video Link


And here is a great example of the more refined accent in St. John's, that of Gordon Pinsent. Every single person who speaks in this clip is from Newfoundland, so you can hear a few of the different accents:

Video Link


And this is what we sound like when we're making fun of ourselves. There are some regions of the province, for example Grand Beach, that actually sound like this.

Video Link
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  #4  
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, 2:30 AM
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There are a few pockets of the province where people are quite likely to sound Canadian, but 99.9% of the population does not. And that extends farther than Newfoundland and Labrador. Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, and much of rural Nova Scotia have accents that would sound foreign (and, I expect, close to identical) to someone from Southern Ontario or another country.

One more funny one for you...

A few girls from the U.K. in St. John's. The woman who posted the video was incredulous that Newfoundland is the only place where her proper English had to be translated by a Geordie to be understood.

Video Link
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  #6  
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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  #7  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:54 AM
middeljohn middeljohn is offline
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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.
Video Link
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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.
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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 3:35 AM
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I'm actually kinda attracted to that accent. And I've not heard it before (my interactions with Torontonians have all been professional).
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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, 4:09 AM
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The Ship Inn here often brings in performers from Toronto and Montreal. They're never truly famous, of course, but they usually have at least a couple of CDs, t-shirts, etc. for sale.

There was a band of two guys from Montreal, anglophone (I assume... flawless English, in any event) who sang Case of You by Joni Mitchell a capella, duet.

You ever catch yourself forgetting your face listening to music? And suddenly realize your face is distorted and hideous because you were following along? It was like that, but a whole body experience. Still one of the sexiest accents I've ever heard.

And I almost fainted when one of them said, "It's our first time east of Quebec. I never knew this city had such soul." Complimenting St. John's is the second-most flattering thing someone can do for me. The first, of course, is give me a pulled pork sandwich. From Winnipeg because THEY BARELY EXIST HERE AND THE ONES THAT ARE HERE SUCK.

*****

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.
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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.
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.
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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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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:21 AM
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Quote:
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, 4:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin View Post
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...
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.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:26 AM
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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.

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, 4:45 AM
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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.
Ugh...

****ing Nova Scotia. Stealing everything I love...

I'm Ryan:

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