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Canadian and American accents

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1. Posted by mat44 (Full Member 58 posts) 8y

i have to ask this... From an Australian point of view Canadians and Americans have very similar accents and most Australian's can't tell them apart. Is this the case with Americans and Canadians or is their a fairly big difference in the to accents?

I would think that the two countries could very easily reconize a fellow citizen.

2. Posted by Isadora (Moderator 13924 posts) 8y

I find that the Canadians who have the "strongest" accent are those who speak Quebeqois, which is French with a slight twist. I have heard people from France refer to it as "common" or "peasant" French. But, to most Americans, it just sounds like a French accent. The Canadians who speak English as their language are noticable because of their pronunciation of certian words - such as about. We say it and it rhymes with out - they say it and it rhymes with boot. It's small things like that which help distinguish the differences between American and Canadian accents.

3. Posted by mat44 (Full Member 58 posts) 8y

ok thanks for that. just to clarify though, if a Canadian didnt use any distinguishing words like about or any others could you not tel the difference?

4. Posted by Isadora (Moderator 13924 posts) 8y

Again, unless they were distinctly Quebeqois - probably not - not by accent anyway. Though I can't think of an example immediately, there are certain words and terms that Canadians use for things that we don't. So, that would also be a clue as to origin.

The US has several different "accents" or "dialects" already. We can usually tell if someone is from Maine or Vermont by thier accent. New Yorkers have theirs, the midwest and the southern states also have theirs. Northern Minnesotans and Michiganers can be confused as being Canadian. The accents are close in nature in some areas. (I know - I'm from Minnesota and still slip into that accent - think the movie Fargo!) We have so many different speach patterns here that Americans can't really be lumped into one catagory anyway. But, to a foreign ear - we do rather sound all alike.

5. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7274 posts) 8y

You're talking about two really big countries. The accents differ from one province or state to the next, let alone between countries. I find that anglos living in the west of Montreal, for example, have twangier accents than the east - and we're talking about a 30-minute drive.

Newfoundlanders have a distinctly Irish accent, and the Acadians in New Brunswick have a strange mix of English and French. Nova Scotians have Scottish roots, so they have a unique way of pronouncing certain words. Native people have a very unique way of speaking - almost like the emphasis is put of different syllables. Go out west to BC and you'll find something different, too.

I guess from an outsider's POV, though, that it can all sound very much the same. Even to echo Isa, to me it's a cinch to tell the French accent from the Quebecois - although I'm up a creek distinguishing between, say, Chicaogo and Philly accents. I also have the hardest time telling Australian from NZ accents, and boy did I hear it from the kiwi I brought that up to!

6. Posted by Bogman (Budding Member 61 posts) 8y

I'm a canadian living in the USA, 15 miles south of hte border (in NY). I find that my accent is far more similar to someone from Vancouver than it is with an American 30 miles from where I grew up (but across the border). The USA has far more pronounced regional dialects than Canadians (with the anglo-franco difference most obvious). There is something different about the accents though, as people know I'm Canadian as soon as I open my mouth.

I heard the craziest accent this morning on CBC radio...a woman, obviously francophone, who lived in an outport community in Quebec but near Labrador. Imagine a francophone speaking english but having learned that accent from Newfoundlanders! Amazing...I should have taped it.

7. Posted by TeflonCDN (Full Member 113 posts) 8y

people from France refer to it as "common" or "peasant" French.

________

Peasant French???? A bit of history would be helpfull! The British took over New France (Quebec) in 1760. Quebecer's of the time spoke the language of the higher French social classes and nobility. The conquest by the British cut contact between Quebec and France and put an end to the parralel evolution of the French language in Quebec and France.

The French Revolution was in 1789, the poor won! Most of the people with the "proper" French accent were beheaded. Those that survived quickly adoped the accents of the new ruling class, ie., the French Peasant!

The bottom line is that the words that are now seen as the "peasant" French from Quebec is actually the "proper" pre-revolutionary pronunciation (ie., like the nobles) from France, most notably for the words "moi" et "toi"...

8. Posted by Belize Me (Full Member 137 posts) 8y

If you hear someone say 'eh' (pronounced like a long a as in lake) at the end of almost every sentence, chances are they're Canadian

9. Posted by Belize Me (Full Member 137 posts) 8y

Quoting Showdogs1

Peasant French???? A bit of history would be helpfull!....
....The conquest by the British cut contact between Quebec and France and put an end to the parralel evolution of the French language in Quebec and France.

Geez...the Brits get blamed for everything

10. Posted by Isadora (Moderator 13924 posts) 8y

Quoting Showdogs1

people from France refer to it as "common" or "peasant" French.

________

Peasant French???? A bit of history would be helpfull! The British took over New France (Quebec) in 1760. Quebecer's of the time spoke the language of the higher French social classes and nobility. The conquest by the British cut contact between Quebec and France and put an end to the parralel evolution of the French language in Quebec and France.

The French Revolution was in 1789, the poor won! Most of the people with the "proper" French accent were beheaded. Those that survived quickly adoped the accents of the new ruling class, ie., the French Peasant!

The bottom line is that the words that are now seen as the "peasant" French from Quebec is actually the "proper" pre-revolutionary pronunciation (ie., like the nobles) from France, most notably for the words "moi" et "toi"...

It's not my fault! I was just the messenger! I speak Minnesotan. (Considered peasant Canadian in some circles...) (Actually, I said "I have heard people from France refer to it as "common" or "peasant" French." Guess you need to take this issue up with them...)