Lol! Yay, expertise.
I'm a Canadian, and I've done a little bit of travelling. From personal experience, I haven't had any Americans pick up that I'm Canadian.
Lounging on a beach chair in Mexico I got into a conversation with a nice middle-aged couple about our hotel... and I shifted my leg and the wife noticed my tattoo. (I've got a Canadian flag tattooed to my thigh. I know. How patriotic of me.) We'd been talking for ten minutes, but it took the tattoo to get her all excited and "Ooooh, are you Canadian!?"ish.
And then we spent another half hour talking about the (apparant)ridiculousness that is the lack of sports scholarships to Universities here.
My long-winded point, I suppose, is that most people never notice the difference.
Stereotypically speaking, we do say "about" differently. Americans tend to pronounce the "OW" more. To them, "Ow!", "Out", and "About" contain the same vowel sound.
Whereas to Canadians, there's a subtle difference, and when some of us get lazy in our speaking, it tends to pop out more like "aboot" than "ab-OW-t."
Canadian commercial which features "Joe" saying "about" in it the exact same way I would:
Hehe, god I love that commercial.
[ Edit: Edited at Oct 9, 2006 10:10 AM by Jelbee ]
As one who was born in Ohio, but who has lived in New England, the Middle Atlantic States, and the South, as well as having traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada, my problem with the posed question is that I do not think that there exists any such thing as a common U.S. accent. Although the mass media and extensive travel have diluted regional accents, I can tell you from experience that listening to someone from Maine try to communicate with someone from the deep South can be both amusing and enlightening. Midwestern and Western accents and dialects are also much in evidence, and even to the untrained ear, are tip offs concerning where the speaker grew up. As for Canadians, are we speaking about those from the Province of Quebec where English is often spoken with a French accent, or those from the Maritime Provinces where speech more closely resembles that of the New Englanders, or are we discussing the hockey players from all over the nation who can easily be understood by anyone south of the border, eh?
My Canadian friend hates when people think she is American. She says the accents are completely different.
Eventhough, i lived in Canada for a year, i really cannot tell if somebodies accent is Canadian or American
I think of the Canadian accent when I think of Peter Mansbridge, my Directv used to have the CBC news every night, which I actually thought is much better than the American versions!!
"American" accents are diverse, I suppose the quintissential one is spoken by folks in the Western states. Most areas east of the Rockies have a distinct regional accent, making it easy to identify where they are from.
I noticed that Canadians say "organIzation" ("I" is pronounced as in High) which is a definite giveaway that they are Canadian.
[ Edit: Edited at Oct 17, 2006 3:42 PM by menton1 ]