Canadian vs. American English

I have come to like the Montreal Anglophone accent quite a lot. It sounds very precise, actually kind of roughly direct when men speak. No French influence to speak of. I live in Northern Vermont (not a Vermonter myself) and I find that the locals here have a somewhat similar accent. The Plattsburgh New York (right across Lake Champlain) dialect sounds like something entirely different. The one phrase I have found to be quite amusing up here is men calling their wives their “old lady.”

I might remark that, here, Canadians are not so highly regarded. Their’s a running joke that if someone is tailgating you on the highway it’s almost surely a Québéc plate. They bring a lot of tourist dollars here, and apparently consumer products are cheaper on this side of the border so they come for that, but I’ve been told they treat store employees badly and tip poorly in restaurants. Quite a few people have looked at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that I love Québéc.

Interesting the way you placed the word “okay” in your post struck me as very Canadian. You can add that to your list with about!

I’m from the Northwest of United States and we get Canadians around the area occasionally. I can’t really tell. There’s some subtle things like about (aboot?) and eh? that Canadians say.

Being from the Northwest, we have a pretty neutral accent compared to the South (ya’ll instead of you all) and New Yorkers (forget about it, whereas New Yorkers say fo’ geht uh 'bout eet!)

Remember that accents are about relativity!

About the tipping thing—in some countries,(not sure if in Canada), tip is included in the bill; so sometimes it is a mistake in good faith

It’s not included in the bill in Canada. They do pay their restaurant workers higher wages in any case, so it’s not as expected to tip.

Thank you for the clarification.

I think if you spoke to someone from Newfoundland you would have a had time understanding them. Even as a Canadian I sometimes have difficulty. What might make it easier sometimes is that many Newfoundlander can turn off their accent when speaking to mainlanders (the rest of North America).

What it it seems like to me is that variation in accents within America (and to a lesser extent within Canada) is greater than the variation between the two countries.

@David - Yes, same thing Down Oz: we’re not expected to tip, and don’t need to, as the wages are reasonable. I like to tip, but it’s a completely free-will thing here. If I were able to travel overseas, it would initially feel strange being required to tip.

The minimum wage is $16.87AUS/hr, indexed to inflation. Purchasing parity power is another matter.

I’d agree with most of everyone that, unless you’re in the know, you probably won’t know if the native speakers that you’re listening to speak General American English, which is “region free” American English, which is mostly Steve Kauffman’s English accent. Unless it’s an obvious regional English, such as Quebecois English, or French Canadian English from New Brunswick, or a New Yorker’s English, or Boston, English, or deep American South English. Those you will likely identify right away as being different.

But if you haven’t heard regional American and Canadian English accents very much, you might notice the different accent, but you might not know where they’re from. You might assume that a Quebecois is from France or Belgium, if you’re unaware of the English accent that a Quebecois speaks as compared to a native France or Belgium French person. Or you might think that a Louisana person’s English accent is from the “general American South / Deep South”, but there is a difference. Regardless, for obvious accented American English, you’ll know that it’s different.

The reality of cultures and language accents is that there are always prejudices and stereotypes that some people hold, but I’d say all in all that Americans and Canadians have excellent relations.

Where I live in metro Toronto, I find middle-class white collar accents sound very similar to what most people refer to as General American English, which would be relatively free of regional accents. I find the same with English spoken in Vancouver, where Steve Kaufmann lives. Most Canadians that you will hear in American media speak with a similar General American English accent.

As with any country, if you venture outside of the city centres, out of the suburbs, and into the smaller towns and rural villages, you’ll hear some regional differences.