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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:00 AM
middeljohn middeljohn is offline
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Speech pattern and typographical 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, 2:23 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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  #4  
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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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:54 AM
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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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  #6  
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.
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  #7  
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.
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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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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2015, 9:11 PM
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Originally Posted by flar View Post
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.
Obviously this is exaggerated, but who is an example of someone who speaks with this accent?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAFGxKou-Dg
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2015, 9:37 PM
Sarah89 Sarah89 is offline
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http://vocaroo.com/i/s0PCIHeoT1Ui

curious what you all think. I took the Canadian speech test meme thing-y from reddit. Tried to be honest

*shudders* I hate the sound of my own voice.
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2015, 12:17 AM
Sarah89 Sarah89 is offline
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oh I think Danny sounds very Irish. And I don't mean Newfoundland tinged Irish.. I think he sounds like someone living in Dublin. I think my accent is more central Canadian.. Not sure who I could compare it to.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2015, 2:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarah89 View Post
http://vocaroo.com/i/s0PCIHeoT1Ui

curious what you all think. I took the Canadian speech test meme thing-y from reddit. Tried to be honest

*shudders* I hate the sound of my own voice.
Except for "bagel" you could be from Calgary. But then again my daughter would say bagle the same way as you and she grew up here
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Old Posted Apr 7, 2015, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Docere View Post
Obviously this is exaggerated, but who is an example of someone who speaks with this accent?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAFGxKou-Dg
Actually, the guy doing the intro has more of a typical Toronto accent than the caricatural one that followed.
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Old Posted Apr 7, 2015, 11:28 PM
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Actually, the guy doing the intro has more of a typical Toronto accent than the caricatural one that followed.
That's what I think. I'm not a "millennial" and it was suggested by a previous poster that 70% of Torontonians under 30 sound like this. I have my doubts, but maybe I'm out of the loop.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:02 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.

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, 4:12 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.
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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.
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  #16  
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, 5:22 PM
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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.
When I was a radiology resident in Halifax, there was a guy doing a fellowship in the department who was from the upper Ottawa River valley. He sounded exactly like a Newfoundlander! He couldn't see it.

The funny thing is that after his fellowship, he started practicing in Corner Brook. I'm sure he fit right in!!
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  #18  
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, 9:18 AM
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Believe it or not, this is accurate for a sizeable segment of Toronto's population.
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Hah! That's interesting, I work with a young guy that just moved here from Toronto and although that clip is an exaggerated example there is definitely some of that in the way he talks, I always thought of it as just kind of a quirky thing he did, not an accent. I think there is more variation in Canada than we consciously hear. I hear a slight "aboot/aboat" in pretty much anybody from Ontario or Atlantic Canada. The Maritimes have a particularly hard "ar" sound that I can't replicate well without sounding pirate-ish. When i lived in Halifax people trying to imitate my 'a' as in "pan" sounded strangely upper class England English in a way that I still can't hear. A few things I've also noticed is the pronunciation of "radiator" gets weird in some places. Even between Edmonton and Calgary, Edmontonians will say "bud"/"butt" for cutting in line, every Calgarian I know says "budge". I keep meaning to ask somebody from red deer. Mostly inconsequential differences but they amuse me to no end for some reason because people are often convinced that they talk correctly and everybody else is somehow mistaken in their communication.

A lot of Canadian differences to me, at least ,seem to be more in cadence and inflection than obvious vowel sounds. It's a lot of feeling that people aren't quite sounding the same but it's hard to identify what exactly he difference is.
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ciudad_del_norte View Post
The Maritimes have a particularly hard "ar" sound that I can't replicate well without sounding pirate-ish.
I never really thought about this until my wife (from southern ON, but who's been in NS/NB for about 10 years) mentioned that her family have started noticing her "maritime" accent. I asked her what they said she sounded like and she said, "kinda like a pirate". In Ontario, for example, the R on the end of "car" is softer. In the maritimes, it's more... "piratey" for lack of a better word. Drawn out. Also, in ON, you apparently park in a "gah-rawge" but in NB it's a "gradge". She also makes fun of the way I refer to my father; she says I sound like I'm saying "dee-add" instead of "dahd". We also like to clip out bits of words here. The last day of the week is "Sa-er-day" (mashed together) not "Sa-ter-day". Also used by myself and others I know:

"This pie is some good."
"Are ya spoze'da?" (Are you supposed to)
"Did you guys play hookey?" (skipped school)
"She was three sheets to the wind!" (drunk)
"Really reef on it, will ya?" (pull hard)
"Are car zin the gradge." (Our car is in the garage)
"Did you make the cake badder?" (cake batter)
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