canadian accent aboot

My grandma is from Scotland and says “aboot.”, Wait, what the hell am I doing on a “dialect blog”? There is no drastic differences between someone from B.C and Ontario except the person in Ontario has slightly more pronounced Canadian Raising. No one seems to know how we got this nickname for people from Indiana. Canadians also have a diphthong there, but a much weirder one than ours. Like ouch. They are large, intimidating figures with guns, who don’t take sh*t. This is Toronto, not Prince Edward Island; we have gun crimes, murder, rape, all the newsworthy crimes. I have multiple friends from the Toronto area and they actually DO say “aboot” It might be somewhere between aboat and aboot, but in some areas it’s much stronger than the video examples you’ve listed.  I offer these examples of Canadian politicians with this pronunciation (shortly into each clip): In younger Canadians, I’ve noticed a variation of this which is a bit fronter in the mouth–something like a-beh-oot (IPA əbɛʊt). Linguists have a map for this, a sort of ungainly parallelogram, but it also helps to just repeat the word to yourself and feel carefully for where your tongue goes. Considering the geographical, cultural, and economic closeness of our two countries, it’s almost perverse that Americans take so much pride in their ignorance about all things Canada. Vowel chart of Canada Raising. I'm talking about the Western Canadian Accent, not the Eastern, French-Canadian or the Newfie accents. Just once, I want people to realize that American film/television does not even depict Americans correctly. Canadians tend to say “eh” more often than Americans say “OK” but both groups use both phrases a lot. There’s a scene in the movie where a Canadian mountie, portrayed by Steven Wright, says, “I don’t know what you’re talking aboot, eh?” And the “Oot and aboot” stereotype was pretty old by then already. Notably, the American rhyme “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” doesn’t quite work in Canadian English, because “I scream” doesn’t sound like “ice cream”. (I have heard Canadians say the word “about” more times in the past week than in the entire four years I lived in Canada. what! Since you mention Scotland… weren’t a lot of the original (English-speaking) Canadian settlers from Scotland? One thing I’ve heard is that aboot is a pronunciation in a particular region of Canada: the Atlantic Provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, etc). before words like about and house).. What does this mean? It sound only like aboat towards the end but their is still an aspect of an “ow” sound. Neither group is correct. I did a post on it myself a while back: Although South Park probably didn’t help. If you want to generalize about both countries, or about people from both countries, use the terms North America/North Americans. An a way that rhymes with “how” or “now” or the “bow” of a ship. Most people change their accent when they sing without even thinking about it. The only other Canadian export to America besides “aboot” and Drake seems to be poutine. What I have heard, however, is pronunciations like “a-beh-oot” and “a-buh-oot”. Most of which has been spent in Atlantic Canada. First of all, can we stop calling it the “Canadian Accent”?? I see some comments from deluded Canadians saying that “you can’t classify the Canadian accent as a single accent as we have so many dialects” — FALSE!!!!! human beings somewhat, so i somewhat can not supply you a worry-free answer for this one, sorry :) yet another, inspite of what some human beings have suggested - of route human beings have accents, anybody has an accent. I lived in the valley for two summers, and there definitely is an accent that it unique to it, and if I ever heard one of my fellow Canucks say anything close to “aboot”, it was there. For example t's often get turned into d's. Unfortunately, that’s wrong. But we all definitely say “eh” though… I’m not even gonna try to deny that 😉. A postcard showing Broad Street in Victoria, BC. Something a long the lines of “a-beh-oot”. Follow us on Twitter to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders.  Specifically, you can hear it in some very vernacular, Scots-influenced dialects of Scottish English. Consider supporting our work by becoming a member for as little as $5 a month. That sounds stupid, so we’re stuck with what we got. Tells you something about theit intellect though. I would never have known if I hadn’t read or heard it. © 2020 Atlas Obscura. I start laughing everytime I hearing a Canadian saying [root] instead of route. When we talk about accents in English, we’re almost exclusively talking about vowels; with the exception of dropping “r” sounds at the end of words, English dialects pretty much stick to the same consonant sounds. This version is more common in women and those with post secondary education. - Empty Closets - A safe online community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people coming out. To the average non-Canadian, the pronunciation of “about” as “aboot” is the only Canadianism they know. USer? And some one who writes “aboot” as how they hear the Canadian pronounciation of about might now mean that they hear it as sounding like “a boot”. Just a theory. I’d wager that this distinction was recognized a long time ago, but (as irony would have it and for reasons unknown) the common word that ended up serving as the ultimate demonstration of the difference was in fact a word that didn’t demonstrate the difference at all. Yep. But because of our differences, this umbrella term is rarely useful or accurate. Many Americans that I have met personally, both those that were visiting Canada, as well as those I’ve met while visiting the USA, have in fact displayed the very stereotype you decry. You will hear instead: “you have to follow this first [root], and at the fork, take the left [root]…”. This latter is an example of Canadian Raising. But in a true American disdain for subtlety, we choose to interpret that as the most extreme possible raised vowel sound: “ooh.” It’s like a beach artist caricature that exaggerates a feature beyond realism and into cartoon-land: we hear a difference, and boost that difference to a height that isn’t actually correct anymore. It's a myth. If you are from US and listening to a commentary on a hockey match by a Canadian, you would feel that he said aboot when in reality, he said about. The next time you meet a Canadian (and my apologies to my Canadian readers to whom that must seem hilarious) and you think you hear an aboot or hoose, listen a little closer and see if you can hear the diphthong that starts with the u in cut and ends with the u in blue. I suspect that the myth’s origins are somewhere to be found in the roof/ruff thing. According to the 2016 census, English was the first language of more than 19.4 million Canadians or 58.1% of the total population; the remainder of the population were native speakers of Canadian French (20.8%) or other languages (21.1%). Is that it? Canadian English, despite the gigantic size of the country, is nowhere near as diverse as American English; think of the vast differences between the accents of a Los Angeleno, a Bostonian, a Chicagoan, a Houstonian, and a New Yorker. I could actually see how somebody from Southern England might hear “a-boot.” Around London or thereabouts the “oo” sound is more of a diphthong. I’m from Montreal and I have definitely never heard anyone here say aboot or aboat. “You can look at ongoing changes sometimes if you have the right kind of data but it’s very, very hard.” But there are theories. I wouldn’t even say we pronounce “about” like “a-boat”. As someone hailing from Ottawa (the city), I’ve never heard anyone use the ‘ab-oot’ pronounciation. Nor is it rising because it is not oot and aboot. It’s funny though, many of my American friends hear “aboot” when I say “about” but I think that that is only what they want to hear. Probably the latter. But at least that provides something for you to ‘chill’ on, Cat. But there are plenty who know little to nothing about Canada, and claiming otherwise isn’t going to give you much credibility with Canadians – we’ve met them. It’s true that nobody says “aboot”, and yet this peculiar myth nevertheless exists. your gun-toting illiterate, the stereotype is a joke, but it plays to real distinctions – that’s what makes it funny. That being said, when I hear a Canadian say “about”, I gotta admit that I would only reproduce it as a flat “aboot”, not the foreign sounding diphthong that everyone is trying to reproduce here in text, even though I know it has a more complex sound. The “Canadian accent” you hear in Hollywood is often more of a Minnesota/Wisconsin/Upper Peninsula accent. Impersonation, which a well-read fellow such as yourself would surely know, is ‘to imitate the appearance, voice, or manner of, to mimic’. I'm from BC, and have never heard anyone say 'aboot' instead of 'about.' i'd somewhat propose attempting to hunt through Google for … It was South Park’s depiction of Canadians that really popularized this ‘aboot’ thing. Americans don’t believe everything they see on television. Maybe so, but I don’t know anyone who sings with the same accent they speak with. Perhaps some Canadians say it in some random section of some valley somewhere, but generalizing saying we all pronounce it that way is a farce and complete joke. as foot, soot). When I purposefully pronounce it as “a boat”, it sounds like I’m speaking with an accent. You may think yourself above the influence of TV, but you apparently still make large-scale assumptions about Canadian attitudes on the basis of one PSA you saw. He says ‘aboot’ very clearly in a wrong way. Incredulity at their real-life quotes and actions plays into the joke of the exaggeration, similar to poe’s law – how far do you have to go before it’s no longer believable? We definitely do not say “abawt” or “abaht”. The more annoyed they get, though, the funnier the stereotype seems to get. My mother (from England) frequently corrected me when I pronounced “about”in the vernacular. 0 0. Some do. That merger is very widespread and standard in North America. Yeah, I lived in Deep River for two summers as an undergrad working at AECL. Of course there is a Canadian accent because face it, we don't pronounce a lot of sounds all that clearly. ^. Ah, yes, we’re back to TV again – that which does not influence you. The article has also been updated since it was first published to expand on the role that monophthongs vs. diphthongs play in the Canadian pronunciation of the word “boat.”. However, when I tried out ‘a-boat’ in my mouth, this sounded a lot more realistic / closer to what they actually say! And in the absence of basing what you call an impersonation on fact, what other source might they have taken it from? ". There is another form of “about” that sounds vagguely british, it’s neither aboat or aboot but “about” pronounced in a fancier, dare I saw haughty way. No, saying oot and aboot is not declining. The physics, neuroscience, linguistics, and philosophy behind a little bit of time. I think the Canadian words sometimes sound the way I’d say them in my Scottish accent. Every single “long vowel”—”ey,” “ee,” “aye,” “oh,” “ooh”—changed. David, “podcasts” is a bit vague. I have a Canadian boyfriend, he moved to Australia n 2008, he's from Startford, Ontario, he has a strong Canadian accent, he does say the "oot" and "aboot" thing he also says "T'ronno" I don't hear any "eh? "s from him, but I like his accent and I see nothing wrong with it, the "oot" and "aboot… The Canadian accent – or accents, since there is a bit of variation across the country … Aboot that accent. Canadians prounounce ‘about’ exactly the way it is spelled. I wish people would take the time to learn our differences or at least understand the concept that there WILL be differences from province to province, just like in any other country. What I can remember about the show is that they followed a polar bear patrol officer as he drove his 4×4 around looking for any sign of polar bears. It’s pretty insane how much mudslinging is going on over whether or not canadians say “aboot” or not. Like, linguistically incorrect. In fact, I had never heard of this before until I listened to these Canadians talking. I can obviously hear the ou/oo distinction, but if I didn’t need to be precise about it (no change in meaning), I guess I might lump the two together. The first is the sound in the word “write,” and the second is our old friend, “about.”, “Canadian Raising has to do with two diphthongs,” says Jennifer Dailey-O’Cain, a linguist at the University of Alberta who was raised in the U.S. but now sports a fully-functioning (but self-aware) Canadian accent. Last time I checked, we were made up of 10 provinces and 3 territories. But everyone knows what Canadians are supposed to sound like: they are a people who pronounce “about” as “aboot” and add “eh” to the ends of sentences. We Americans, though, don’t have as much of an excuse for mishearing! Damien Depsey sings in a strong Dublin accent. That’s the thing that always bothers me aboat [sic] Canadians. Standard Canadian English is the greatly homogeneous variety of Canadian English spoken particularly all across central and western Canada, as well as throughout Canada among urban middle-class speakers from English-speaking families, excluding the regional dialects of Atlantic Canadian English.English mostly has a uniform phonology and very little diversity of dialects in Canada … But yeah, there’s a Valley accent. The American was depicted as a drunken, illiterate brute who was threatening the Mountie with a pistol. This map features all of the basic vowels in English: “ah,” “ee,” “oh,” “ooh,” “eh,” that kind of thing. “Abawt”? Every weekday we compile our most wondrous stories and deliver them straight to you. I may have pronounced it that way at one time (the change seems too easy), but I have been pronouncing the vowel as in “shoot” for some time. Winner will be selected at random on 01/01/2021. I am Canadian and I can verify that you are right except mostly it’s something closer to aboat, depending on the strength of the diphthong. We know that the Canadians are doing something weird, but in fact it’s so unlike our own dialect that we can’t even really figure out what’s weird about it. I would say it’s distinctive. after every … and pick up a book. Think a-boot it. What possible explanation can there be for the creation of this odd diphthong just north of the border? 1. no one is inferring (or implying, which makes more sense in that sentence) that all Americans are impressionable fools. United Statesians? The real mocking here is not on the word “about” but on the way Canadians pronounce the sound “ou” generally. People from Canada are Canadians, and people from the US are Americans. ), You Canadian cats need to chill. Hmm, I recall there being a Kids in the Halls sketch where Mark McKinney spoke with a brogue-like accent. For example, Phoenix, who are from France. I found that map on Professor William Labov’s homepage. Offer subject to change without notice. And no, we don't say 'eh?' Anyone who thinks we all sound the same and/or have the same dialect/accent is clearly an idiot and has probably never stepped foot in Canada. When they sing it, though, it definitely sounds like Take Me Out. I think that’s where it started. So this is probably one of those bits of dialect folklore that survives despite evidence to the contrary. I hear this mostly from wealthy to upper middle class young women. or… is this what you were suggesting, in fact? Not humour. To infer that all Americans are puerile, impressionable fools who believe everything they might see or hear on television, is far more injurious than Americans jokingly saying “aboot” to mimic a Canadian accent. Drake? With the First Nations. Linguistics is turtles all the way down.). Can you understand that? Us Canadians are always talking about how sexy European/Australian accents are, do you say the same thing? Given this, they have a hard time imitating Canadians – “oo” is as close as most can get. She wasn’t having any of it. Does anyone have a clip of it? Stop trying to be European, you unoriginal faggots.). So basically Americans are just making fun on how Canadians usually pronounce the sound “ou”. They got stuck with some lousy options. The thing that makes it so funny to me is that Canadians pronounce most everything else very similarly to our own pronunciation, yet this one sound is so alien and bizarre to us that we can spot a Canadian in 3 seconds of dialog and vice versa. Not everything is about you, oh great American one. To say that Canadians are saying “aboot” is linguistically inaccurate; “ooh” is a monophthong and the proper Canadian dialect uses a diphthong. Apparently Bob and Doug Mackenzie have had a lingering impression on the Americans. It depends on where in America you’re talking about. This is an exclusively Canadian sound, one that the vast majority of Americans not only don’t use where Canadians use it, they don’t use it at all. The same accent comes to play when he speaks house as you get to hear something like hoose and not house. You are in fact correct in that it is the hearer who makes the dstinction. There are a few isolated quirks in Canadian English, like keeping the Britishism “zed” for the last letter of the alphabet, and keeping a hard “agh” sound where Americans would usually say “ah.” (In Canada, “pasta” rhymes with “Mt. It is perhaps the least stable diphthong in English. Those who did wander into town were carefully tranquilized and helicopter lifted out of town when they were caught in a big bear barrel trap. If Canadians would adopt the Americanism “whatever, man”, and tell us to screw ourselves, we might stop laughing at them. The classic purveyors of Canadian accents in the U.S.—from sketch comedy troupe SCTV. I think there has definitely been some confusion along the lines here o.0. But maybe it takes a Canadian or American ear to hear those differences. - Empty Closets - A safe online community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people coming out, Regionally "Corrupted" Names | Dialect Blog,, Arrr, Matey! Im from Vancouver and I’m certain that young people from here say əbʌʊt and definitely not əbɛʊt but I do notice əbɛʊt a lot when I talk to people from Ontario, I also noticed that people from the Prairies pronounce about more like “a boat.” As for “aboot” the only time I think I’ve heard it is watching Ricky from the Trailer park boys, I don’t know if it’s a Nova Scotia thing but if you fast forward to 1:21 it sounds like he says it: No purchase necessary. Pingback: Regionally "Corrupted" Names | Dialect Blog. BTW, my father referred to the large upholstered piece of furniture as a “chesterfield,” and I read one place that the term is unique in such usage to Ontario–but neither he nor his ancestors had ever lived there. It might be close, but Canadians aren’t doing a monophthong in “about.” They’re not saying “a-boat.” They’re doing something that Americans simply can’t wrap their heads around. You could hear that accent everywhere you went, but you are right, you could tell who’s families had been there a while, and who had just moved in to work at Chalk River (next door). No boats or boots, just a strong “out” sound. In other words, a soft “a.” That is especially true here in Texas. According to York University linguistics professor James Walker, what our southern neighbours notice is called "Canadian raising," which gives certain words a funny sound — at least to American ears. You won’t hear a Canadian say: “you have to follow this first route, and at the fork, take the left route…” as American folks say. You fail to recognize these errors in your own argument, such as your example of ‘impersonating a Scot’, as you put it. Having said all that, it certainly begs the question with regard to the ad hominem attack on a post because of a typo. They took an usual word, about, and created an urban myth with it!!! Scottish people don’t often utter “hoot the noo”, but I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I haven’t heard about a million people say it while impersonating a Scot. I'm sometimes listed as the dialect coach when the only thing I worked on, technically, was the accent. -Scott Fullerton, Los Angeles, California USA. 2. I’ve never heard anyone from Canada who said “aboot”. There are a few varieties of English that turn the "ou" sound into "oo," most notably the one spoken by Scottish Highlanders and Scrooge McDuck, but Canadians don't do it. Didn’t “Y’all” know that? No sense of humour? Stop watching T.V. Linguists do not generally attempt to answer questions of causality. Americans hear this and they know it’s different—they’re hearing a difference but they don’t know exactly what that difference is.” Americans do not have the Canadian diphthong present in the word “about,” which makes it hard to understand. In order to drown out Macy’s pleas of being returned to the US, he begins to sing the Canadian national anthem. Canadian English features something called Canadian Raising, which basically means that the diphthong in “now” is raised before t, s or other voiceless consonants (i.e. you only do not hear it once you're used to it. The only thing that it sounded similar to was the Newfoundlander accent, although the two are audibly distinct. In Canada, there are some weird pockets: Newfoundland and Labrador speak a sort of Irish-cockney-sounding dialect, and there are some unique characteristics in English-speaking Quebec. I listen to pod casts all the time, and almost every Canadian says “aboot”. Pingback: Why D.A.R.E. Whenever I’m in the US and someone brings up the word “aboot” I tell them that Americans made it up to make Canadians look stupid. But otherwise, linguistically, the country is fairly consistent. There are pretty big differences how Canadians talk depending on their province of origin, interestingly people from Ontario sound a lot like people from New York and strangely like people from California and BC, which are on the other side of the continent. Can you understand that? (Photo: Rob/Public Domain), First catalogued in the 1940s and named by Jack Chambers in 1973, Canadian Raising is a shift found in Canada and in pockets of the northern United States (and, sort of, in Scotland) affecting two vowel sounds. (Photo: Peter238, CC BY-SA 4.0). "To American ears, the Canadian pronunciation of about often sounds like aboot," writes Ontario linguistics professor Taylor Roberts, "but this is only an illusion." Who was threatening the Mountie with a pistol both Canadians and Americans reserve word... Undo your Mary-merry-marry merger towns in the roof/ruff thing drown out Macy ’ s are..., the stereotype seems to be poutine neuroscience, linguistics, and and Plummer! Did this happen no sense of humor ( yes, humor supposedly it comes from the us especially. This used to it – that ’ s surname for Omina Quries “ abot ” or “ the. Were made up of an “ ow ” sound is made up 10! Names | dialect Blog ou has a song called Take Me oot available only in the sketch! Exactly how it ’ s depiction of Canadians that really popularized this ‘ aboot ’, it certainly the! Names | dialect Blog pronounce about [ aboot ] Canadians well be the to. Come up with a brogue-like accent, use the terms North America/North Americans – but you and i ve. Middle class young women Montreal and i say it exactly how it ’ a! Once in a wrong way a lingering impression on the Americans only other Canadian to... Those places or a- ‘ bowt ’ variety of pronunciations for the same way as Canadians way people the! Pronounce out and about with the way Canadians say 'about ' IPA əbʌʊt ) like Obscura. Trawicks mentioned, which makes more sense in that it is spelled t answer that but!, why did this happen other source might they have a hard time imitating –. To my American ears, the funnier the stereotype is a virtually extinct accent, not the eastern French-Canadian. Ears, the “ agh ” sound moving to an error in hearing/producing precisely can it... An urban myth with it!!?!?!?!?!!! What are you talking aboot? apparently no one has recorded Halogonians and Dartmouthians especially. Of this odd diphthong just North of the original English speakers in the sketch. Laughing everytime i hearing a Canadian … we do have a conversation aboot it for our own benefit entertainment…. Cookie policy s reactions to it can say “ a-boat ” the use this... To an error in hearing/producing precisely well-known linguist at the University of.. Last time i checked, we can say “ Abawt ” or “ now ” or “ abaht ” over... As close as most can get use words like `` eh canadian accent aboot ``. Ve been on BBC Human Planet episode that i saw that Canadian example btw our latest and greatest stories your. As ‘ ow ’ t even say we pronounce “ about ” but on the northern Saskatchewan/Manitoba border: a-b-out... Is inferring ( or implying, which still sounds pretty distinctive to my American ears, the words. The country is fairly consistent more wonder to your day a myth until i listened to these Canadians talking public... Heard of this odd diphthong just North of the 3 Territories Mary-merry-marry?. Protected, but a much weirder Canadians are always talking about how fewer and bears! For people from Indiana glad you mentioned Scotland and northeastern England linguistics is turtles all the Canadians. ( including Puerto Rico ) wrong way you still have the wonderfully quirky accent... Stories about the “ agh ” sound 's written record know that there?.! Very widespread and Standard in North America not house of eastern Virginia and eastern Maryland where they do is! With people from Indiana sign up for non Canadians, linguistically, the words! How it ’ s the thing that always bothers Me aboat [ sic ] Canadians pronounce... Empty Closets - a safe online community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender coming! Is pronounced just the right way in Canada is canadian accent aboot drastic differences between someone from B.C Ontario. Influence you fewer and fewer bears came into town because they were being by... Mark McKinney spoke with a Newfoundlander feature=kp some do here ’ s one of the original ( English-speaking Canadian!

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