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Canadian English Differences: 12 Weird Quirks That Make Our English Unique

12 Things That Make Canadian English Unique

Why do we add a u to certain words? Think honour or colour. Why do we use a z instead of an s in words like recognized? Why do we pronounce it zed and not zee like our southern neighbours?

We may speak the same language as Americans but Canadian English does have certain quirks. Some of them have probably annoyed you ever since they tripped you up during an elementary school spelling test. Others are second-nature to a native Canadian English speakers but perplex those from elsewhere.

Got any more? Share them with us in the comments

An Odd Duck

Canadian English

Canadian English is an odd duck, a weird amalgam of American English and our British roots. Throw in some minor influences from First Nations languages, French and other immigrant tongues and you've got yourself a quirky variant. Here's a look at some of the things that make Canadian English unique.

1. 'U' Got It

Canadian spelling keeps the 'u' in words like honour, colour and valour. Americans don't. Chalk it up to being efficient and such.

2. The Metric/Imperial Divide

Canada switched over to the metric system decades ago, while the U.S. is one of the few countries that still use the imperial system. Old habits die hard though and even younger Canadians still use the old imperial system for measurements like height and weight. Most Canadians aren't a big fan of Fahrenheit to tell the temperature though.

3. Zee vs. Zed

One of the more lovable quirks, Canadians pronounce the last letter in the alphabet 'zed', which is clearly superior to the American 'zee'.

4. The Toque

This man is wearing a tuque. Virtually all Canadians know and use the word... south of the border words like beanie or cap prevail. There are at least three ways to spell the damn word too. We've seen touque or tuque as well. Took is just plain wrong.

5. Z vs. S

British spelling uses the s in words like 'recognized'. Canadians have drifted towards the more American variant.

6. Come Sled Away

Actually that should be toboggan. The word has roots in French and Mik'maq which is probably why many Canadians prefer this word to the more prosaic sled.

7. The Double L

You can see the double-l crop up in words like 'travelled' and 'levelled.' Our American friends feel that one l is enough.

8. Be True To Your School

American kids go to college while Canadian kids go to either college or university. We're not sure why. That's just the way it is.

Also, Americans are more likely to use terms like freshman, sophomore, junior, senior. Try that on a Canadian campus and you just might get a blank stare.

9. Math Class

Most Canadian kids dread math class. Most American kids too. British kids don't like maths.

10. Chesterfield?

Canadians know you can sit on a Chesterfield. Americans probably wonder why we'd sit on an old British guy.

11. Eh!

The 'eh' is one of the most unique features of spoken Canadian English. It's easy to see why. You can use it to express agreement (It's cold out, eh), surprise (F----in' eh!) and more.

12. Boozy Words

Two-four, mickey, twenty-sixer. If you're a Canadian who drinks all these words will be familiar. You'll get a blank stare if you use them anywhere else in the world.

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