A disclaimer to my loyal followers (this means you, Mom) -- the following post is my attempt to be funny, or at least solicit an eye roll or two. It is a complete deviation from my "normal" blog posts centered around technology, Macs and SMART Board use in the classroom.
You've been warned.
A bit of background before I begin: This blog post came about as a result of a "tweet" I put out on Twitter last week, that looked like this:
Honestly, I didn't think there was anything that particularly special about it, other than the fact that those who know me in Twitterverse, know that I sometimes slip on the whole "follow friday" phenomenon. I have good intentions, but often I skip a week or two of #ff recommendations -- hence, a FOURTH #ff list last week was particularly impressive (if I do say so myself!)
Then I received a DM [Direct Message for all you non-Twits] from a member of my PLN @ShaunJay who said something like "Haha I haven't heard the word 'keener' since I moved to the States years ago".
What?!? I was blown away. 'Keener' is a Canadian-ism? I had no idea...
And suddenly, this blog post was born. I'm taking it on as my mission to share the wonderful language that we speak in Canada. I have gone to the ends of the earth (or at least, the internet) to search out what vocabulary, items, products and sayings that our poor non-Canadian friends are missing out on. And guess what I found? It's so much more than adding a "u" to spellings and "eh" to the end of sentences.
So without further ado, American friends, prepare to be edumacated on Canadian-isms:
Words That I Knew Were A Token Canadian Saying:
1. Keener (might as well start with the word that launched this whole quest). Apparently, our word for "brown-noser"
2. Pop - soda
3. Timbits - a brand name of donut holes made by Tim Hortons
4. Double-double - another term coined by Tim Hortons that has made its way into everyday language. It's a coffee with 2 cream and 2 sugar.
5. Loonie - $1.00 coin (it has a loon on the front...I never said we were original)
6. Toonie - $2.00 coin. Again, not a unique term, other than "we" decided it was just like a loonie, but worth twice as much. Oh, and there's no loon on this one, but rather a polar bear. I guess "beary" was already taken in the English language.
7. Snowbird - a Canadian (usually retiree) who flees to the southern US for winter...to escape the snow.
8. Chesterfield - a sofa or couch.
9. Serviette - another term for "napkin". I'm guessing this one has British influences (it sounds so proper, doesn't it?)
10. Poutine - a food dish of french fires with cheese curds and hot gravy in Quebec. Other areas of Canada just use processed cheese instead of real cheese curds.
11. Hoser - a stereotype and sort-of insult. "You're such a hoser."
12. Mountie - a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (you know, those guys in the funny hats and red jackets as we so eloquently portrayed at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics' Closing Ceremony)
13. Rye - Canadian Whiskey (which is what I suspect the organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics' Opening & Closing Ceremonies may have been drinking when they came up with their program. I mean, really, could we perpetuate the Canadian stereotypes more than the use of EVERY token Canadian symbol in both ceremonies?)
14. Smarties - you're missing out! A candy similar to M&Ms...but better.
15. Ketchup chips - ditto. A great flavour of chips.
16. Chocolate bars - in keeping with the food theme, this is our term for "candy bars".
17. Marking - as in, a test. The term I used as a teacher in place of "grading". I first realized this difference in vocabulary when I told an American friend that I was swamped with all my "marking". They thought I'd been attacked by a Jiffy marker...
Words That I Had No Idea Were Only Said in Canada (and I haven't lived THAT sheltered of a life!)
1. Donair - a pita containing spiced meat and a sauce
2. Nanaimo bar - the. best. dessert. square. EVER. Kinda like a brownie, but with an AMAZING butter cream icing as a middle layer topped with solid chocolate. Apparently created and named after the town of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in B.C.
3. Brown Bread - WTH? Seriously? This is simply another term for 'whole wheat bread'...guess why? What colour is whole wheat bread?
4. Mickey - (keeping with the food items) - a size that alcohol is sold in...something like 13 ounces. Basically, a smaller, curved bottle version of a 2-6.
5. 2-6 - another size of a bottle of alcohol...with 26 ounces. (again with the creativity)
6. Vico - oh wait, that's a Saskatchewan-ism (go Riders!). For the record, it's a term for chocolate milk.
7. Shinny - a pick up game of hockey.
8. Ski-doo - generic term for snowmobile (ski-doo is a brand name here in Canada). Can also be used as a verb "I'm going ski-dooing later today".
9. Canteen - another word that blew my mind...I had no idea this was not said in the States. Basically, another word for a small version of a cafeteria.
10. Tea Towel - WHAT?!? I guess it must be a British term (those Brits love their tea!) Refers to a dish towel.
11. Chinook - ummm...what else would you call a spell of warm weather brought on by a warm wind? The chinooks we get in the winter in Calgary is why I would never move back to Saskatchewan where we have a solid 4 months of -50 (celcius!!) weather.
12. Butter Tart - another foodie term that apparently only resides in Canada. It's basically a small, individual serving pie...but better!
13. Garburator - garbage disposal
14. Homo Milk - short for "homogenized milk"...a.k.a. whole milk
15. Fire Hall - Really? Not sure why this is different north of the 49th parallel, but it's another term for fire station.
16. Washroom - I cannot believe this one. I thought "we'd" gotten this term from our Yankee friends (simply because the Brits call it a loo)...apparently we made it up all by ourselves. (Yay us!) The term in the States? Restroom.
17. Crispy Crunch, Coffee Crisp, Caramilk - 3 types of chocolate bars that would prevent me from moving to the States if I can't get ahold of them down there! lol
18. Line Up - another one that left me in disbelief, again because I assumed it was from the U.S. (our British motherland calls this a queue). For some reason, we added the "up" to the American term of "line". For example: "There was a really long lineup at the arena for hockey tickets last night".
19. Arena - an ice rink with seats around it. Basically a building devoted to a hockey rink.
20. Glove box - glove compartment.
21. Farmer Vision - a term for rural-area TV channels (usually only 2 or 3 without satellite)
22. Gotch - underwear, usually referring to men's brief-style underwear.
23. Parkade - really? Again, this one threw me off...apparently, our neighbours south of the 49th parallel refer to these as "parking garages"
24. Runners - I'll give you a hint, it's a type of shoe. Guess what they're for? (for those still stuck, it's another word for "sneakers").
25. Eavestrough - another word for rain gutter
Top 10 Words That Really, REALLY Blew My Mind
1. Pencil Crayon - I have been informed that in the U.S. this is known as a coloured pencil.
2. Huck - to throw something, as in, "I hucked the ball right at his head."
3. Rez - short for a dormatory residence in University.
4. The Bill - what we ask for in a restaurant. Also known as the "check"
5. Icing sugar - apparently referred to as "powdered sugar" in the States.
6. Elastic - another word for rubber band
7. Housecoat - also known as a bathrobe
8. Tap - our Canadian spin on "faucet"
9. 5-pin bowling - I can't believe that everyone in the States is stuck to 10-pin bowling only. Especially since 5-pin bowling uses a ball approx. half the size of a regular bowling ball.
10. KD (Kraft Dinner) - Unbelievable. How many times in University did I refer to having "KD" as my meal? Sold under the name "Kraft Mac & Cheese" to our American neighbours.
There you have it! If you have any other ones that I missed, feel free to include them in the comments section below!
For the record, all images are licensed under the Creative Commons license, and some of the definitions were found at the following 2 websites: http://www.canadaka.net/content/page/124-canadian-slang--english-words and http://members.shaw.ca/kcic1/canisms.html
Happy Wednesday, everyone!