I am a Canadian writer who writes for an American market so I have to be bilingual in Canadian and American. Sometimes I think it would be easier if the words were the same, but other times, I like their uniqueness.
Here’s a list of some of my favourite different words. Please tell me yours?
And if you don’t like reading Word Lists, just scroll right to the end and you will find a bit of Canadiana for your viewing enjoyment.
- Cheque check
- behaviour behavior
- calibre caliber
- centre center
- colour color
- favour favor
- favourite favorite
- fibre fiber
- grey gray
- harbour harbor
- humour humor
- kilometre kilometer
- labour labor
- litre liter
- metre meter
- neighbour neighbor
- odour odor
- parlour parlor
- savour savor
- theatre theater
- valour valor
And here’s the YouTube: Canadian, Please
How about mould and mold?
And one thing that would mess me up, what do Americans call a toque? Winter hat, watchman’s cap, or just a hat? I know this isn’t a spelling one but you call it a toque and they say “A what?”
Toque – from the Canadian French “tuque” – a knit winter hat. Who would have thought it was so unique? I’ve worn them all my life. At least in the winter time.
Some would argue that there are three languages in Canada – Newfoundlandese!
Dictionary of Newfoundland English: Second Edition by W.J. Kirwin
And it isn’t only spelling that we authors can get caught up on. Suzanne wasn’t there a hockey-derived idiom that you used once, that an editor told you the Americans wouldn’t understand?
That was from ANGEL WINGS. “Daphne’s been stickhandling the event.”
I changed it to: “Daphne’s been handling the event.”
This is close to what I meant. One reader thought it was a typo and that I meant “stuck handling” as if it were two words.
From Merriam Webster: Stickhandle means: to maintain control of a puck (as in ice hockey) by clever and deceptive dribbling.
In Canada, it is used to describe managing something with skill and finesse.
Lots of differences. And Brenda Collins is correct – they didn’t even get into Newfanise! Eh boyo? Stay where yer at and I’l come where yer to.
Sounds like we need a new song!