A recent article in the Toronto Sun got me to thinking about what it means to have a Canadian accent. Apparently, it can be a struggle for some Canadian actors, like Howie Mandel, to give up their Canadian accents when playing American roles.
I grew up in Niagara Falls, where compared to our American neighbours, there was a smug assumption that we Canadians did not have an accent. The way we spoke was the correct pronunciation of, of, well, everything.
If we teased friends from Buffalo for saying ‘het dag’ instead of ‘hot dog’, they would counter with the accusation that Canucks say ‘oot and aboot’ instead of ‘out and about’. I could never hear the ‘oo’ and flatly denied that the ‘oo’ existed in my ‘out’.
The thing is, most of us do say ‘oot’ — we just don’t hear it. So try this; say ‘out’, or ‘about’, but say it verrrry slooooowly. Draw out that vowel for a couple of seconds… and did you hear it? Most of us Canucks can’t get to the ‘t’ without making an ‘oo’ sound.
That is what our American friends hear, that we don’t.
Accents aside, I wonder what else is being said that I don’t hear? As my dear old Mother used to say, “In one ear and out (ooot) the other.”
The Italian accent has been dropped, go catch up on what they’re saying this week at Contentment is for Cows.
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