Canadian regional accents

Jay   Thursday, July 31, 2003, 17:18 GMT

Do Canadian regional accents exist?
Are Ontario accents particularly "strong"?
Do you think, due to American media exposure and other things, that young Canadians have more "Americanized" accents?
Would someone from, say, Calgary have a twangier accent than someone from Toronto?

-a budding canuckophile
Ryan   Thursday, July 31, 2003, 22:27 GMT
Prairie accents are like Minnesota accents but worse. If you've ever listened to Barry Melrose do hockey on ESPN, he has a hardcore Saskatchewan version of this accent. Southern Ontario accents are the ones that Americans like to make fun of everyone saying "eh" at the end of their sentences. I've heard they do this especially in places like Windsor and London. I had a professor from somewhere in the maritime provinces once and he had a really strange Scottish-sounding accent. Of course, everyone knows that there are many people who speak French in eastern Canada and thus have accented English, and that the English speakers in Canada like to raise their dipthongs and say things like 'aboot.' People in British Columbia do the 'caught' 'cot' homophone thing like they do in the American west coast. Other than that, I don't really know much about Canadian accents.

chantal   Thursday, July 31, 2003, 22:34 GMT
I have never been to New Scotia, but I heard they have a peculiar accent. I have been to Ontaria, Alberta, British Columbia and Victoria a couple of times and I don't see any big difference between these accents. It seems that Canada has more homogenous accents than America.
Julian   Friday, August 01, 2003, 06:07 GMT
I don't think Canadians youths have more "Americanized" accents because of strong American media exposure. First of all, it's not like American accents end all of a sudden at the border and Canadian accents pick up from there. There's a lot of overlapping of cultures and accents in the border areas, so who's to say what's American and what's Canadian. Second, Canadian youths (like everybody else) tend to adopt the accents of their community, regardless of what they watch on tv or hear on the radio. They might appropriate certain American words and phrases into their vernacular, but usually these end up conforming to the regional pronunciations.

For a brief lesson on Canadian regional accents (as well as accents of other English-speaking countries) go to:

For Canadian pronunciation oddities, go to:
Julian   Friday, August 01, 2003, 06:09 GMT
Jay   Saturday, August 02, 2003, 22:54 GMT
thanks for the responses.
GG   Sunday, August 10, 2003, 05:46 GMT
sup everyone, I'm from Ottawa, I've talked to many diff Canadians with accents, and I'm close to the NY border and have visited many times.

As far as Canadian regional accents go, I'd have to say that an average Canadian with a good ear can pick out the east coast accent, with its "err" sound for the 'r'. Also, the 'a-boot' phenomenon is detectable, I suppose (although I'd say you can pick it out from spots all over the country). Call me biased or tuned out, but to me, most anglophone Ontarians speak without a noticeable accent.

My opinion on the 'Americanized' accents would agree with Julian's on the whole border 'overlap' areas, particularily the ON-NY areas. People in ON and NY, as a good example, all live, eat, drink and speak virtutally the same way- I don't care what all these Canadian hotshots like to say about a totally different culture (hockey, weather, etc)- to me the differences are minor, we're basically the same type of people, and that will be the same in our speech as well.
Ryan   Sunday, August 10, 2003, 20:09 GMT
I'm not sure if that always holds true, GG. If you cross over from Detroit to Windsor, you can definitely tell the difference in accents between "Michigan" and "Southern Ontario." Of course, there is a river between them that was historically difficult to cross until a bridge, and eventually a tunnel, were built, so the people probably didn't intermingle as much and different accents developed.

Jay   Monday, August 11, 2003, 01:01 GMT
"Call me biased or tuned out, but to me, most anglophone Ontarians speak without a noticeable accent."

Naw, everyone has an accent. I have an accent. You have an accent. There is no such thing as accentless speech. And, since you are from Ontario, it's understandable that you don't pick up on the accent of your fellow Ontarians. I don't usually hear Chicago accents, unless they are almost comically heavy.
Clark   Monday, August 11, 2003, 02:33 GMT
In the other thread, they were talking about idiolects (actually, Jay brought them up).

The only way one could say that there was no accent would be if you were talking about a group of people from one specific area who spoke with the same exact accent. But even then, when you mention idiolect, that theory flies out the window.
Ryan   Monday, August 11, 2003, 04:29 GMT
If you grow up your entire life somewhere, and then move somewhere else, you'll learn to recognize that you have an accent pretty easily. I live in a different part of the country now and it's hard to tell that I talk differently than anyone else until I listen to myself tape-recorded.