Canadian vs US English?

There’s a lot about UK & US meanings of the same word (And NO, Canadians do not pronounce it “aboot”) but what about on this continent? Many times I have travelled south o’ the border and got looks of bewilderment when I asked for a “Bank Machine”. I guess you guys call them ATMs. I’ve also stumped people by using “huck”(to throw) and “winter beater”(a cheap,crappy car that is usually bought for winter driving so you don’t care what damage is inflicted on it). Are these words not used in the US or did I just encounter one person who had never heard of them?
I also get weird looks when I take my shoes off at the door in American’s friends houses.

i seriously doubt you’ll find people wearing “touks” here in the states…

(From a man who learned Canadian from the MacKenzie Brothers)

shiner bock

“When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not, hmmm?” – Yoda

Miss Gretchen,
I’m from Upstate NY, just a few hours from the Canadian boarder, and I personally have never heard the term “huck” (to throw). I have used “heave” in the same context. (I heaved it right out the window!). However, we certainly do drive “winter beaters”. With all our snow, we need to!

“Were you out on the lake today kissing your brain?”- The Man with Two Brains

Michigan reporting here!

We definately have winter beaters and bank machines. ATM is the usual term but I’d know what you were talking about with “bank machine”.

Hey Shiner, take off, eh? “Strange Brew”, gotta love it.

…it has never been my way to bother much about things which you can’t cure.

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court-Mark Twain

My dad was raised in Canada and uses some peculiar expressions sometimes. He calls the end of a loaf of bread ‘the knobby’, an unfortunate habbit that has passed on to me, causing some embarrassing moments when i ask people if they want it (the knobby, of course)

We visited some of his friends a couple of years ago and one of them was saying she had had to complain to her kids school a couple of times. She said that although they use the same spelling as we do in Britian (colour, honour, organise etc.) her daughter’s work had been ‘corrected’ by her teacher to the American spelling - something that she wasn’t too happy about.

Once I was visiting a company in New Hampshire (one of our vendors) and chatting with their sales rep. She was telling me about how she got her job and said something like, “After I graduated from university, I worked at another company for a year before coming here.” I said, “So, what part of Canada are you from?” She was amazed. “How did you know I was from Canada?” I explained that nobody from the U.S. would say, “I graduated from university”. You might say “I graduated from the University of Toronto”, or you might say “I graduated from college”. But you would never use the word “university” without an article attached.

I’ve also noticed British people use the word “hospital” with no article attached, as in, “He was admitted to hospital.” Is that a Canadian thing, too?

BTW, Canadians may not exactly say “oot” and “aboot”, but there is definitely a distinct difference in the way the “ou”/“ow” sound is pronounced. Strangely enough, people from Baltimore pronounce those sounds in a way very similar to the Canadian pronounciation. Anyone else notice this?

“For what a man had rather were true, he more readily believes” - Francis Bacon

I grew up in the UP of Michigan, and the Canadian influence there is big. The MacKenzie brothers were like demigods when I was growing up.

We wore chooks (I think that’s what shiner bock meant when he said “touks”), ride snow machines (snowmobiles), and drink jumbos (40 oz bottles of cheap beer.) And, of course, I spent my first few years in Colorado trying to remember NOT to say ‘eh’ at the end of every sentence.

There’s a few regional words that I haven’t heard anyplace else but up there. There’s the food - pasties and cudighi. And, when you rent an apartment, you pay “surety”, not a security deposit. Hmmm… what else? I can think of lots of things, but they sort of get lost in the typing. Much more funny to say them out loud!

I think I remember using the word “huck” to mean throw growing up in Illinios. Also, I don’t think “Bank Machine” would cause any strange looks, even though I usually use “ATM” or “Cash Machine”

Speaking of the MacKenzie Brothers, I recently saw Dave Thomas at a Rob Zombie/Korn concert. Not exactly the first person I expected to run into at an event like that!

I grew up in Upstate New York in the 70s, and the word “Canucks” was verboten – it was a fighting word. Now it’s a hockey team! Go figure.


I’m a woman phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That’s me
(Maya Angelou)

i seriously doubt you’ll find people wearing “touks” here in the states…
(From a man who learned Canadian from the MacKenzie Brothers)

->the actual word is toque, isn’t it?
(i’m a diehard Canadian…)

Well here in Chi-town, we use chuck and heave, but not huck. I suppose it isn’t that far off as to cause a odd look though. Bank machine is odd, but not confusing at all. ATM and Cash machine is standard, but one that really got me confused once was a person from one of the coasts (not sure which) asked for a “time” machine. I said…“You mean a clock?..Or did you watch too much Sci-Fi channel?”. She gave me a dirty look and explained what she wanted was one of those machines you put you bank card in a nd get money out of. I later in my travels realized that there is a chain of banks/teller machines with the brand name “Tyme”. And she gets pissed at me, when all I was doing was flirting, and trying to be helpful. As for winter beaters… nope. Wife beaters, and grocery getters, but no winter beaters.

The facts expressed here belong to everybody, the opinions to me. The distinction is
yours to draw…

Omniscient; BAG

Touk, chook, touque…I’m not sure how it is spelled, but that is how it was listed on a receipt for 2 stocking caps that my uncle (who is now my aunt, incidentally) bought my brother and I when we were young…

…and is it canadian law that any statement of fact must be phrased in the form of a question – kind of like Jeopardy???

Ex. – 2 + 2 = 4, eh?

BunnyGirl – What’s that noise?
Hosehead’s rollin’ up the roof, eh?

shiner bock

“When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not, hmmm?” – Yoda

There are some things that are “Canadian English” and some that are “American English”, but as well, I think there’s a sort of grey area in the middle where it blends somewhat together. I’m thinking of, say, northern Michigan or Minnesota where it’s sort of a mixture of US and Canadian english (and for that matter, culture).

Also there are some words (AFAIK) unique to that region. Like pasties - supposedly some sort of wrapped meat food(?), but this term isn’t used in that context in most of the rest of the US (I’m not sure about Canada). There’s another similar word here, but it’s unrelated :slight_smile:

And what’s the deal with curling? You hear about it every 4 years in the olympics, but it just seems to be a regional thing unique to northern Minnesota and southern Manitoba. Where else is curling done? You never hear of the Southern California Curling Association, for instance :-), and AFAIK, it’s also not done much further west or east in Canada either (But I admittedly haven’t really looked into it closely).


BTW, Happy Canada Day, eh?

Can someone enlighten me on why 1 July is CAnada Day (and no, because the 4th was already taken doesn’t count)

Haven’t you heard of Cornish Pasties? And lots of other types that I can’t think of right now.

Also :

Isn’t it big in Ireland too? Mind you, so is shinty, so it doesn’t say a lot for their national pastimes :slight_smile:

Happy, happy Canada Day. It’s Canada’s 132nd anniversary of confederation or something or other. I think what happened is that all the then-existing provinces entered into Confederation on this day in 1867, hence July 1 = Canada Day. I think. Given that Canada Day always happened after the school year ended, the details of the significance of the date have eluded me. Whatever. It’s a yay Canada, let’s go drink beer and watch fireworks day. Unfortunately, because my company has pretty much exclusively American customers, we’re all here today. But come 5 o’clock, we’re hitting the brew pub fer sure…

Oh, and the difference between Canadian English and US English is that we spell things correctly. :slight_smile: I will never submit to your evil vowel-dropping!! NEVER!!!

Curling was started in Scotland many many years ago. The actual beginnings of the game are lost in the mists of time.

The game is popular through most of the northern climates. Canada, Sweden, Norway, and of course Scotland among others.

I don’t know if any other border towns do this, but every year Detroit and Windsor throw a combination Canada Day/Fourth of July Fireworks display that is pretty awesome. They fire them off right over the Detroit River, which separates Michigan from Canada. The average attendance for this fireworks show is usually in the 1 million plus range, and that’s only on the Detroit side. I have no idea how many Windsor citizens attend, but I hear it’s probably close to that same number. They also show them on t.v., so if you don’t feel like braving the crowds, you can still see them. They usually hold them on the weekend closest to the two holidays, so this year it will be Friday (Saturday if it rains on Friday). I read recently that the only fireworks displays in the U.S. last year with a larger attendance was the Washington D.C. fireworks and New York City’s show (much large population in N.Y.)


Pasties: ground sirloin, potatoes, rutabagas, and various spices mixed together and baked in a crust. See

The only pasty shops I’ve ever seen are in the UP of Michigan, and they’re ubiquitous up there. The elementary school I attended had a weekly pasty bake, and server them for lunch on that day. I get cravings for the damn things now that I live 1400 miles from the UP. Ah, sweet pasties, cudighi, and Hartley’s. Food of the Gods.

PS - they are originally from Cornwall, but the Cornish Pasties I’ve had are very different from the ones made in the UP.

We have pasties where I’m from, too (S.E. US), but you’ll likely get arrested if you try to bite one…

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