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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Those Crazy Canucks!!!

And I say it with all fond-
God, I really needed a laugh today, and Angela Messenger provided one for me. Don't fail to miss her Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart.

We Canadians and Americans (yes, we're going to irritate you Canucks by claiming possession of the word "Americans") sometimes have our sibling squabbles --

US: "Will you guys quit sending those arctic blasts our way?"
Canada: "Stop stealing our best hockey players, you couldn't get a home grown one to save your souls."

US: "Well, at least stop sending all those guys in sheets from coming over your borders."
Canada: "We will if you stop sending the illegal Alien Mexicans - the Yukon can only support so many paper flower and orange vendors."

US: "How come you get so upset when Europeans can't tell your accents from ours?*"
Canada: "Because even we run out of red thread sewing our flag on our backpacks, we just want to hitch a ride in Switzerland, and not get dumped on because you people have a scorched earth policy, cut us a break, eh?"

But on this eve of Thanksgiving, I am remembering and being grateful to our
Friendly Neighbors to the North.

Canada, I am one American who does not forget that when the US embassy in Iran was over run in late 1979 in all the confusion you hid a large number of US diplomats and citizens in your embassy compound. We had a hostage crisis for 444 days, but your actions at that time were truly noble. You risked your own necks in giving those you were able to hide false Canadian identity papers, and managed to keep them from the Iranians.

You weren't a bit more clairvoyant than we were as to what was going to happen to our diplomatic personnel, and you went out of your way to help us, endangering yourselves.

All friendly back and forth all-in-good-fun-
snipping aside, I thank you for helping us then. I thank you for standing against terrorism with us now.

AND THANK YOU for opening up your homes and putting up thousands of our citizens along with citizens from many nations on September 11 and the days immediately following.


*(The reason it DID work was because if even we ourselves can't tell each other apart unless we're really "listening" and our British friends have a hard enough time discerning our accents - the Iranians didn't stand a chance. Neener-neener, we were right you DO sound like us! Or do we sound like you ;-D )


Anonymous said...


gemoftheocean said...

Well, one good joke deserves another. I can remember sometimes being asked by London cabbies if I was an American. When I said "yes" they were relieved when they had guessed right, because a lot of us sound like a lot of you. Particularly the further out of Montreal you are. For most of you the most distinctive thing is that slight stress on the "ou" dipthong, and then that may or may not be pronounced depending on how far west the Canadian is. Once in a London restaurant my mom and I didn't let on but we were a little surprised (or sort of not) that we had been sitting next to a couple from Toronto. Sometimes you have that East coast or Southern US distinctive accent from the US that's a dead give away. But If you throw a person from Alberta together with say a person from Colorado an Australian or other non-north American anglophone would be hard pressed - I don't go around reciting the alphabet and I bet you don't either!

I REALLY loved your weather things. SO true. I had some New England and east coast winters -- but where you are, those would be probably considered "Balmy" -- anything over 0F would be "balmy." Right now it's 55.6 and I'm considering turning on the thermostat. My guess with the same weather you'd be in a tank top in front of a fan.
If not quite, almost -- for sure if the sun's out.

Anonymous said...

Gem, when I was in England (in Stratford-upon-Avon no less!) they thought I was American.

When I am in New York they think I sound English...or I'm a WASP from Connecticut!

However, I CAN do a mean Noo Yawk accent as my dad lived on Long Island for years. You should hear my stepmom and her family "tawk" LOL! We always used to tease my stepmom with "Liz, wouldya like a cup a cwoffee?" We were brats - but she took it well! My brothers name is Robert but when the Long Islanders said it, it came out as "Rabit."

My in-laws are from Nova Scotia and they have combination lilt,drawl and twang. It's quite charming. The Newfies - can barely understand them!

My SIL is from Manchester and for "bucket" she says "boo-ket" but my nieces (living near London) say it the "correct" way. In fact both girls have won top honors in elocution at a literary festival.

Language - it's a cool thing!

Marie said...

I once met a Canadian lady and asked where abouts in America did she come from?

Man!!! Did I get my head bit off!!! LOL

I never made THAT mistake again LOL.

in fun


Stephen said...

Personally, I don't have a hard time distinguishing between Canadian and American accents - but then, as you know, I've lived in Toronto for years (and while I'm in the UK this year, I'll be heading back there before too long).

Canada, of course, has already taken revenge on the USA anyway. Two words: Céline Dion.

swissmiss said...

When I lived in Seattle, everyone thought I was Canadian. Think it was my partial Fargo accent that confused them. After living in Seattle for ten years, losing my Midwest accent and moving home, I always giggled at my family because they sounded like the movie...mostly my WI family :)

My great-grandfather was born just north of Toronto.

And, thank you Canada, for Alex Trebec.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun..

gemoftheocean said...

Marie, it's because (she says donning full armor) the dear Canadians are much fewer in number, and are a bit paranoid [flame thrower ducked] - and if you're going on the law of averages and aren't attuned to the subtle differences between a hefty bulk of US English speakers vs Canadians, it can be very difficult to tell. Even *we* aren't always alert enough to hear them. In the cold months some Canadians do come down for some sunshine - we call them "Snowbirds." Now, for sure there are US accents that in no way would be mistaken as Canadian: a US southern accent or those nuts in Boston or the good people of Noo Fricken Yawk. But for the bulk of the rest of us, I don't blame you. The chief way to distinguish a Canadian accent is that "ou" dipthong is a little more pointedly stressed like the "oo" in "boo."
For instance "about" is a little more like "aboot" although even that isn't quite "on." In the US oftentimes choice of words can help pinpoint you where a person is likely to be from. If I hear someone say "pop" and not "soda" I know I'm likely talking with a midwesterner. Hundreds of things like that, but we all move around so much ourselves that we don't think much of it. For instance, around here I know if I'm talking to a native Ca. girl -- the
"pin" and "pen" both sound like "pin." And socal people tend to use "sack" rather than "bag." [for groceries] BTW, the east coast Canadians have their regional accents too.

At any rate, one of my favorite words is "shibboleth." In the old testament, there's a part where there's a conflict and the factions are trying to figure out who's who. Pronounce the word "shibboleth" wrong and you're a dead man!

gemoftheocean said...

Swiss: Fargo has people?! [much less accents.... :-D ]

There's a great website you should visit -- I'm not even going to describe it much, just go - LOTS of Fargo and ND stories about his family and some really neat photo essays and pics of old time Fargo. And the guy is as funny as all get out. I got my maidenform lady from him.

[I found other maidenform ladies out there, but she was my favorite.]

Stephen said...

There are also, of course, Canadian accents that could in no way be mistaken for American - that's especially true the further east you go into the Maritimes (and a Francophone - rather than fluently bilingual - Québecois would likely speak somewhat French-accented English). A native Newfoundlander with a strong local accent sounds *very* distinctive.

gemoftheocean said...

Yup on those Newfies Stephen. A co-worker of mine and his family original hail from Newfoundland - he grew up in Michigan from a fairly young age - but through the influence of mom and dad he still managed to retain "eh" and that stressed "ou" pronunciation! Usually about 13/14 is where an accent is finally set - it might modify slightly over time, but a kid who spoke "southern" is never going to be mistaken for a New Englander. (Although Stephen Colberts conscious effort to speak with a neutral US accent rather than a native South Carolinian is unusual, but I suppose that can happen.

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