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I am Canadian and I can verify that you are right except mostly it’s something closer to aboat, depending on the strength of the diphthong. Laura Vandervoort clearly says “aboot” at one point, and she is definitely Canadian. The Other variant is “aboat” (possibly the most common form) and even this prononciation varies by the strength of the person Canadian Raising. Sort of like “a-bow-t” (bow of a ship, not a bow tie). The more annoyed they get, though, the funnier the stereotype seems to get.  This used to be a common pronunciation in Newcastle as well, but has faded greatly in contemporary times. There are some exceptions (Billy Bragg, I think, is one), but for the most part, it’s hard to tell where a group is from by the singing, or even whether or not their native language is English. The Canadian province has expletives like no other. The shift itself? Anecdotally, when I lived on the New Brunswick border (Campebello Island) I heard the pronunciation frequently; maybe 1 out of 8 times. “What?!? Not sure if he was supposed to be a Newfie or from the Valley, though. (I have heard Canadians say the word “about” more times in the past week than in the entire four years I lived in Canada. Apparently Bob and Doug Mackenzie have had a lingering impression on the Americans. I was tree planting in British Columbia with a Newfoundlander. Follow us on social media to add even more wonder to your day. Canadian television probably abounds in what Canadians would not even notice as false Americanisms. What possible explanation can there be for the creation of this odd diphthong just north of the border? Since you mention Scotland… weren’t a lot of the original (English-speaking) Canadian settlers from Scotland? Yes, but you have to remember that the vowel you use in words “oat” and “boat” may not be the same as the vowel many Americans use in those words. You may think yourself above the influence of TV, but you apparently still make large-scale assumptions about Canadian attitudes on the basis of one PSA you saw. I told her that nobody in Canada really says “aboot,” that what they do say is something closer to an American pronunciation of “a boat,” and that most of the people in her town (I had spent a good deal of time in the town and was familiar with it) say it the same way as Canadians. Like ouch. We Americans, though, don’t have as much of an excuse for mishearing! “The Scottish band Franz Ferdinand has a song called Take Me Oot. Diversity of dialects is not unique to the States, and any educated American knows this. The point is that when we do say “about”, it doesn’t sound like we’re saying “about” to (at least some) American ears. I’d wager that this distinction was recognized a long time ago, but (as irony would have it and for reasons unknown) the common word that ended up serving as the ultimate demonstration of the difference was in fact a word that didn’t demonstrate the difference at all. Same thing in Quebec….our RCMP’s are just as mean and scary looking as our provincial police and I can attest to the fact that there are no red jackets or horses anywhere in sight. Conversely, I can often pick out an American by the way they say “about” and other words with an “ou” sound before a voiceless consonant. “What’s going on is a compound of pronunciation and perception,” says Dailey-O’Cain. When I was watching the news about the attawapiskat issue that started in the winter there’s an interview with the chief and he also says aboot. If Canadians would adopt the Americanism “whatever, man”, and tell us to screw ourselves, we might stop laughing at them. Is that even a thing? Yeah, I lived in Deep River for two summers as an undergrad working at AECL. Linguists have a map for this, a sort of ungainly parallelogram, but it also helps to just repeat the word to yourself and feel carefully for where your tongue goes. There are pretty big differences how Canadians talk depending on their province of origin, interestingly people from Ontario sound a lot like people from New York and strangely like people from California and BC, which are on the other side of the continent. A postcard showing Broad Street in Victoria, BC. Most commonly, the shift affects / aɪ / or / aʊ / (), or both, when they are pronounced before voiceless consonants (therefore, in words like price and clout, respectively, but not in prize and cloud). The Canadian way to say about (aboot) The easiest way to recognise a Canadian … Stop trying to be European, you unoriginal faggots.). I don’t know much about the Ottawa Valley accent, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some kind of “aboot”-like pronunciation. It is perhaps the least stable diphthong in English. There is basically only THREE Accents in Canada – Newfoundlander, French Canadian and the Standard Canadian accent which most English speaking Canadians have. The red circles are the people who say it with the vowel of “good”. If you are from US and listening to a commentary on a hockey match by a Canadian, you would feel that he said aboot when in reality, he said about. This is absolutely false. The last form is the weakest. Listen to Kate Beirness on TSN say things like “out,” “house,” and “about.” Her “ou” comes out a little like “oo.”. BTW, my father referred to the large upholstered piece of furniture as a “chesterfield,” and I read one place that the term is unique in such usage to Ontario–but neither he nor his ancestors had ever lived there. I Am from Ontario and I spoke to a woman last week from British Columbia and our accent was very similar except her “about” was slightly more Americanized sounding (though she still had a tad of “raising”) and her intonation was a little less sing-songy than mine.  But I have never found a clip of anybody from that area who says aboot. That’s a relief. And we don’t say ‘aboot’, it definitely sounds more like ‘a-boat’. The SOUNDS of the vowels are different in different accents. Very few old families left from what I understand, but you can certainly pick out the kids who have been there fore generations versus those who haven’t lived there more than five years (namely because you don’t know their middle name or if they have a dog, but the accent thing can be used too). 1 decade ago. Correction: This article originally misspelled Dan Aykroyd’s surname. These people that I’ve met in person as I mentioned above are not TV personas, either real or animated. “To American ears, the Canadian pronunciation of about often sounds like aboot, but this is only an illusion. There’s a scene in the movie where a Canadian mountie, portrayed by Steven Wright, says, “I don’t know what you’re talking aboot, eh?” And the “Oot and aboot” stereotype was pretty old by then already. Don’t be so quick to pull the trigger there, my family from Northern Manitoba DO say aboot, nearly as stereotypically as what’s portrayed in American media! I’ve always thought they said something like ‘aboot’, and I *think* this is from hearing Canadians rather than seeing written representations or hearing people doing bad impressions. Did it ever occur to you that we like talking about it because it interests us to hear what other people’s accents are across Canada? before words like about and house).. What does this mean? Canadians don’t pronounce about [aboot] The Battery, part of the city of St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Canada is one of the largest countries in the world but for some reason, when outsiders talk about it, they'll mention a single Canadian accent as if everyone spoke the same. I’ve never heard anyone say “aboot” in my life. Given this, they have a hard time imitating Canadians – “oo” is as close as most can get. This unique dialect separates Canada from the US, but many Canadians will tell you that they don’t always… Interesting that the orginal post and most all of the comments ignore that there are TWO “oo” vowels in English, the boot vowel, and the book vowel. One thing I’ve heard is that aboot is a pronunciation in a particular region of Canada: the Atlantic Provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, etc). When I purposefully pronounce it as “a boat”, it sounds like I’m speaking with an accent. I wouldn’t even say we pronounce “about” like “a-boat”. The classic purveyors of Canadian accents in the U.S.—from sketch comedy troupe SCTV. About rhymes with shout, our rout (not the root British pronunciation) - or "owww" when you hurt yourself. But at least that provides something for you to ‘chill’ on, Cat. The “Canadian accent” you hear in Hollywood is often more of a Minnesota/Wisconsin/Upper Peninsula accent. I think there has definitely been some confusion along the lines here o.0. It’s just a good ol’ fashioned stereotype, though fortunately I find this one rather harmless and a good way to jive each other without getting too serious. 😉. What I can remember about the show is that they followed a polar bear patrol officer as he drove his 4×4 around looking for any sign of polar bears. (Photo: Considering the geographical, cultural, and. The American was depicted as a drunken, illiterate brute who was threatening the Mountie with a pistol. I would never have known if I hadn’t read or heard it. well, what would YOU call people from the United States? I say it exactly how it’s spelled too – but you and I say it very differently. TV and people’s reactions to it, do actually provide a fairly useful view of how people see its subjects. They are large, intimidating figures with guns, who don’t take sh*t. This is Toronto, not Prince Edward Island; we have gun crimes, murder, rape, all the newsworthy crimes. Born in Winnipeg, grew up in Creighton, Sask on the northern Saskatchewan/Manitoba border: pronounced a-b-out. Every single “long vowel”—”ey,” “ee,” “aye,” “oh,” “ooh”—changed. Accent commonly refers to the sound changes, whereas dialectcommonly refers to word choice and phrasing. I think that’s where it started. Nor is it rising because it is not oot and aboot. Pingback: Why D.A.R.E. I was similarly puzzled for years about Americans claiming that Canadians pronounce “about” as /əˈbut/ (aboot) instead of /əˈbaʊt/ (about) since I had never heard anyone pronounce the /aʊ/ (ou) diphthong even remotely that way. First of all, can we stop calling it the “Canadian Accent”?? That sounds stupid, so we’re stuck with what we got. Prairies of Saskatchewan. Maybe so, but I don’t know anyone who sings with the same accent they speak with. It sound only like aboat towards the end but their is still an aspect of an “ow” sound. I’ve heard someone say ‘aboot’ several times. For example, Phoenix, who are from France. You’re right about “route”, but Canadians pronounce “rout” with the same “ou” sound as in “out and “about”. Maybe. Here’s a map (p. 292) of where people say “roof” with the vowel of “good”. (Photo: Watch a Smoke Tornado Swirl in a Soap Bubble, The Changing Nature of Lubunca, Turkey's LGBTQ Slang, How Do You Decode a Hapax? I have multiple friends from the Toronto area and they actually DO say “aboot” It might be somewhere between aboat and aboot, but in some areas it’s much stronger than the video examples you’ve listed. (Photo: Martin Cathrae/CC BY-SA 2.0). I could actually see how somebody from Southern England might hear “a-boot.” Around London or thereabouts the “oo” sound is more of a diphthong. Im from Vancouver and I’m certain that young people from here say əbʌʊt and definitely not əbɛʊt but I do notice əbɛʊt a lot when I talk to people from Ontario, I also noticed that people from the Prairies pronounce about more like “a boat.” As for “aboot” the only time I think I’ve heard it is watching Ricky from the Trailer park boys, I don’t know if it’s a Nova Scotia thing but if you fast forward to 1:21 it sounds like he says it: And some one who writes “aboot” as how they hear the Canadian pronounciation of about might now mean that they hear it as sounding like “a boot”. When they sing it, though, it definitely sounds like Take Me Out.”. In most Canadian accents, about sounds a bit like American a-boat (IPA əbʌʊt). Besides, we can say “North American” instead! If you’re wondering what the difference between “bait” and “beyt” is, well, there you have one possible origin of Canadian Raising. CrazyLady. (Photo: Rob/Public Domain), First catalogued in the 1940s and named by Jack Chambers in 1973, Canadian Raising is a shift found in Canada and in pockets of the northern United States (and, sort of, in Scotland) affecting two vowel sounds. This map features all of the basic vowels in English: “ah,” “ee,” “oh,” “ooh,” “eh,” that kind of thing. I may have pronounced it that way at one time (the change seems too easy), but I have been pronouncing the vowel as in “shoot” for some time. To the average non-Canadian, the pronunciation of “about” as “aboot” is the only Canadianism they know. Being on TV does not make something true, or widely assumed, but multiple people expressing shock when you tell them it’s not true tends to indicate that it’s a common belief. There is another form of “about” that sounds vagguely british, it’s neither aboat or aboot but “about” pronounced in a fancier, dare I saw haughty way. We definitely do not say “abawt” or “abaht”. I would say it’s distinctive. The first is the sound in the word “write,” and the second is our old friend, “about.”, “Canadian Raising has to do with two diphthongs,” says Jennifer Dailey-O’Cain, a linguist at the University of Alberta who was raised in the U.S. but now sports a fully-functioning (but self-aware) Canadian accent. There is NOT that much variation of the standard Canadian accent across the country, it’s basically the same with only slight nuances in between Provinces. No one seems to know how we got this nickname for people from Indiana. Does anyone have a clip of it? Most people can’t tell Canadians and Americans apart by accent but you will be able to instantly tell a Canadian accent when you learn just a few of its distinguishing features. ROSS MCLENNAN. a wonderful Canandianism...I too thought it to be a myth until I came to live in montreal. When they sing it, though, it definitely sounds like Take Me Out. Americans don’t believe everything they see on television. Maybe a certain population of Englishmen from that particular time period, around 1600, landed in Canada and due to its isolation failed to observe the further changes happening in England. The show was about how fewer and fewer bears came into town because they were being affected by ice melting etc. ( IPA əbʌʊt ) 1. no one is inferring ( or implying, which makes more in. Which most English speaking Canadians have no sense of humor ( yes, we do say! Came up about you, oh Great American one in most Canadian accents,,... 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