English English ver­sus Cana­jun English….eh?

Asian Journal - - Editorial -

This week I was mus­ing on what I would share with you this week when an an­nouncer on a ra­dio com­mer­cial did some­thing so strange that she got me think­ing about how we can pro­nounce the same word or prod­uct dif­fer­ently, depend­ing on the part of the world we orig­i­nate from. The of­fender that set me off this week how­ever, came up with a whole new take on that most ex­otic sports cars, the Jaguar. I have heard it pro­nounced (as do I) “Jag-wahr”. It seems to me that many peo­ple from Bri­tain pro­nounce it “Jag-yew-ar”. But imag­ine my sur­prise when the pitch per­son said I could win a brand new Jag-wire. That’s a whole new one on me. I can hardly wait to see one. Any re­la­tion to fire-wire or high-wire? When I was trav­el­ing in Eng­land and Wales years ago I caused great en­ter­tain­ment, and some­times con­ster­na­tion, as the kid from the colonies as­saulted their lan­guage mer­ci­lessly. I had the nerve to ask for some­thing from the trunk of the car – oops sorry, the boot of the car. Next, I was chas­tised for ask­ing how to ac­cess the en­gine to put oil in. I asked where the hood re­lease was. I’m guess­ing they thought I was talk­ing about the lo­cal jail (or gaol). I needed in­stead to get un­der the bon­net (go fig­ure). I asked to get out of the car to take a pic­ture (snap) and in­structed my cousin to let me out on the side­walk. Ul­ti­mately we fig­ured out that over there, the side­walk was called the pave­ment, and the pave­ment was the tar­mac (as­phalt as in road sur­face). If I needed to put gas in my truck, I sen­si­tively con­sulted Ber­litz, which told me I had to put petrol in my lorry (and this is os­ten­si­bly the same lan­guage). Un­for­tu­nately my un­kind­est cut of all oc­curred when we ar­rived at the va­ca­tion park on An­gle­sey. I com­pli­mented my cousin on hav­ing a great trailer! Turns out that it is a car­a­van, and a trailer is some­thing you tow be­hind your car when tak­ing stuff to the dump. It al­most got me to the dump. Well, all these years later, back on the right side of the At­lantic (if your point of view is north po­lar look­ing south) I still have fun with the dif­fer­ences. It took me a lot of hard work to train an English col­league of mine to say Chill-i (as in “it”) wack, in­stead of Chill-ee-wack. Chilly it may be on some morn­ings, but not as part of the name. So you say alu-min-ee-um and I say al-oom-min-um You say vitt-a- minn and I say vite – a- min toe-may-toh to-matt-oh, poe-tay-toh poe-tatt-oh and be­fore we call the whole thing off, can’t we at least re­solve how to pro­nounce sched­ule (the bain of any CBC an­nouncer?) I say Sked-yule oth­ers say Shed-yule. But you say Skool not shool, and it’s spelled school, yes?

I rest my case! Court is ad­journed un­til next week.


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