Take off that tuque and grab a donair: 'Canadianisms' that confound non-Canadians


B00Mer
+1
#1
Take off that tuque and grab a donair: 'Canadianisms' that confound non-Canadians



If you've visited friends or relatives south of the border for the holidays, or vice-versa, you may have dealt with a quizzical expression or two after taking off your toque inside and setting aside the two-four case of beer.

That was the inspiration for Jules Sherred, a blogger for GeekMom.com. Citing several instances when Americans were "baffled" over what she calls her "Canadian English," Sherred began a survey of the most Canadian words ever -- the ones that non-Canadians had either never heard of or do not use regularly.

She surveyed 175 people from Canada, the United States and other countries and compared how familiar they were with 55 words and terms that she calls "Canadianisms." The ones that more Canadians were familiar with, and less familiar for all others, could be considered the "most Canadian" entries.

Sherred noted that, unlike the U.S. where dozens of dialects and region-specific terms can ensure moments of confusion between someone from Boston and someone from Memphis, most Canadianisms were at least familiar to people across the country.

A Canadian version of the New York Times dialect quiz, which maps out your use of certain words and phrases according to its frequency in the U.S., then, would probably have far less variation.

She did note, however, that Toronto and some parts of Alberta had below-average usage of some of these terms, perhaps giving credence to the Toronto-versus-the-rest perception many Canadians have of the city.

Among some of the best-known Canadianisms:



1) Tuque: the woolly dome that keeps your head warm and your hair ruined is best known in the U.S. as a knitted cap, beanie or ski cap. Sherred gave a shout-out to a story by CBC News Edmonton from earlier this month that explored the origins and multiple spellings of the tuque...or toque...or is it took? It was also the only term that she rated as 100 per cent Canadian, meaning every Canadian she surveyed were familiar or used the word.



2) Homo milk: 92 per cent of Canadians surveyed knew this term for milk with 3.25 per cent fat, while some Americans surveyed were offended by it. Sherred notes that the word "homo" is often used as a slur for a homosexual person. It's worth noting that calling homo milk "homogenized milk" isn't strictly accurate, since most of the milk you'll find in supermarkets are homogenized, regardless of its fat content.



3) Mickeys and two-fours: 88 per cent of Canadians were familiar with the mickey, otherwise known as a 375 ml bottle of alcohol. Sherred notes that "mickey" is more widely known as a slang term for a date rape drug in the U.S., similar to "roofie."

The two-four, or case of 24 beers, enjoys 90-per-cent Canadian familiarity, while non-Canadians refer to it more generally as a case.



4) Donair: A late-night favourite from the Maritimes, this pita wrap shares its lineage with the gyro or doner kebab. Unlike those two items, which use lamb meat, the donair is known for sliced beef and a distinctive sweet white sauce. Sherred noted that the only Canadians unfamiliar with the donair were from Ontario, and then most of them from Toronto. The Halifax staple has only recently begun to appear in a handful of locations in the GTA.



5) Runners: 85 per cent of Canadians referred to their running shoes as runners, while Americans know them as sneakers, tennis shoes or as "Nikies" regardless of whether the pair in question are made by Nike. One American surveyed told Sherred that the word "runners" was most commonly used to refer to a thin table cloth that runs under a centrepiece and across the sides of the table.

What do you think is the most Canadian word, term or phrase? Which word in Sherred's list elicits the most confused or befuddled faces from your friends? Let us know in the comments section.

source: Take off that tuque and grab a donair: 'Canadianisms' that confound non-Canadians - Your Community
 
Locutus
#2
melk
 
Sal
+2
#3  Top Rated Post
I knew all five... we used to decide on the weekends when we were underage if we would be buying mickey's or 26 ers.
 
taxslave
#4
Zunga. Where I grew up this is what we called a Rope swing hung from a tree, generally but not always over a swimming hole.
 
Christianna
+1
#5
Back in 1969 when we first immigrated to Canada, I mean the first town we came to I wanted to buy the kids some new runners. So we waltz into a store and I look around, finally I said to a near by store employee "where would I find the tennis shoes?", He said "what?". So I explained that they were canvas topped shoes with rubber soles. He said "Oh you want runners", and took me to the tennis shoes. Later we settled in the Yukon and I began to meet people. I spent one full day crying because I couldn't believe that we were all born to speaking English but boy did we speak it differently. The last one that stunned me was when we were sitting in a friends back seat as we were going somewhere. The wind was a bit strong so I said to our friend "Bob, could you please turn that wind wing as it is really windy back here". He said "my whattttttt?", So I said " you know that little window in the corner of the car". He said "My no draft?", So I said "your whattttt?". Then I did a little survey among our friends, they overwhelmingly called it "that little window in the corner".
 
relic
+1
#6
We called those little windows "vent a panes" and no draft,and I for one miss them.
 
Walter
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by relicView Post

We called those little windows "vent a panes" and no draft,and I for one miss them.

They left when AC took over.

We always sat on the chesterfield as we watched TV. The good chesterfield in the living room as called a couch.
 
55Mercury
#8
Muskoka chair.

Adirondack chair, really, but this ain't the Adirondacks, eh?

I get a kick out of how people will use other words for things as if it makes them sound classier. lol Must be snowbirds maybe, but seriously people, it's a fu<king sun room, okay? Not a "Florida" room!
 
Sal
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

They left when AC took over.

We always sat on the chesterfield as we watched TV. The good chesterfield in the living room as called a couch.

yeah chesterfield...forgot about that...if you look in many of the high end funky furniture places all of those "looks" from yesteryear are surfacing again.
 
Christianna
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by relicView Post

We called those little windows "vent a panes" and no draft,and I for one miss them.

Funny that, I had never really paid attention , but you are right they are gone now that I think about it.
 
Walter
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by ChristiannaView Post

Funny that, I had never really paid attention , but you are right they are gone now that I think about it.

As are vinyl roofs, thankfully.
 
Sal
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by ChristiannaView Post

Funny that, I had never really paid attention , but you are right they are gone now that I think about it.

It took me a while to even remember them...it was kind of a mind trip when I finally did.
 
petros
#13
Pop is another. In the US it's soda, UK it,s fizzy drinks.
 
55Mercury
#14
well 'pop' is short for soda-pop.

the yanks adopted the first part and we got the leftovers.

likewise 'runners' is short for running shoes. I rarely used the term 'runners'. always called them running shoes or sneakers.
 
relic
+1
#15
For those that might care, GM dropped the "vent a pane" in '69 on the two door models,the sedans kept it for, I believe one more year. Other brands,I don't know,I'm a serious GM fan.
 
Cliffy
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by relicView Post

For those that might care, GM dropped the "vent a pane" in '69 on the two door models,the sedans kept it for, I believe one more year. Other brands,I don't know,I'm a serious GM fan.

Woe! You really are a relic!
 
Blackleaf
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Pop is another. In the US it's soda, UK it,s fizzy drinks.


We call it pop in the UK, too. Except in Scotland, where they call it ginger.
 
Christianna
#18
I grew up in California where we all called any carbonated drink coke. I still do on occasion.
 
Blackleaf
+1
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by 55MercuryView Post

well 'pop' is short for soda-pop.

the yanks adopted the first part and we got the leftovers.

likewise 'runners' is short for running shoes. I rarely used the term 'runners'. always called them running shoes or sneakers.

The first known reference of the term “Pop”, as referring to a beverage, was in 1812 in a letter written by English poet Robert Southey. In this letter, he also explains the term’s origin: “Called on A. Harrison and found he was at Carlisle, but that we were expected to supper; excused ourselves on the necessity of eating at the inn; supped there upon trout and roast foul, drank some most admirable cyder, and a new manufactory of a nectar, between soda-water and ginger-beer, and called pop, because ‘pop goes the cork’ when it is drawn, and pop you would go off too, if you drank too much of it.”

So, far from being a Canadianism, "pop" to mean fizzy drink is a British term adopted by the Canadians.

Carbonated (fizzy) water was, of course, invented by a Briton.



In 1767, Englishman Joseph Priestley first discovered a method of infusing water with carbon dioxide to make carbonated water when he suspended a bowl of distilled water above a beer vat at a local brewery in Leeds, England. His invention of carbonated water (also known as soda water) is the major and defining component of most soft drinks.

Priestley found that water treated in this manner had a pleasant taste, and he offered it to friends as a refreshing drink. In 1772, Priestley published a paper entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air in which he describes dripping oil of vitriol (or sulphuric acid as it is now called) onto chalk to produce carbon dioxide gas, and encouraging the gas to dissolve into an agitated bowl of water.
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 29th, 2013 at 11:20 AM..
 
karrie
#20
I find there are few words that are used by all of Canada. It's amazing how regionalisms creep in.


For example, if I combine rice crispies and marshmallows, press it into a pan, cut that into square shapes, put those on a plate, and serve it at a party.... what am I serving?


(and yes, this was the source of a recent two day long debate on facebook between my brother's Albertan friends, and his fiancée's 306'er friends).
 
SLM
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

I find there are few words that are used by all of Canada. It's amazing how regionalisms creep in.


For example, if I combine rice crispies and marshmallows, press it into a pan, cut that into square shapes, put those on a plate, and serve it at a party.... what am I serving?

Rice Krispie Treats. Am I right or wrong? Lol.


Quote:

(and yes, this was the source of a recent two day long debate on facebook between my brother's Albertan friends, and his fiancée's 306'er friends).

The only real way I'd be fighting (ahem, sorry, debating) about this topic is if no one gave me any to eat!
 
petros
+1
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post



For example, if I combine rice crispies and marshmallows, press it into a pan, cut that into square shapes, put those on a plate, and serve it at a party.... what am I serving?

Hang on one second while I put on my bunny hug.

You're making pot scrubbers.

PS I'm both a 306er and a 639er.
 
karrie
+2
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Rice Krispie Treats. Am I right or wrong? Lol.



wrong! Rice Crispie squares. you might make treats, I make squares, apparently a bunch of 306'ers make 'cake'. And now petros is muddling it more. lol.
 
petros
+1
#24
As a 639er it's my duty.

Treats are for pets.

I've never heard it called cake.

How many Canadians have heard of a Denver sammich?
 
SLM
+1
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

wrong! Rice Crispie squares. you might make treats, I make squares, apparently a bunch of 306'ers make 'cake'. And now petros is muddling it more. lol.

Squares/treats.....let me eat some & you can call 'em whatever you want!

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

As a 639er it's my duty.

Treats are for pets.

I've never heard it called cake.

How many Canadians have heard of a Denver sammich?

Denver sandwich (or sammich as some say) is like a Western sandwich, isn't it? Omelet style with ham on toasted bread.
 
petros
#26
Close, scrambled egg, ham and onion. If you asked for a Western on the Prairie, you'd get a response of "WTF is that?"
 
SLM
+1
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Close, scrambled egg, ham and onion. If you asked for a Western on the Prairie, you'd get a response of "WTF is that?"

I always had it with green pepper too. Kind of a half scrambled, half omelet concoction. Tasty whatever damn name you call it by, lol.
 

Similar Threads

21
Thirty Five Dollars for a Tuque!
by bill barilko | Oct 5th, 2011
30
Another Cash Grab by Cable TV
by Bar Sinister | Aug 17th, 2010
184
Canadianisms - Unique Words & Expressions
by countryboy | Feb 24th, 2010
16
How Bush Works.POWER GRAB
by Ocean Breeze | Oct 17th, 2005
no new posts