Who is speaking up for Canadian English?


tay
#1
The elusive Canadian identity is often defined by what it isn’t, a spirit of absence that may explain what’s gone missing from the story of our language.


Canada doesn’t have its own dictionary.


Ten years ago on Sunday, what turned out to be the final edition of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary was officially published to great acclaim and not a little pride – the kind of peculiar, parochial Canadian pride that celebrates the lexical enshrinement of the hoserish phrase May Two-Four (“noun Cdn informal Victoria Day”) and finds it a small betrayal to ask for the restroom or the loo.




Four years later, the research unit that monitored Canadian English was shut down, and the task of watching over the country’s linguistic quirks was reassigned to Oxford’s lexicographers in the United States and Britain – foreign places where a request for the washroom brings a blank stare if not a hint of condescending scorn.


Could there be a better way of putting Canadian English in its place, humbling its aspirations to independence from the superpowers that set the pace for a globalized language and its bathroom breaks?


“We’re going back now from being a country that establishes its own norms to being one that is almost dictated to from outside,” says Stefan Dollinger, professor of linguistics at University of British Columbia and editor of the forthcoming Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles. “Frankly, I don’t believe they’ll do a thorough job of revising the Canadian dictionary because that’s not really their major focus.”


The Canadian Oxford was the last of the country’s research-driven print dictionaries, definitive volumes intended for a broad national readership that yearned for guidance, enlightenment and occasional delight. Its disappearance left a vacuum that has proved hard to fill.


Some countries care more about their lexical identity:


Think of the Académie française, France’s ultimate authority on vocabulary, grammar and usage. Canada’s history as a former British colony with a strong French presence in the shadow of a culturally dominant American neighbour has made it difficult to argue for a distinct brand of Canadian English, and perhaps encouraged a laissez-faire approach to national standards. When Heather Sangster, an editor at Strong Finish Editorial Design in Toronto, has to make a judgment call for a corporate client wondering whether it’s (Oxford-preferred) pyjamas or pajamas or even PJs, her guiding rule is: “Consider your audience. You don’t want style conventions to override the message.”


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Who is speaking up for Canadian English? - The Globe and Mail
 
Ludlow
#2
Well I do know that American anglish ain't no account.
 
darkbeaver
#3
I have always been a staunch supporter of Canadian Englich eh.
 
Locutus
#4
wow. I didn't realize this was such an enormous problem.
 
taxslave
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Ludlow View Post

Well I do know that American anglish ain't no account.

Ceptin iztz easier to unnestan than whut Blackie speeks.
 
Twila
#6
Instant access and globalization have us wanting to look and sound just like them. Them being whom ever is in the spotlight at that moment.

Language has never been and will never be static. Forcing a hold on traditional ways in this ever evolving world is counter productive.