Canadian English

Canadian English is a form of an English dialect spoken in Canada. It is the standard dialect in all provinces of Canada except Quebec which French is the major language there. About 85% of Canadians speak English; 58% spoke English as their native language and 65% spoke English at home. Although English is not a major language in Quebec, it is spoken by 36.1% of Quebecois. Researchers show that Francophones are more likely to speak English well than Anglophones to be speaking French.

Over time, Canadian English comprises major elements of American English and British English as well as some Canadian characteristics that contrasts both American and British English but nowadays, Canadian speakers tend to be closer to American English due to the major American influence in films, industries, commerce etc.

The accents of Canadian English and American English are classified under a major variety of accents known as North American English due to the fact that these two accents cannot be easily distinguished despite that there are regional differences in American and Canadian accents in regional locations. [1] [2]


The term 'Canadian English' was first mentioned in an address by Reverend A. Constable Geikie, a Scottish person living in Canada, to the Canadian Institute in the 1860s. His address is about his perspective of Canadian English in a hundred years on which he refers that to 'a corrupt dialect' due to the American influence in Canadian speaking and refers proper speaking to speakers that came from Britain and Ireland.

Canadian English came about after waves of immigration, the first two immigrations played a major and important role in Canadian English. The first immigration was made by the Loyalists who has to flee the American Revolution in order not to be captured by the Patriots. The second immigration was made by the Governors-General of Canada to bring British and Irish immigrants to Canada because of the American dominance there especially after The War of 1812. Later immigrations were made, especially after the two world wars. As time passed, Canadian English has less influence and most of them didn't come from Britain and Ireland but they did make Canada a multicultural country.

Aboriginal languages in Canada has influenced French from Lower Canada to come up with new words such as toque and prairie which are coined as Canadianisms and has been used mostly in Upper Canada.[2]


Canadian English spelling comprises of both American English and British English spelling but tends to align with British English.

With correspondence to British English, Canadians retain the British -our instead of the American -or like colour, flavour, labour, armour etc. Canadians retain the British -re whilst Americans switch it to -er like centre, fibre, manoeuvre etc. Canadians retain the British -nce instead of the American -nse like defence, offence, pretence etc. Canadians retain the British grey instead of the American gray. Canadians retain the British practice of categorizing -ice into corresponding noun whilst -ise into corresponding verbs hence practice (noun) and practise (verb) whilst Americans use practice for both nouns and verbs but advice and advise are universal in all its respected form. Canadians also retain the British practice of doubling consonants (even when the syllable is unstressed) when changing it into a noun, past and present participles and sometime adjectives like traveller, travelled, travelling etc. Americans only double consonants when it is stressed like fulfill etc. British spells it with one consonant and Canadians retain the British fulfil, skilful, enrolment etc.

With correspondence to American English, Canadians retain the American -ize (this also goes with inflections like -ization) and -yze instead of the British -ise (-isation) and -yse (despite -ize and -ization is also used in Britain) like realize, globalization, analyze etc. Unlike British English, on which program is used in computing contexts and programme for other situations like a television programme. Canadians use the American program for both purposes. This also can be seen in Australian English. When it comes to automotive situations, Canadians retain the American curb and tire instead of the British kerb and tyre. Canadians pronounce and spell the American aluminum instead of the British aluminium.

Canadian English spelling varies from British English and American English due to Canada's history. For example, Canadians retain the British cheque instead of the American check due to Canada's financial ties with Britain. Canada's automotive industry, on the other hand, retains American spelling so it's tire instead of tyre and retains American terminology like drive a truck instead of lorry, fix the trunk instead of boot

Related pages


  1. "Canadian English". AhmKanY7 accessdate=2009-03-26. Missing pipe in: |publisher= (help); line feed character in |publisher= at position 9 (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Canadian English". AhmKanY7. Retrieved 2009-03-26.