Claude Bouchard Books

Crime thrillers and other stuff...

Ramble On

Apologies for Canadian Spelling

Posted by bigceebee on November 17, 2011 at 11:40 AM

As some of you may be aware, I’m a writer. I’m also Canadian. Over time, I’ve received comments regarding the improper spelling of some words in my novels. For this, I apologize but beg you to allow me the opportunity to explain such writing anomalies.


Being Canadian and having lived in Canada most of my life, I learned to read and write in Canadian schools. Now, don’t get me wrong, schools in Canada are fine learning institutions where we’re taught math with the same number system, decimals and fractions used in the U.S. and elsewhere on the planet. The location of countries and cities we learn about in geography are identical to those taught in schools outside of Canada. In fact, pretty much everything the Canadian educational system teaches students is the same as what students learn south of our border… Everything except English…


Before any of you start getting annoyed and criticizing Canada for this faux pas however, please consider that we Canadians are not to blame. If we were, we’d take responsibility and accept our well deserved lumps. The truth of the matter is, much of the wacky English we Canadians write was bestowed upon us by the Brits. We’ve made our efforts to correct things over the years, orally at first by learning to speak without an accent and, on this point, we are light years ahead of other British colonies such as Australia.


On the writing side, our progress has been slower, although we’ve managed to learn to properly spell words such as ‘tire’ (tyre) and ‘curb’ (kerb). It’s been years since we’ve ceased calling a car hood a bonnet and we never stick anything in the boot; it goes in the trunk. In addition, we’re not even sure what 'bangers and mash' are and don’t ever expect us to order a ‘Toad in the Hole’, even in a fine restaurant. That said, however, I admit we still have a ways to go until we attain the refined level of American English. In the interim, I’ve put together the following lexicon of some of the more common barbaric words we still use to help you understand what the hell we’re saying in our massacred English.


Centre: Center

Cheque: Check

Check: Verify

Colour: Color

Defence: Defense (Not to be confused with ‘the fence’;)

Eh?: You know what I mean?, Get it?, etc.

Kilogram: A bit over a coupla pounds (2.20462 pounds)

Kilometre: Kilometer or ‘1 mile x 0.6’

Labour: Labor

Programme: Program

Rumour: Rumor

Travelled: Traveled

Z (pronounced zed): Z (pronounced zee)

If you liked my post, you'd love my thrillers. Try Vigilante for starters:

Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In


Reply Rob Metras
12:12 PM on November 17, 2011 
Eh ? is correct but you forgot the most repeated word daily Double Double c'est vrai mon ami
Reply bigceebee
12:16 PM on November 17, 2011 
Ah, my dear Rob, that would be applicable in Quebec but not in Canada as a whole. I'd also consider several other french words related to the Catholic church which would be more popular in Quebec. :)

Rob Metras says...
Eh ? is correct but you forgot the most repeated word daily Double Double c'est vrai mon ami
Reply ericbt
03:49 PM on November 17, 2011 
If I thought you had any reason to apologize, I would suggest you add "Enquire: Inquire" to your lexicon, but I don't, so I won't. ;-)
Reply Saidul Hassan
07:15 AM on November 18, 2011 
I totally disagree with your apology! I'm from a place an education system where people are screwed with bizarre spellings between US & UK. We've been ruled by England for over 200 years and we read American text books. Now we are confused which one is more acceptable. So we use whatever, whenever we like. And personally I've worked for an US company, now for an AU company. Imagine my situation before apologizing.

We are a proud nation for our mother language and we have spilled our blood to protect it. Once England ruled the world, so theirs was the standard. Now US rules, so may be US is the standard now. But if anybody tells me mine is not acceptable, well F*** you. They say China & et.all will rule the world in next 30 years. So, do I need to apologize for not knowing Chinese or different dialectal Chinese? I don't think so. You should be proud of your Canadian dialect.

I'm not ashamed because I am not fluent in English. I'm proud because I know my native language and a second language! So should be you! You know your Canadian English, then also UK and US dialect. People who complain about your spelling/dialect, they should be ashamed because they know nothing except their native one.

BTW, I noticed you are prone to apology! ;)
Reply Diane Henders
02:13 PM on November 18, 2011 
As a fellow "Canajen, eh?", I've neatly sidestepped the issue of kilograms and kilometres by being old enough that I still write about (and think in) feet, inches, miles, and pounds. That should make the U.S. readers feel at home, but I guess it'll just confuse the heck out of the younger Canadians. Can't please 'em all. :-)
Reply Derek Haines
11:51 AM on December 02, 2011 
It could be worse Claude. You could be Australian!

I get comments all the time and the odd, 'What the hell is a chook?' type question. Aussie English does have its own Cambridge Style Guide, which comforts me when I'm not sure. However I really do believe each and every English writer should proudly use their own distinct version of our language. That's what has made it so rich and grown to have the largest vocabulary of any language in the world.

I've read just about every version of English, and in my mind, as long as you are consistent and don't mix your versions of English, it is good writing.

So no worries mate. She'll be apples. I'll tell everyone to take a squizz at your books!

Um? Is there two P's in apple over your way? :)

Subscribe To Our Site


Follow this blog

Kindle Versions

Print Versions