The term Canadian English is used to describe the dialects of English that are spoken in Canada—their vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and spelling.
The episodes of Forever Knight were inconsistent in the use of Canadian (rather than American) English. The show originated in the U.S., though it was filmed in Canada; and some of the screenwriters who wrote episodes of the series were American, and wrote in their native dialect. However, there are certainly many Canadianisms to be found in episodes of Forever Knight; and others may be of interest, especially to people who write fan fiction based on the series.
Canadian English is the product of four waves of immigration and settlement over a period of almost two centuries. The first large wave of permanent English-speaking settlement in Canada, and linguistically the most important, was the influx of British Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, who chiefly came from the Mid-Atlantic States. The second wave came directly from Britain and Ireland when settlement in Canada was encouraged after the War of 1812. Two waves of immigration from around the globe, one peaking in 1910 and the other in 1960, had a lesser influence; but they did make Canada a multicultural country.
- When writing, Canadians will start a sentence with "As well", in the sense of "in addition". For example:
"Nick had a different partner in Season Three from the first two seasons of Forever Knight. As well, he had a different commanding officer each season."
- Canadian and British English share idioms like "in hospital" and "to university" when the person discussed is in residence there. The definite article is only used for someone who is temporarily visiting the institution. In American English the definite article is mandatory in both instances. For example:
"Nick was in hospital in the episode "Night in Question" when he was shot in the head. Reese, Tracy, and Natalie went to the hospital to visit him, and discovered that he'd lost his memory."
Canadian English shares vocabulary with both American and British English. Indeed, in some cases the British and American terms coexist in Canadian English to various extents, and many Canadians are familiar with multiple synonyms, especially in areas (such as Toronto) where there is a great deal of immigration. Some distinctive words have been borrowed from aboriginal languages, and certain of these have entered English generally (e.g., muskeg, toboggan, wapiti). Other words have been borrowed from French (e.g., portage, prairie, rapids). However, the vocabulary of Canadian English also features words and usages that are seldom found elsewhere.
Preferred Canadian UsageEdit
In the following instances, Canadians usually follow the British rather than the American usage, or may use terms common in only some areas of the United States:
- railway: railroad (U.S.). Most other rail terminology follows American usage (e.g., ties and cars rather than sleepers and trucks).
- level crossing: railway at-grade junction (U.S. grade crossing).
- indictable offence, summary offence: felony, misdemeanour (U.S.)
- cutlery: silverware or flatware (U.S.).
- tap: faucet.
- elastic: rubber band.
- pop: carbonated beverage (also used in parts of the U.S.).
The differences in vocabulary between Canadian English and other dialects can be divided into two sorts. On the one hand, there are some Canadian words not found elsewhere, many of which are loan-words from native languages or French. Here one merely needs to learn the meaning of the new word. On the other hand, Canadians also have their own distinctive usages of words. These idioms are particularly prone to cause confusion for people who speak other dialects, since the words are familiar.
- First Nations: equivalent to American Indians or Native Americans in the United States. Does not include the Métis or Inuit.
- Inuit: today preferred to the older "Eskimo".
- Métis a constitutionally recognized individual born of an Aboriginal group, descended primarily from the marriages of Scottish and French men to Cree, Saulteaux, and Ojibwa women in southern Rupert's Land starting in the late 17th century, and the marriages of French women to Ojibway men starting in Quebec in the middle 17th century .
- bachelor apartment: an apartment all in a single room, with a small bathroom attached. The usual American term is studio apartment or studio.
- cottage: summer residence in the country. This is the usual term in Ontario, and contrasts with "cabin" in the U.S. and the Canadian West.
- washroom: public lavatory (Britain), restroom (U.S.)
- Indian reserve: Indian reservation (U.S.)
- eavestroughs: rain gutters. Originally also used in the U.S., but now rare there.
- first floor: ground floor of a building (same as in the U.S.) However, people often refer to the main floor in public buildings.
- prison/jail: a distinction is made between prisons (federal) and jails (provincial).
- duplex/semi-detached: a distinction is made between a duplex (two units on separate floors of one building, often sharing the exterior entrance) and a semi-detached house (two units side by side sharing a party wall, usually with separate exterior entrances). It is thus meaningful in Canada to talk of a duplex in a semi-detached house.
- real estate agent: realtor (U.S.), estate agent (U.K.); increasingly the American term is also being used.
- peameal bacon: mild-cured back bacon (brined, center cut boneless pork loin) usually today rolled in cornmeal. The U.S. "Canadian bacon", a type of smoked ham, is actually not familiar in Canada.
- double-double: a cup of coffee with two creams and two sugars, most commonly associated with the Tim Hortons chain of coffee shops. By the same token, triple-triple.
- poutine: a snack of french fries topped with cheese curds and hot gravy.
- homo: whole milk (normally homogenized). At the time Forever Knight was airing, milk was also sold as skim (nearly zero butter fat content), and two percent (2% butter fat); since then 1% milk has also become available.
- half-and-half: cream with 10% butter fat, usually used in coffee. At the time Forever Knight was airing, cream was also sold as coffee or table cream (18% butter fat) and whipping cream (35% butter fat); since then light cream (5% to 7%, depending on brand) has also become available. (The term "half-and-half" is also used in the U.S.)
- icing: frosting (U.S.); also icing sugar (U.S. powdered sugar, confectioner's sugar). Same as U.K. usage.
- Kraft dinner: macaroni and cheese (from a mix), not necessarily made by Kraft. It should be noted that, in Canada, Kraft actually labels the boxes as "Kraft dinner".
- chocolate/candy: a distinction is made, especially when referring to chocolate bars (U.S. candy bars).
- Coffee Crisp: one of the most popular types of chocolate bar in Canada, first marketed in 1938 by Rowntree's Canadian branch and now made by Nestlé. The bar is a combination of layers of coffee cream and wafers, with a milk chocolate coating. (A Coffee Crisp-flavoured ice cream is also marketed today, but not at the time Forever Knight was on the air.) For many years, Coffee Crisp was unavailable outside Canada.
- Smarties: small, flattened, round chocolate lozenges covered in a coloured candy shell (structurally similar to the U.S. "M&Ms"). Since the 1980s, they have come in the eight colours red, orange, yellow, blue, green, mauve, pink, and dark brown. Smarties have been manufactured since at least 1882, originally by Rowntree and now by Nestlé. (This is the usual usage everywhere except the U.S.)
- Both marks and grades are used to refer to a student's achievement results
- Students write or take exams; they do not sit them (U.K.).
Elementary and SecondaryEdit
- principal: the chief administrator of a school (same as in U.S.). The term is never used preceding the name as a title, i.e., "Principal Smith" is not a mode of address used in Canada.
- vice principal - an assistant to the principal of a school (same as in U.S.).
- Grades One, Two, etc.: first, second grade, etc. (U.S.).
- Grades Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve: freshman, sophomore, junior, senior years of high school (U.S.).
- college: either a post-secondary technical or vocational institution (community college), or one of the colleges that exist as federated schools within some Canadian universities. For this reason, "going to college" does not have the same meaning as "going to university".
- calendar - published by a university to list courses and requirements (catalog, U.S.)
- invigilator - people who supervise students during an exam (in some institutions).
- first-year, second-year student etc.: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior college students (U.S.) The term "freshman" is occasionally used.
- acclamation: to elect a candidate by acclamation means they were unopposed in the election, no other candidates.
- Confederation: the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed in 1867. Roughly equivalent to the U.S. "Union". The founding provinces are Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Those provinces that joined later are said to have entered Confederation.
- reeve: title equivalent to mayor in some small towns. (Going out of use.)
- Social Insurance Number: equivalent to national insurance number (U.K.), social security number (U.S.).
- tuque (or toque): a knitted winter hat without flaps, visor, or ties. It sometimes has a pompom on the crown, especially when made for children.
- bum: two meanings, either the buttocks (as in U.K.) or a homeless person (as in U.S.); but the "buttocks" sense does not have an indecent character, being commonly used as a polite or childish euphemism for ruder words, equivalent to "bottom" (which also is used in Canada).
- humidex: a measurement used by meteorologists to reflect the combined effect of heat and humidity.
- expiry date: same as Use by date (U.K.), expiration date (U.S.).
- pogey: unemployment insurance.
- garburator: (rhymes with carburetor) a garbage disposal.
- chesterfield: any type of couch or sofa (by comparison with classic furnishing terminology, where it refers only to a sofa whose arms are the same height as the back). However, though this was once a hallmark of Canadian English, "chesterfield" is now used largely by older people, having been replaced by "couch" (the most common term) or "sofa".
- postal code: code appended to mail addresses, functionally equivalent to the British postcode, or American ZIP code.
- fire hall: fire station.
- amber (traffic lights): the golden warning traffic light (same as U.K.).
- corner store: convenience or variety store, whether or not situated on a corner.
- line-up: queue (U.K.), line (U.S.); people lined up in single file, usually waiting for some reason.
- serviette: paper table napkin. Cloth ones are simply called "table napkins".
- Xs and Os: noughts and crosses (U.K.), tic-tac-toe (U.S.).
- J-cloths: Handi Wipes (U.S.). Brand name.