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Author Topic: Canadians saying aboot
waterlily
Jingle Bell Hock


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I'm Canadian and I've noticed that one of the stereotypes Americans have of us is that we say aboot instead of about. There seems to be some truth to other stereotypes about our speech like saying eh (though everybody says it so casually it's hardly noticable) and saying sorry a lot. However, I have no idea where the aboot thing came from. I've listened carefully to everyone saying about and it's not even close to aboot. Could it be from another part of Canada (I'm from the west) or that the Americans say abawt and, to their ears, we sound like we're saying aboot?
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Corwin
I Am Curious Bluefin


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It sounds, to my ears, that Southern Ontarians pronounce "ou" somewhere between a long 'o' with a bit of a short 'u' (but not the one in "butt", the one that's in "put"), closer to the 'o'. I suspect French influence.

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NeeCD
Happy Holly Days


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I always hear it more as "aboat" or maybe somewhere between "aboot" and "aboat." I agree that it could be more of an Eastern thing. I hardly notice anything when I talk to people from BC. FWIW, I hear the word as "abowt" like ow! with an "ab" and a "t" on either end.

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What does "Bookachow", "YOMANK!" and other lingo mean?

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laiskuri
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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To me the "about" rhymes with "afloat". More or less
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csel's in 2nd Grade
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I've heard it before - as NeeCD said, between "aboot" and "aboat" - but I don't associate it with Canada, rather a region of North America up around Wisconsin, upper Illinois, Minnesota, and south-central (I guess) Canada.

And, I find it charming, actually - but I don't assume all Canadians speak that way, or all Wisconsinites (??) for that matter. I assumed it was just a regional thing, like certain differences in Southern accents (Texas is different from Arkansas, generally). Not everyone has the regional stuff, even if they are from the region.

And I bet I get pilloried for either a) not making sense or b) comparing Illinois to Wisconsin. Tooo tired.......zzzzzzz

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Psihala
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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'Aboat' (properly pronounced 'aboht') is something you see on the lehke.

~Psihala
(*Born in Duluth (duh-LUTE), dont'cha know.)

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Chance
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I always thought it was nonsense, because I've never heard anyone say "aboot" (though I woudn't be surprised to learn it was a Maritimes thing, as they seem to have their own accent(s) going on). However, when I was talking on the phone to an American friend, he teased be for saying my "out" sounds oddly, and my Mom (from New Zealand) confirmed that she finds my Dad's pronunciation of "about" to be pretty different. She said it sounded "like a cross between about and aboot".

So maybe we do it and just don't hear it?

Actually, I'm confused as to what actually constitutes a "Canadian accent" anyway. I have a lousy ear for accents, but I don't hear a whole lot of difference between my Southwestern Ontario surroundings and the American accents as played in, say, the Simpsons.

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Yleemjseg
Deck the Malls


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It's a phenomenon called "Canadian Raising" that affects verb sounds before unvoiced consonants.

Because it's unusual to those who aren't familir with it, it sounds more pronounced than it is to them, while those who are accustomed don't notice it at all.

The words "house" (the verb) and "house" (the noun) don't completely rhyme, because in "house", the "s" in unvoiced.

It also occurs in the pairs "lout" and "loud", as well as "ice" and "eyes".

Here's more info: http://www.yorku.ca/twainweb/troberts/raising.html

and

http://www.umanitoba.ca/linguistics/russell/phonetics/narrower/canadian-raising.html

I find it all very fascinating.

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Chance
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Well, I just learned something. Thanks for the links, Yleemjseg!
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Yleemjseg
Deck the Malls


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Hey, no problem.

I love this stuff.

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Squishy0405
Wii Wiish You A Merry Chriistmas


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I've also heard out as oot I always thought it was because the french speaking correlation.

Squi "oot and aboot or out and about" shy

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Stoneage Dinosaur
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I've always heard it as halfway between aboat and aboot, certainly amongst Nova Scotians, so perhaps it is descended from the Scottish accents of early settlers.

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Squishy0405
Wii Wiish You A Merry Chriistmas


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I am confused....aboat? I say a bout ...like round a bout or bowt...a fight...I guess...

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"Fate is like a strange, unpopular resturant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never ask for and don't always like."-Lemony Snicket

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fictional lie
I Saw Three Shipments


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I've never met anyone from Canada who has said "aboot" or any noticeable different version of "about" in conversation.

One thing that I've noticed as that, to me (living in New Hampshire) a lot of Canadaians who come here pronounce the word "sorry" as "surry." They don't necessarily say it more often than, well, Americans or anyone else, but it does seem to have a different "twang" to it.

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Tori
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Yeah, I would think it's probably a regional thing, and not specifically Canadian.

The American and Canadian accents do sound almost identical to the untrained ear, much like the Australians and Kiwis. Being an American, I can usually pick out the Canadians overseas (and not because they've got maple leaves plastered all over their stuff), but I seem to always get asked what part of Canada I'm from. [Razz]

Tori "I'm from the southern part"

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forteanc
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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yes we fellow scots do say aboot,but it depends on where "aboots" you come from,also they say it in some northern parts of england,but i bet there are other places
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lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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I'm with Christie and Tori, in that I hear very little difference between the "generic" American accent, and the Canadian one. There must be a difference, though, because the actor's union in Toronto occasionally offers workshops on learning the American accent, and I've seen ads offering the same service from voice coaches.

Thanks for the links, Yleemjseg.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by lynnejanet:
I'm with Christie and Tori, in that I hear very little difference between the "generic" American accent, and the Canadian one. There must be a difference, though, because the actor's union in Toronto occasionally offers workshops on learning the American accent, and I've seen ads offering the same service from voice coaches.

Thanks for the links, Yleemjseg.

I have always been pretty sensitive to the differences between Canadian and US accents, so it is pretty easy for me to tell which shows are filmed in Canada and rely on local extras. It was really annoying in shows like The L Word, where the fact that it was taking place in Los Angeles was supposed to be such an important part of the storyline.

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TwoGuyswithaHat
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
I have always been pretty sensitive to the differences between Canadian and US accents, so it is pretty easy for me to tell which shows are filmed in Canada and rely on local extras. It was really annoying in shows like The L Word, where the fact that it was taking place in Los Angeles was supposed to be such an important part of the storyline.

I work in a hotel that is about 90 minutes to 2 hours from four seperate boarder crossings, so we become a frequent stopping point for travellers moving between NY and Michigan (and vice versa)

As a result, I've become pretty adept at noticing the American accent. If there is any doubt on my part, I just listen to how they ask for directions to Toronto. 9 times out of 10 if they are from the US, they pronounce the second t quite distinctly.

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ericsmom
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by TwoGuyswithaHat:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by AnglRdr:
[qb]I just listen to how they ask for directions to Toronto. 9 times out of 10 if they are from the US, they pronounce the second t quite distinctly.

Just out of curiosity, how is it pronounced?
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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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quote:
Originally posted by ericsmom:
quote:
Originally posted by TwoGuyswithaHat:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by AnglRdr:
[qb]I just listen to how they ask for directions to Toronto. 9 times out of 10 if they are from the US, they pronounce the second t quite distinctly.

Just out of curiosity, how is it pronounced?
T'ronno.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Norton II
Deck the Malls


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I read the title for this thread and immediately thought of the classic I Am Canadian commercial.

"And I pronounce it 'about', not 'a boot'."

Edited to fix quote.

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DadOf3
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Norton II:
I read the title for this thread and immediately thought of the classic I Am Canadian commercial.

"And I pronounce it 'about', not 'a boot'."

Edited to fix quote.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one, Norton II.
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