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CANADIAN vs AMERICAN English Language & Culture – Interview with a Canadian

My Canadian (or *Canadien if you are from Quebec) friend Josh visits us while in the United States and we discuss some differences between Canadian vs American English and Culture.

The Hockey Rivalry and National Pride

When it comes to hockey, Canadians are known for their national pride and their passionate support for their teams. In this interview, my Canadian friend Josh talks about the cultural differences he has noticed between Canada and the United States during his time living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

One of the first things he mentions is the rivalry between the two countries when it comes to hockey. Canadians affectionately refer to Americans as “Hosers” and believe that Canada will always come out on top. This rivalry is a testament to the deep-rooted passion Canadians have for hockey and their national identity.

The Atmosphere and Flags

According to Josh, there is a noticeable shift in the atmosphere when crossing the border from Canada to the United States. As a Canadian, he can feel the difference in energy and environment. One of the major visual differences he mentions is the prevalence of American flags in the United States, while in Canada, flags are not as commonly seen. This observation highlights the pride and patriotism that Americans often display.

Measurement Systems: Kilometers vs Miles

Another significant distinction between Canadian and American culture is the difference in measurement systems. Canada uses the metric system, measuring speed in kilometers per hour, while the United States uses the imperial system, measuring speed in miles per hour. Josh shares his personal experience of adjusting to the difference when driving in the United States. He had to constantly check his speedometer to ensure he was driving within the speed limit. Despite this initial adjustment, he managed to avoid getting any speeding tickets during his time in the United States.

Temperature: Celsius vs Fahrenheit

The difference in temperature measurement is another aspect that sets Canadian and American English apart. While Canada uses Celsius to measure temperature, the United States uses Fahrenheit. Josh mentions that most of the world uses Celsius, making the United States an outlier in this regard. This difference can lead to confusion for Canadians when discussing the weather, as they have to mentally convert temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius.

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Welcoming Attitude towards Canadians

When asked about his experience as a Canadian in the United States, Josh expresses that he has been warmly received by Americans. He shares an anecdote about having a bumper sticker on his car with a Canadian flag and the phrase “sorry not sorry.” He mentions receiving positive reactions from strangers who appreciate the sticker. This encounter challenges the stereotype that Americans are unfriendly or less welcoming than Canadians. Josh’s experience demonstrates that there are kind and friendly people everywhere, regardless of nationality.

Cultural Differences in Apologies

Interestingly, Josh notes a cultural difference in how Canadians and Americans handle apologies. As a Canadian, he mentions that if he accidentally bumps into someone on the street, he would instinctively apologize, even if it was the other person’s fault for not paying attention. This emphasis on politeness and apologizing is deeply ingrained in Canadian culture. However, Josh suggests that Americans may not apologize as readily in similar situations. While some individuals might still apologize, it may not be as common across the board.

Pittsburghese: Unique Slang

Living in Pittsburgh, Josh encountered a unique local dialect known as “Pittsburghese.” He shares his initial confusion when hearing unfamiliar phrases such as “yinz wanna go dawntawn.” Josh explains that “yinz” is a Pittsburghese term meaning “you guys.” This local slang adds richness to the linguistic diversity found within the United States. He also mentions how the southern states have their own distinct accent, often using “y’all” instead of “yinz.”

Language Challenges while Traveling

As someone who loves to travel, Josh has visited around 9 to 10 countries. He reflects on his experiences encountering language barriers during his travels. One memorable incident occurred during a mission trip to Thailand, where miscommunication arose due to language differences. A local individual approached him and his group, offering to show them a “ping pong show.” In their innocence, they assumed it was a competitive ping pong game. However, they quickly realized it referred to a completely different type of performance. This amusing anecdote highlights the challenges and adventures that come with language learning and cultural exploration.

Conclusion

The cultural differences between Canadian and American English are fascinating to explore. From the passionate hockey rivalry to the different measurement systems and unique dialects, there are numerous aspects that set these two variations of English apart. While stereotypes may exist, it is important to remember that individuals are diverse, and there are kind and welcoming people in every country.

Through understanding and embracing these differences, we can foster a deeper appreciation for the richness of language and culture.

What did you think of the video? Do you like English from the USA or Canada? Comment on the video and let me know 🙂

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Calvin Hanson

Calvin Hanson

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