Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Canadian Word of the Day: Process (how do you pronounce it?)

Embassy of Canada in Washington, DC. Photo by Sue Frause.

I just watched a Canadian politician on CBC say the word process at least a dozen times. Each and every time he pronounced it pro-cess. Not prah-cess, as most Americans pronounce it.

Since I spend a fair amount of time in Canada, once in awhile I'll slip and pronounce it pro-cess. But some Canadians I know don't go that route, especially those in BC, they're more apt to say prah-cess like their neighbors south of the 49th Parallel.

Dictionary.com goes with the prah-cess pronunciation. According to Wikipedia, there's such a thing as Canadian English. Here's the introduction to the entry:
"Canadian English is the variety of English spoken in Canada. English is the first language, or "mother tongue", of approximately 18 million Canadians (57%), and more than 28 million (86%) are fluent in the language.[2] 76% of Canadians outside Quebec speak English natively, but within Quebec the figure drops to just 8%. Canadian English contains elements of British English and American English in its vocabulary, as well as several distinctive "Canadianisms." In many areas, speech is influenced by French, and there are notable local variations. Canada has very little dialect diversity compared to the United States. The phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon for most of Canada are similar to that of the Western and Midland regions of the United States. The Canadian Great Lakes region has similarities to that of the Upper Midwest & Great Lakes region and/or Yooper dialect (in particular Michigan which has extensive business ties with Ontario), while the phonological system of western Canadian English is virtually identical to that of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and the phonetics are similar.[4] As such, Canadian English and American English are sometimes classified together as North American English. Canadian English spelling is largely a blend of British and American conventions."
And there's even an online Canadian Slang Dictionary.


Anonymous said...

Might be generational. A lot of younger Canadians are losing their Canadian pronounciations and terminolgies. For instance, I'm 52, when I was a child we said chips for fries, serviettes for napkins, pissed for being drunk, pissed off for being mad or peckish for being a bit hungry etc. Todays kids don't.

SUE FRAUSE said...

Good point. Especially with the watching of movies, videos, etc. which for the most part are American-based (and annoyingly, many of them are still filmed in Canada, but they portray it as a US city...like we don't know that's Coal Harbour in Vancouver and not Seattle's Elliott Bay). I like pro-cess over prah-cess when I'm in Canada!

Anonymous said...

Funny about the movies. Vancouverites, when a lot of movies and T.V. shows from the States started filming here got upset as well because it was obviously Vancouver and not Seattle. However a lot of folks in the U.S. who don't live in Wasghington etc didn't know the difference. I've often wondered about some poor tourist to Seattle expecting to see the city they thought was Seattle.

SUE FRAUSE said...

Yeah, I like that we can pick most everything out of a BC filmed movie (even Montreal/Toronto). Or like Roxanne, which was filmed in Nelson, BC but of course "set" in the states. One time they portrayed my town of Langley here on Whidbey Island as the seaside town that it is ... but they filmed it somewhere on the Sunshine Coast, like Gibsons! They even had our (lookalike) cop cars up there! It's a goofy biz ... but I do love the movies.

Anonymous said...

Eh I'm married to a kanuk and he says it all the time.... pro-cess, pro-cess, pro-cess! I'm gonna give him a process in the arse.

hlg said...

I'm an American who lived in Canada for 21 years from teenager to middle-aged adult and I pronounce it pro-cess. It's also pronounced pro-cess in England.