March 26, 2015
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We speak normal Canadian English here in Saskatchewan — for the most part. There are, however, a few words familiar to residents of this province, that are largely unknown elsewhere. A survey released a few days ago checked on how familiar same of these words are to Saskatchewanians.
We all know what a bunnyhug is — 96% of us anyway. It is a hooded sweatshirt, commonly called a hoodie in many other places. No one seems to know how the word originated but we all know what it is.
86% of us know that gibbled means broken or dysfunctional. This word appears to have originated 50 years ago among the employees of the poultry processing plant in Wynyard, derived from giblets.
Vi-Co was recognized by 77%, not so much by those under 35, but probably everyone over that age. Vi-Co used to be the best known brand of chocolate milk in this province and became almost a generic term for chocolate milk. That brand has not been produced for years.
76% know that matrimonial cake is a dessert which largely consists of mashed dates between layers of oatmeal, with some margarine, flour and brown sugar thrown in for good measure. It is delicious, not complicated to make, keeps well, and at one time was the standard dessert at wedding receptions for people of just about all ethnic and denominational persuasions.
73% recognized gotch (not gotcha) as another word for underwear. I wasn’t one of them. Apparently it is of Ukrainian origin. People of Ukrainian descent were plentiful among the homesteaders 100 years ago, and more have been coming in recent years.
I will let this suffice as a brief introduction to Saskatchewan’s rich cultural heritage.