I am a Canadian, eh?

I am a Canadian. Je suis bien dans ma peau (that is an expression that wouldn’t make any sense if translated word for word, but means I am content with what I am). For that reason:

  1. Find that little word eh, pronounced ay, to be quite useful, and much more elegant than huh? Oxford says eh is of English origin. That may be, but its use in Canadian English is exactly the same as the use of hein in French, which is pronounced pretty much the same (hint: an h is never pronounced in French).
  2. Grew up trying to decipher the French words on the breakfast cereal box by comparing them with the English words on the box.
  3. Had many opportunities to actually learn French, and finally did it.
  4. Have experienced something like 200 blizzards, but not a single hurricane.
  5. Think a busy beaver is a far better national symbol than a predatory eagle.
  6. Never pronounce the h in words like wheat, whole, what, where, etc.
  7. Think that removing the u from Saviour makes it look sacrilegious.
  8. Much prefer Tim Horton’s to MacDonald’s.
  9. Think in metric for all measurements of size, distance, weight, speed and temperature.
  10. Find Webster to be unhelpful; many spellings and pronunciations do not correspond to what I hear and say, read and write.
  11. Think it’s great that our paper money is not all the same colour.
  12. Pronounce the name of my country Canədə, not Canuhduh. The upside down e is the symbol for the schwa sound, which in Canadian English is the same as the e muet, or unstressed e of French and is most definitely not the same as the short u sound, as American textbooks say.
  13. Call it a university education when it culminates in a degree. A college is a vocational school. The word comes from France, where college is middle school, equivalent to grades 6, 7, 8 and 9.
  14. Am willing to submit to temporary curtailment of my liberties for the welfare of people around me. Protests against COVID restrictions have not gained much traction in Canada, though they have garnered a lot of publicity.
  15. Am thrilled when spring comes and wonder if it would be possible to feel the same joy if I didn’t have to live through a winter.

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