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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

CANADIAN, EH ?

One of the challenges of learning English is that the language changes depending on the English-speaking country in which you are in. Whether you are in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, or any of the many other countries in which English is the primary language, you will find the language changes. Not only are there distinctions in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, but there are also many cultural differences which affect how we use the language.

So, what is Canadian culture ? This can be very difficult to define as Canada has a population which incorporates many different ethnic groups and cultures. Often Canada has been described as a "mosaic". By definition, a mosaic means "a design which consists of small pieces of colored glass, tiles or stone set in concrete or plaster" (Collins Cobuild Dictionary). In reference to Canada, what mosaic means is that it is a country which consists of many different individual cultures that together form a multicultural picture. It is often compared with the United States, which has been described as a "melting pot". This means that all the cultures are mixed together into one, instead of being represented individually.

Therefore, when someone asks me "Is that common behaviour for Canadians?", it is very difficult to answer that precisely. There are some things that might be considered "Canadian" to a percentage of the population, but not to others. Nevertheless, there are some generalities that can be made about Canada and Canadians. Stay tuned to Ask Doctor English for more information on these generalities.

If you would like more information on CANADIAN, EH?, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca.

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