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

Monday, June 13, 2005


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.

In Canada, it is helpful to know the names for our different types of currency. For example, the coins are referred to as follows :

$.01 – penny
$.05 – nickel
$.10 – dime
$. 25 – quarter
$1.00 – loonie
$2.00 – toonie

Do you know why the one dollar coin is called the loonie? Take a look at a one dollar coin and you will see a picture of a bird on the front. That bird is known as a loon. This is how the coin became known as the loonie. The two dollar coin got its nickname from a combination of "two" and "loonie".

Note that the word loony (pronounced the same as loonie) is a slang expression which means crazy, strange or eccentric, so sometimes people will make jokes about the coin which refer to this meaning.

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


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