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

Friday, June 24, 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.

The term PC or political correctness is one that is often referred to by Canadians. Political correctness is essentially the alteration of language so as not to offend or discriminate against people. In Canada, we have many “politically correct” terms in our language.

Examples of PC expressions include using the term “differently-abled”, instead of disabled or crippled. It is also commonly used for race or ethnic groups. One of the original PC terms was “African-American”, as opposed to black, Negro or colored. Another example is the use of the term “vertically challenged”, instead of short.

Recently, "political correctness" is used seriously by some people and jokingly by others. Some people feel that political correctness has gone too far, and others feel strongly that it brings peoples' unconscious biases into awareness. Regardless, you will notice that many Canadians use politically correct terms when speaking.

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

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