Sunday, 21 October 2007

Book ~ Only in Canada You Say: A Treasury of Canadian Language - Katherine Barber (2007)

From ~ Ask any Canadian about a distinctly Canadian form of English and most will offer an enthusiastic Bob-and-Doug-McKenzie 'eh' in response. A passionate few might also bring up the colour vs. color debate or our pronunciations of 'out' and 'about'. And some may point to the ubiquitous Canadian toque as evidence of a language that is all our own. If this is your idea of Canadian English, then it might surprise you that Katherine Barber, Editor-in-Chief of the best-selling Canadian Oxford Dictionary and author of the best-selling Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do With Pigs, has written a new book filled with nothing but made-in-Canada vocabulary.

Only in Canada You Say highlights more than 1,200 words and phrases that are unique to our neck of the woods. Did you know, for example, that every time you ask for Gravol at the drug store, you're using a word that is unknown anywhere else? That those tasty butter tarts your mother used to make don't exist beyond our borders?

Organized thematically, Only in Canada, You Say covers Canadian English from coast to coast to coast, with sections dedicated to the things we love to do, where we live, how we get around, and what we wear. The entertaining and informative introductions to each section provide a fresh, often eye-opening, perspective on the reality of Canadian English from Canada's own 'Word Lady', Katherine Barber.

This was a fun book to read. I assumed that everyone knew what Gravol is.

I asked Gord if he knew what a scribbler is, assuming he'd know. I used them in school. He apparently didn't.

Do you know what it is?

How about blueberry grunt? Or a boiled dinner? Or pork pies (no, they aren't made with pork). Or a Burlington Bun?

This book brought back a lot of phrases I haven't heard or thought about since I moved to Toronto from Nova Scotia 20 years ago.


Anonymous said...

I know what Gravol is (fed it to the girls on long trips!) and we used scribblers too in school, but the rest are new to me! :-)

JB said...

Scribblers. ~sigh~ Simpler times. Did you sometimes have to have 'loose leaf' for school, too?

Actually, I used to play in a Nova Scotia rock group years ago, who - in their most recent form - called themselves Blueberry Grunt. Also, my next door neightbour in Nova Scotia made awesome blueberry grunt. Very tasty. Had burlington buns all the time as a kid, too.
Gonna have to get that book.

Sarah said...

Looks like it would be an interesting book to read. I'm sure the word "eh" was mentioned in there! If Gord didn't use a scribbler, what did he use? So funny to hear about burlington buns as I haven't heard that in a long time!

Anonymous said...

This book sounds wonderful. I'm going to have to get it at some point in the very near future. :)