Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Accents of Canadian English

The English of Canada is remarkably uniform. Despite a large area, Canadian English is more uniform than that of Britain and the United States. The main accents of Canadian English are the West-Central, Maritime and Newfoundland accents.

The most widely-spoken Canadian dialect is the West-Central. It also includes the accent of Quebec. In contrast to the English of other provinces, Quebec English includes a number of French words such as "autoroute" for freeway and "metro" for subway.

The Maritime accent is the accent of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The Lunenburg accent of Nova Scotia is the only non-rhotic accent of Canada. In the Lunenburg accent, the "r" in words such as"farmer," "farm" and "world" is not pronounced.

The Newfoundland accent is the most distinctive Canadian accent. In this accent, many words are pronounced with different vowels than in other Canadian accents. For example, the word "sun" is pronounced with the vowel of "ma" and "pa." It is a more open vowel. The "a" of "father" tends to be pronounced with a more fronted vowel, similar to the vowel of "cat." The "a" of "car" is also pronounced with a lower vowel so that it sounds similar to the vowel of "cat." Also notable about the Newfoundland accent is a syllable-final "r" which tends to have a longer duration than in the rest of Canada.

Although Canadian English is not so varied, it nevertheless has three main dialects. They are the West-Central, Maritime and Newfoundland. Of these three, the West-Central is the most widely-spoken and the Newfoundland is the most distinctive. The Maritime dialect includes the Lunenburg accent, the only non-rhotic accent in Canada.

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