Professor Stefan Dollinger on “Canadianisms”

Have you ever wondered about words like toonie, toque, washroom and serviette? Did you know these words are all unique to Canadian dialogue?

This week on Prof Talk reporter Kerry Blackadar interviewed Dr. Stefan Dollinger from UBC’s English Department. Professor Dollinger studies ‘Canadianisms’ in the English language, and the historical development of the English language in Canada.

Dr. Dollinger has set out to re-write the 1967 Canadian dictionary. Why does Dr. Dollinger want to revisit the Canadian dictionary?

“It’s old, it’s outdated and there are a lot of words that just aren’t there,” said Dr. Dollinger.

Dr. Dollinger and his team also want to make the dictionary digital, and avialable online. They hope to “make the dictionary bigger, better and more complete,” said Dr. Dollinger.

Although Canada does have some uniquely Canadian lingo, through the course of the interview we also learn that our Canadianisms vary across the country. Linguists have discovered that the words of Newfoundland are profoundly different from those used on the West coast. Words have ‘regionalisms’, and one of the biggest problems remains that there is no national survey of Canadian English.

If you’ve ever wondered about that quintessential Canadian word–“eh”, and other Canadian words, listen to the pod-cast!

Prof Talk interview with Dr. Stefan Dollinger.

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