A Word (Spelled) Uniquely Canadian

Canadian English is a hybrid… on one hand, with political roots in the Commonwealth and historical ties to Britain; on the other hand, its geographic and economic influences from the US.

In spelling, like so many other cultural aspects, it’s hard to think of something that is uniquely Canadian and not just borrowed or outright filched from some other nation. When British and American English do not agree on a spelling, the Canadian version is usually just one or the other.

However, this endless indecisiveness yields a word spelled in a uniquely Canadian way:colourize

The Brits spell this “colourise”, the Americans “colorize”. There are two rules at work here: Canadians keep the “u” in words like “color” and “flavor” that does nothing but take up space and reinforce, (in our minds at least), the massive differences between Canada and the US.

But when it comes to the suffix that makes nouns into verbs, we for some reason have settled on the American “-ize” rather than the British “-ise”.

Maybe like “foetus” (a fantastically ugly British spelling), we’ve decided that it’s just a bit too… provincial?

3 thoughts on “A Word (Spelled) Uniquely Canadian

  1. Then again, I like to use the term ‘unborn baby’. Same spelling in both countries (that is, if it jives with your political affiliation).

  2. How about Words that are spelled the same but are so uniquely Canadian. For instance, Canadians like to say PRO where Americans say Pra.. Ex. PROgress, PROject and just when I think we are about to agree with PROduce (how we say it), you switch it up and say PRAduce just to be different.

  3. A minority in the UK uses -ize endings, including all Oxford dictionaries, whereas Australians use -ise exclusively. However, even the Oxford dictionaries don’t write -yze as in analyze, paralyze.

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