Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to speak Canadian: vol. 4

Hey gang. I haven't done one of these in a long while! This particular volume is going to focus on grammar rather than vocab, some of which is specific to the cape.

First of all, there's a loose grasp of prepositions here, especially in relation to the word "done." When someone is done with something specific, people will often skip the preposition "with." Here are two examples of how we (I) would say it, followed by the way my Caper buddies say it:

"What time are you done with work?"
"What time are you done work?"

"You're almost done with your beer."
"You're almost done your beer."

This is not a drastic change. I didn't even really notice it until recently, but once you pay attention, it's there. I'm not sure if this is only a Caper thing or not. My friend Mark, who is from the Cape, does this most often, but Maile, who is from Alberta, does it from time to time. I'll have to ask around.

My second tip is also going to involve beer. This is a very small grammatical thing, but I'm not sure if it's Cape-specific. When referring to multiple bottles/cans of beer, the word "beer" is treated like "sheep" or "fish." It's not pluralized with an "s." Example:

"I've had two beers tonight."
"I've had two beer tonight."

I haven't picked up on this with anything else so far, so I'm not sure if it's specific to beer. I have friends from Ontario, Labrador, and the cape who pluralize beer in this way, so I think it's more than just a Caper thing.

Last but not least is a Caper thing, 100%. I've been told that grammar in the cape and in Newfoundland and Labrador is treated more loosely than Minnesota and other parts of our two countries. Now, there are quite a few ways in which my Caper and Newfie friends disregard their grammar, but there is one consistent phrase that I hear from all Capers:

"I saw your parents," or "I have seen your parents."
"I seen your parents."

The use of the verb "to see" is almost always used in this way by my more vernacular Caper friends. This is so common that it was actually mentioned to me when I first arrived, an explanation along with "by" and other localisms. This little Caper quirk makes my ears itch, but I can't deny the endearing local flavor.

So there you have it. A few brief grammar lessons from your favorite little expat.

Keep reading!


1 comment:

  1. hey, I'm from northern bc, and the only one I haven't either heard from people who live around me, or say myself is the "I seen your parents" which sounds very akward to say.