Exercise 3

Read the text and answer the questions below.

Is there such a thing as Canadian English? If so, what is it?

  The standard stereotype among Americans is that Canadians are like Americans, except they say ‘eh’ a lot and pronounce ‘out and about’ as ‘oot and aboot’. Many Canadians, on the other hand, will tell you that Canadian English is more like British English, and as proof will hold aloft the spellings colour and centre and the name zed for the letter Z.

  Canadian does exist as a separate variety of British English, with subtly distinctive features of pronunciation and vocabulary. It has its own dictionaries; the Canadian Press has its own style guide; the Editors’ Association of Canada has just released a second edition of Editing Canadian English. But an emblematic feature of Editing Canadian English is comparison tables of American versus British spellings so the Canadian editor can come to a reasonable decision on which to use… on each occasion. The core of Canadian English is a pervasive ambivalence.

  Canadian history helps to explain this. In the beginning there were the indigenous people, with far more linguistic and cultural variety than Europe. They’re still there, but Canadian English, like Canadian Anglophone society in general, gives them little more than desultory token nods. Fights between European settlers shaped Canadian English more. The French, starting in the 1600s, colonised the St Lawrence River region and the Atlantic coast south of it. In the mid-1700s, England got into a war with France, concluding with the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which ceded ‘New France’ to England. The English allowed any French to stay who were willing to become subjects of the English King.

  At the time of the Treaty of Paris, however, there were very few English speakers in Canada. The American Revolution changed that. The founding English-speaking people of Canada were United Empire Loyalists – people who fled American independence and were rewarded with land in Canada. Thus Canadian English was, from its very beginning, both American – because its speakers had come from the American colonies – and not American, because they rejected the newly independent nation.

  Just as the Americans sought to have a truly distinct, independent American version of English, the loyalists sought to remain more like England… sort of. These were people whose variety of English was already diverging from the British and vice versa: when the residents of London and its environs began to drop their r’s and change some of their vowels people in certain parts of the United States adopted some of these changes, but Canadians did not.

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage?

In boxes 1-5, chose

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this


  1. Canadian English is considered more like British English by canadians.

  2. According to the secod paragraph, Canadian English is pretty similar to British, with some minor differences.

  3. The St Lawrence River was colonised by Canadians in 1600.

  4. Canadian English is considered neither American nor not American.

  5. The fifth paragraph states that many English-speaking countries adopted changes in pronounciation.