Tuque, chesterfield, eh: ‘Canadianisms’ dictionary delights wordsmiths


Word nerds rejoice — there’s a new guide to the Canadian lexicon, eh.

After more than a decade of work, a team of researchers have released a newly-updated version of Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles, and it’s full of things you’ll only hear this side of the border.

More than 1,000 new entries have been added to the comprehensive online guide of uniquely Canadian words and phrases — like chesterfield, eavestrough, and tuque.

Wordsmiths behind the new guide say it’s designed to capture how Canadians really talk, just in time for the country’s 150th birthday.

“I think because Canada is so big and so complex, it’s hard to sum up a single pattern of Canadian English, but that’s a thing in itself,” said John Considine, an English professor at the University of Alberta who helped research the new edition.

“I think it used to be a source of cultural cringe where Canadians felt as though they were speaking a kind of American English or a kind of British English. Absolutely not. Canadian English is its own thing.”

The detailed tome — first published to mark Canada’s centennial in 1967 — includes colourful definitions, strange origin stories and in some cases, even photographs or videos depicting the word described.

For instance, “all-dressed” — which comes from the French “tout garni” — includes a photograph of a bag of the oft-cherished seasoned potato chips only found in The Great White North.

The word “eh” itself is described in an essay of more than 4,800 words, and a detailed graphic demonstrating how the word has slowly fallen into disuse.

read more at cbc.ca


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