I often get ribbed when I visit “the States” because of how I apparently pronounce the word about, and because I actually do say eh, instead of huh.
But I’m always surprised at the number of words and expressions that I thought were universal English, that Americans simply never use. So, to help out my “south of the border” readers, here is a little quiz to test how well you can fathom Canadian vernacular. (I’d be interested in knowing how well UK readers do on this quiz, since some of these words and expressions originated there.)
No cheating by Googling before you guess. Asking any nearby Canadians is OK. Answers in the comments thread.
Here we go:
PART 1: What’s that Canadian on about?
What do the following words and expressions refer to, in terms Americans would understand? (1 point for each correct answer)
- boxing day
- brown bread
- a Caesar (not as in salad)
- candy floss
- a chesterfield
- a civic holiday
- a flat (of a consumer product)
- give me a shout
- a Gravol
- had the biscuit
- a keener
- a kerfuffle
- kraft dinner
- Nanaimo bar
- a “regular” coffee
- a Robertson screw
- a snowbird
PART 2: What’s that in Canadian?
Canadians might use the following terms and expressions, and they would certainly know what they mean. But they would be likely to use a distinctly Canadian word or expression instead. What is it? (1 point for each correct answer)
- the restaurant check
- a candy bar
- a convenience store
- to fake or feint (by zagging when they zig, to get past someone in your way)
- gutters (that collect rainwater from the roof)
- rubber bands
- garbage disposal (unit in a sink)
- taking a vacation
- powdered (confectioners’) sugar
- a long line (waiting)
- a parking garage
- next-to-last (penultimate)
- dish towel
- non-dairy creamer (for coffee)
PART 3: What’s that Manitoban on about? Prairie terms.
This part is probably harder, since these are terms that you would likely only hear people from the Canadian prairie provinces use. Translate into ‘Murrican. (2 points for each correct answer)
- bush party
- frost shields
- going to a social
- Hallowe’en apples! (shouted)
- jam buster
- K-Tel brush
- “square tires”
BONUS QUESTION: The greatest Canadian.
A recent CBC series reaffirmed that the gentleman pictured above is still considered by Canadians to be our greatest public figure. What’s his name (1 point) and why is he so revered (1 point)?
Maximum score is 63 points. If you scored more than 30 points, congratulations — you are now an honorary Canuck. Skookum! Lord tunder’n Jesus, eh? Collect your prize in Timbits and Canadian Tire money on the way out.
(Thanks to hosertalk.com for many of the above expressions)