Researcher Finds Canadian English Is Evolving Quickly

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Aug 11 13:39:18 UTC 2005
>>From the issue dated August 12, 2005

Researcher Finds Canadian English Is Evolving Quickly

Canadian English is evolving so quickly that the ubiquitous "eh?" (as in,
"That was some hockey game, eh?") will soon be a thing of the past. That
was one of the findings of a study conducted by Sali Tagliamonte, a
linguistics professor at the University of Toronto, who analyzed the
language patterns of a group of people born and raised in Toronto. Ranging
in age from 9 to 90, they talked at length on tape, allowing for
comparisons of sentence structure, grammar, and word usage.

"Canadian English is changing very fast -- faster than in the U.S. or
Britain," Ms. Tagliamonte says. She found that "eh?" at the end of a
sentence is being replaced by words like "right" and "so." The endangered
"eh?" is now used mainly by middle-aged people, she says. The same goes
for the word "very," which has been replaced by "so" among the young (as
in, "that's so hot"). And the word "must" has nearly disappeared, although
it is alive and well in British English.

The Canadian Journal of Linguistics plans to publish preliminary findings
in an article called "So Cool, Right? Canadian English Entering the 21st
Section: International
Volume 51, Issue 49, Page A38

Copyright  2005 by The Chronicle of Higher Education

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