Friday, November 11, 2005


Buttertarts, cheesies and poutine

I am fascinated by the linguistic differences between Canadians and Americans. I mean, we share the same last land mass, are saturated by same media, surf the same Internet, read the same blogs, so it fascinates me that we have idiosyncratic differences in our common language.

All this is predicated on an article I read last weekend in the Ottawa Citizen. (I’d link to it, except of the entire Sunday edition, it seems to be one of the few articles that wasn’t online. Hmph. Oh well, credit where credit is due and carry on.) The article was an interview with Katherine Barber, the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

What I really want to know is, what the heck do Americans call one of these?

We call it a butter tart. What other name could there possibly be? And what about "cheesies"? According to the article, that’s a Canadianism, too – but what the heck else would you call them?

There were other words that surprised me, too: bachelor apartment, for example. What do you call an apartment that is smaller than a one-bedroom? And collector lanes – those extra lanes beside the really big expressways where you can get on and off.

Speaking of collector lanes, think a kind thought for us today as I haul the boys across the province to bring everyone down to my brother’s place outside of Toronto for the weekend. It’s my adorable nephew’s first birthday party and my folks and the boys and I are heading down there, but Beloved has to work.

Tristan was so excited when I let it drop into conversation on Sunday that we’d be heading down to visit "Uncle Sean" that he ran into his room and started pulling jammies out of his drawers and choosing books to pack. So cute! It’s been a week of "How many more sleeps?" and now that we’re counting down in hours instead of days the boys are practically nuclear with excitement.

Deep breath….