All about “aboot”.

All about Canadianisms, Howie Mandel, and speaking the English good.

Okay. Maybe not all about it.

In Algonquin Highway, Alex schools her old friend Nic on why US-speakers think we Canucks say aboot… and similar lexicographicness.

But it’s true, Canadian and US English grew along different lines. And while we here in Canada know that we speak English good, and our US cousins speak it bad, it’s the US dominated North American entertainment industry that “kicks the Canada out of us” actors, as Howie Mandel says, here in this CBC article.

When beginning my on-camera acting journey last May, one of the classes I did – at LB Acting Studio, thank you very much Lewis Baumander – was a dialects and accent class with Joy Juckes, who confirms the difficulty for many Canadians, especially those with unique and deeply inbred linguistic characteristics, of glossing over their Canadianisms for the very active US market. Joy is very good: she identified my Eastern Ontario twang in the five syllables it took to say my name.

On a side note to my own pronunciation: I watched the CBC show Republic of Doyle for three seasons. Now I find it difficult not to get that Newfy-squeeze on my r’s (as in car, and bar, and far, and tar). Damn you, Alan Hawco!

And it isn’t only the US accent that Canadian actors must work on. There’s been an influx of British shows shooting in our home on native land. Here’s an anecdote from the same dialect class. An actor in the class had been on an episode of Reign, and had worked bloody hard on his British RP (Received Pronunciation). But when he showed the episode to his British friends, they hung their heads in shame for him, calling everybody’s accent pathetic.

Of course, British accents are as diverse as Canadian, or US accents, and can be as difficult to parse as a 15th BCE pre-Olmec texts. Check this out.          Oops, I mean, this one, but that last one was a bit of fun, yeah?

In other Algonquin Highway news: we had our first full rehearsal, start to finish of the play. Haley and Smith were true professionals, they said their lines, they hit their marks, and didn’t trip over the furniture. Except for where that’s called for in the script.

It’s a joy to watch these two young actors dig into the roles and flesh these characters up. As a writer I feel honoured they have trusted me to include their experience in the script, to help create characters that live and breathe on a back road in Algonquin Park.

This post has been unusually filled with links. Thanks for your indulgence, and know that using links on your website is one way of saying “Thanks” to those who have helped us along the way!

 

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