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Canada, Featured

Speaking Canadian

July 8, 2017

I’m using the term Canadian English quite loosely here. Canada is a huge country (9.985 million km² to be exact), so while we definitely have our very own variety of English, the same terms aren’t necessarily used in every province or territory.

The terms listed here are what I’ve used growing up in Southern Ontario. I’m not saying they’re never used elsewhere, but they’re commonplace here, and not always understood by our international friends. This is a pretty decent list, but it’s not a complete list by any means.

Pencil Crayons

This is one of those words that pretty much all Canadian English speakers use, and it wasn’t until maybe eight or so years ago when I realized that pencil crayons wasn’t the “norm”. My co-workers in Japan were mostly American, and I can clearly remember the day when we were working on creating something, and I asked them to “pass the pencil crayons”.

The what?” they asked.
The pencil crayons? Is… that not what they’re called?

They pointed between the (wax) crayons, pencil crayons, and pencils, bemused, until I gestured to the box that I wanted. The box of, as they say in apparently most other varieties of English, coloured pencils.

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What are EFL and ESL?

February 6, 2014

So you’re thinking of becoming an English teacher. More specifically an English teacher to non-native speakers of the language. You may notice two different terms associated with English language teaching that keep popping up from time to time: ESL (English as a Second or Subsequent Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language).

For a lot of people EFL is a term that they may have heard of but aren’t overly familiar with, and I know that I’m often asked what exactly it is. It’s also commonly confused with ESL, which is similar, but not the same.

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