#56 – How to Spell Stupid: C-A-N-A-D-A

English Canadians really care about the way things are spelled.

This is because English Canadians invented their own bizarre hybrid of try-hard British spelling, American spelling, and stupidity. Is the color/colour of a hypothetical cat spelled gray or grey? Is that Hummer at a drive-through or a drive-thru? Are the pants on that hipster douchebag checkered or chequered? Do you want to curb or kerb-stomp the hipster douchebag? The English Canadian spelling bee is a pain in the ass, especially when some cum-burglar decides to make an issue of it.

Seriously. English Canadians took some British spellings, some American spellings, and decided to run with that because it’s unique and therefore exciting and important. That linguists typically mash America and Canada into a common dialect of English (called “North American English”) offends Canadians who are proud of their contributions to the English world. Contributions like double-double (a way to ruin coffee), parkade (a way to shelve cars while their owners are shelved in a mall/office nearby) and toque (a loanword from the French) are clearly worthy of belonging to the global pantheon of Anglophonic expression.

The irony of this little pride is that the very term Canadian English started as a derogatory term for plebs who spoke English in ways unlike the English in Britain. Trifling details like the thousands of miles between England and Canada and the number of people who spoke English as a second or third tongue had no place in this obviously intelligent observation on the part of Constable Geikie, and the term stuck to demand that Canadians speak more like their supposed British ancestors who aren’t in many cases actually even a real thing.

It gets so stupid that people actually “correct” others about the letter z. Yes, actually. The letter z. Is it zed? If you say or spell it zee you better be ready for a snide correction. How dare you pronounce a letter like the Americans do? Our dialects of English all fall within American dialects with the exception of the Maritimes and the North, but you better not call the letter z by the wrong thing. The Toronto Star got in shit for using the wrong Canadian dictionary until said tome (the Gage, if you’re curious) adopted “Canadian” spellings, which simply means spelling shit wrong for the two most important Anglophone populations on Earth.

In a sense, it is the most Canadian of things – an attempt at a make-believe identity crumbling under the dead weight of reality and only buttressed on the bitter tears of butthurt Anglo-Canadians with nothing better to upset their tiny minds with.

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