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Cultural Differences


LostControl

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Growing up in Western Canada, I naively thought everyone in the world was pretty much the same as us. That's what we were always told right - don't be prejudiced against other people, they're the same as us, just with different colored skin, etc.

It wasn't until we moved to England and I discovered to my horror that they don't have Halloween that I realized that the rest of the world isn't the same as us.

Even moving to another part of the same country I've found different terms used for the same things. Vico in Saskatchewan is chocolate milk everywhere else. A Bunny Hug is a hooded jacket in Saskatchewan.

Since marrying an Australian, I've run across a number of differences. Like the British, they don't have Halloween. They call all sorts of things by odd names:

Running shoes = sand shoes

Kindergraten = Kindy

Jogging pants = Trekky pants

etc. etc.

Now that we have a world-wide audience here on the board, I was wondering, what things are unique to your area, or what things did you notice when you went somewhere else that you discovered was a regional difference?

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Whenever we crossed the border from Alberta into Montana, the one difference that was very apparent was that they called grocery bags 'sacks'. It always stood out when they said, "would you like that in a paper or plastic sack?"

I won't even go into how excited I was at 16 when I went to University in Quebec and discovered that they sell wine in grocery stores! In Montana they sell beer in grocery stores, but as I was already over 18 (and American beer is so weak I'd have to drink a few gallons to get a buzz on anyway...) it didn't affect me too much.

I'll bet Marvin sure misses being able to pick up a bottle of 18% blueberry wine in the grocery stores of Quebec. I sure had a few good times after drinking that at age 16! How about all the strip clubs on St. Catherine's in Montreal? I came from boring old Medicine Hat! I'd never seen so much naked skin in my whole life. Years later I took my husband to Montreal, and, although it didn't phase me, he walked down the street in absolute shock. That many strip clubs ever shocked him!

Grade 13 here in Ontario is another one that I have trouble getting used to. They discontinued it last year, so I'm no longer confused. To me you're done high school when you've completed Grade 12.

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In Western Canada, pop and soft drink have slightly different usages.

'pop' is a term used when talking about all fizzy drinks to friends, children, in a casual setting, and 'soft drink'is the more 'classy' name used in high end restaurants, etc. So, kids call the stuff 'pop', or when you go to a burger place you say "Hey, what kinds of pop do you have?". However, if you're at a fancy dinner, or meeting with the Queen, you hear us say things like, "What sort of soft drink is that you're consuming there Liz?" 'Soda Pop'is a term you hear every now and then - I associate it with Americans, and it makes me laugh every time I hear it. It sounds repetative to me - both 'Soda' and 'Pop' mean the same thing, so why say it twice?

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SODA- MEANING : CARBONATED WATER

POP-MEANING DRINK-WITH FLAVOUR

How's that guys?

Let's go for a soda, ay, The Canadian way.

The American pop cans are larger than the ones in Canada.

Prices are cheaper in the states.

Do you Americans pick up using a bag, your own dog-doo-doo, we do, then dispose in the garbage.

I don't have a dog.Or a cat.

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Steve, I've lived in PA all my life, save one year I lived in NY, and I have never heard people from PA do that!

We do call "pop" soda here. And we call sub sandwiches "hoagies". And our spaghetti sauce doesn't have weird chunks in it like the spaghetti sauce I see when I travel, what's with *that*?

One thing sorta local to my area is people say "youse", like "where are youse going to have dinner tonight?". Personally, I hate that, and I don't say it, but it's widespread, and my son says it angry

I also notice people here say "he took a stroke" instead of "he had a stroke". I'm often tempted to ask where people are taking these things!

That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure there's a lot more.

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The 'taking a stroke' comment got me thinking about those people who always say "Can you borrow me a dollar?". It seemed EVERYONE I went to school with in southern Alberta used to say this. Is it a German thing? We had a huge German population there, and it seemed to be the children of German parents that did it the most.

Gord, I think Soda water is the carbonated water you're thinking of. In some places (mainly the East) they say Soda when referring to any form of soft drink.

Also, yes things are cheaper in the States, but their dollar is also worth a lot more, so you have to do the conversion to determine if things are really cheaper or not. Some are and some aren't. It's like when we went to Mexico and a hamburger was 10 000 pesos. A millions pesos a week sounds like a great salary until you find out the price of things.

When we moved to England in 1978, the cost of gas was 75p a gallon. As it was about a dollar a gallon here in Canada, my dad was pretty impressed that gas was cheaper there - until he realised that 75p is worth about $1.50 Canadian. Then he nearly had a stroke!

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In Detroit, they also say "pop".......in some other part of the country they call it "soda water" generically, for all kinds of soda not just what we call soda water. Then there is the "club soda" vs. "seltzer deal for unflavored soda water.

The "hoagie" thing is an East Coast deal, we don't say it out west----and some even say "poor boy".

With my dad being from Michigan, and being next to Canada, he used to say "eh" all the time. So I would say it also. But since I work the Air Canada flights here, I've been saying it more and more often, eh......

But some of the Minnesotans say "huh", just like I say "eh", eh......

Some East Coast people call the state I live in

"Warshington".....and they also say "Or-e-gone"...which the folks there get annoyed by...

And what's with Connecticut? They're smack in between the "pahk the kah in the Hahvard yahd" crowd and the "Noo Yawkahs" but have almost no accent with that....whazzup with that??

In Noo Yawk, there this thing called an "Egg Cream" which has neither in it--in actuality is a chocolate phosphate soda.....

Then there is "four-layer chili" from Cincinnati.

Almost nobody from outside there knows what that is......spaghetti on the bottom, chili, beans, onions and cheese....

Eating at restaurants in Chicago drives me nuts, as I don't drink the mass-produced beers as a general rule. They seem to have the least amount of microbrews or imports, compared to most large cities.

Salt Lake City call Lime Jello the "Green Death".

In the UK, there is a group of people that are called "Geordies", near the England/Scotland border. Their accent is strange---sometimes the English can't understand them, and the Scottish don't either---especially when talking fast.

And this "zed" thing for the letter "Z", too in England.

Some of the Aussie things are different than the English and American, that's for sure....."to go" food is called "take away".

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Michelle, I've never heard anyone say "can you borrow me a dollar", but your guess it's German in origin may be correct. The true Pennsylvania Dutch speak something closely resembling German, and to hear some of their English translations makes you laugh till it hurts. They say things like "Can you throw me over the gate a shovel?". crazy

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Billy, I bet it's sure thrilling to work on Air Canada and see all sorts of cultural differences when you travel around. Growing up in Alberta, as I said, I naively thought everyone was just the same as us. It's only since i've gotten into my 20s and married to an Aussie that we travelled around Canada and the US so much, and you notice these small things that you never realised made regions different. We all assume an Australian is going to be very different than us, but you don't think a Nova Scotian or someone from Saskatchewan would be so different. It was only once I'd lived in Ontario for 3 years that I noticed that people from Saskatchewan have a definate accent! probably because I had parents who were terrible

So hoagie = poor boy = submarine sandwich, huh? I always thought a poor boy was a specific type of sandwich - like a Philly Cheese steak or something.

In Eastern Canada - mainly Newfoundland and Nova Scotia - they say "boy" at the end of their sentences instead of 'eh'. So, they'll say 'where ya be going to there boy?' when asking where you're going. Sometimes it's hard to understand - they have an odd slightly scottish accent that complicates things.

"four-layer chili" from Cincinnati sounds like it should be called 'don't sit anywhere near me for a few days, I'm toxic'. Here in Canada we have food not seen anywhere else either. Quebec has Poutine. It's french fries, covered with cheese curds (not cheddar cheese!), smothered in gravy. Some places you can buy italian poutine - where they use meat spagetti sauce instead of the gravy. We also have some amazing foods which no one outside of Canada seems to know what they are:

*Date squares

*Butter Tarts

*Nanaimo Bars (Yum Yum!)

*Sex in a pan (Yum Yum Yum!)

Australians have their vegimite, Pavlova, lemmingtons, violet crumbles, tim tams, etc. Just a few of the things I've heard my husband moaning that he missed. I guess we have our cool unique things too.

Looks like we could start another whole line of posts just concerning certain unique native foods. Maybe we'll even discover something yummy we never would have otherwise had the chance to hear of before!

p.s. Aussies use 'zed' instead of 'zee' too. Makes my hubby and I nuts when our toddler listens to American television and uses 'zee' instead of 'zed'. Now that he knows it makes us nuts, he makes sure he does it all the time!

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Michelle, I've never heard anyone say "can you borrow me a dollar", but your guess it's German in origin may be correct. The true Pennsylvania Dutch speak something closely resembling German, and to hear some of their English translations makes you laugh till it hurts. They say things like "Can you throw me over the gate a shovel?". crazy

Sounds like the kind of thing I'm talking about. My one friend in particular when growing up said it all the time, and it made me nuts. No matter how many times I corrected her, she still said the same thing. Then I realised her parents did the same thing. I talked to her when I was back home last week, and she still did the same thing - and she's 36 years old! I noticed it alot back home - probably the reason why it is on the brain... I can't STAND it - probably the grammatical error that irritates me the most.
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Michelle, on Australian breakfast menus, you will see spaghetti on toast. Also, there's vegemite.

....was in Australia once myself, so I know that.

Here in Seattle, Nanaimo bars are somewhat common, believe it or not. But then again, we are close to B.C., so the same border thing Texas has with Mexico. Yes we have them here, but you most likely won't see them in, let's say L.A. or Salt Lake or Miami.

One Seattle thing---less people use ketchup with their fries. I notice, since I've moved up here, people often order tartar sauce with the fries instead.......

And getting back to the soda pop thing, there is a Detroit local brand called Faygo. I see people ship cases of it, as almost nobody carries it here.

Are you familiar with Black Pudding(an English

specialty)?....definitely not pudding, in my book!

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Julia,

I think leaving out "to be" is unique to the Altoona area. People here also say "youns" which means you guys or you girls, so if it's girls and guys you are talking to, it just makes sense to say "youns", right? I mean, eh?

I grew up in New York so I probably had a New York accent but didn't know it. My accent probably changed when I went to college in Easton, PA where students mostly come from NY, NJ, and PA. My parents lived in NY until 10 years ago when they moved to PA - they still have a very strong NY accent.

Steveh

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Billy, I've never heard of spag on toast for Aussies. I'll have to ask the hubby about that. He LOVES his vegimite, and since he's introduced our son to it, we go through quite a bit of it around here. In OZ, you can get big jars of it, like peanut butter here. Too bad we can't purchase the big bottles here - we go through the little ones weekly.

My husband eats cheese, vegemite and peanut butter sandwiches. YUCK. Also, ketchup and french fry sandwiches. I don't know if all Aussies do, or just him. The last few days have been peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches, which he and my son said they saw on American TV as a regional sandwich that really exists. They both say it's very good. I'm not brave enough to try.

Ketchup seems bigger here in Ontario than in Alberta - maybe it's an Eastern thing. They have it here on fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, eggs, omelets, toasted egg sandwiches, etc, etc. In the town I grew up in - mainly German - there was a good chance you either saw people dip fries in mayonaise (not miracle whip, but real mayo), or put Salt and malt vinegar on them (that's the british influence). Never heard of tartar sauce on fries.

I've heard of black pudding - had it when we lived in England. In England they call it both blood pudding or black pudding. I found it quite a bit in Quebec too - but they call it boudin noir. Personally, I'd rather eat haggis. For those not in the know, black pudding is essentially congealed pig's blood in a length of intestine. There are many variations; in England, the pudding is usually bound with rusk and has bits of fat in it.

Yum Yum Yum.

Good to hear that Nanaimo bars have travelled south of the border. They're much too tasty to keep to ourselves.

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The area of PA I live in is hardcore PA Dutch. My parents have very strong accents. Some of the oddities are:

To add the word "once" to the end of command sentences. Example "Come here once"

When asking someone if they would like to accompany you somewhere you would ask "Do you want to come with?"

"I felt my nerve" means "I was embarrassed"

And as mentioned before, phrases like "Throw me down the stairs my hat" (of course you could add "once" to the end)

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Michelle, then if you know haggiss and black pudding, then you must also know white pudding.

.....the Aussies also like baked beans on toast as well......and the Brits have "bangers and mash"

...baked sausage with mashed potatoes.....

Marvin, did you also say la-BORE-i-tory.

Then there is GER-age(garage)music in the UK. Only their connotation is a type of techno, while our "garage" music is punk....

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Then there is the peculiar thing about the city codes, used for destinations on luggage shipped on planes........

For the most part, the majority of the codes make sense, either as the name of the airport(JFK for New York/John F. Kennedy)or the city name(MAD for Madrid or BUD for Budapest).

However, one country has an exception---and that is Canada. Everything starts with a "Y", which is fine....but the other two letters generally don't make any sense.

A typical example is "YYZ"....city name is Toronto, airport name is Pearson. Nothing that even resembles those letters. Nanaimo is "YCD", Saskatoon is "YXE", Montreal is "YUL".....

Aussie city-codes make sense, as in SYD/MEL...

and so do the Asian ones---i.e. HKG, SIN, MNL....

.....middle east---i.e. THR, TLV, CAI.......

everyone's, world-wide, makes sense.....with the exception of the Canadians.....

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