Every country, every culture has its own way of saying things. These country/culture-specific phrases or idioms are what make the country and its people unique. The Canadian way of saying certain things is crucial to its identity for it captures the true essence of a multi-cultural, multi-lingual society. As an international student or a new immigrant, understanding the common Canadian phrases might be a struggle. However, rest assured that you will pick up the Canadian way of speaking in no time! But until your ears and get used to them, here’s a one-stop shop for some common Canadian phrases that you start using in your sentences!
“Where you at?”
Picture this: You make lunch plans with your new Canadian friend. Your friend reaches the restaurant you decided to meet at a few minutes early. They call you, an unsuspecting new international student still getting the hang of the Canadian way of speaking English, and ask, “Where you at?” Confused, you try to recall everything you were taught about prepositions in your English lessons in school, remember a grade 3 lesson that spoke about how the preposition ‘at’ is used to tell the exact location of something or somebody at a given point in time, process this newly excavated information, and blurt out: “I am at my seat in the Skytrain.” All you hear next is awkward silence and phone static. This can happen to the best of us. “Where you at?” is an expression that Canadians use in place of “Where are you?”
I got a double-double at Timmies!
If you are already grabbing a double-double at Timmies every morning on your way to work or school, congratulations! You’re already a Canadian convert! For the less informed noobs here, grabbing a double-double at Timmies means getting a cup of coffee with double sugar and double cream at our beloved Tim Hortons. While for some the idea of a double-double is not that appealing, for most Canadians, it’s their go-to drink to start them off in the cold Canadian mornings! Want to know about this Canadian staple, watch our video:
Remember my rant about the excessive use of “sorry” in Canada a couple of days ago? If there’s any other word that can compete with that, is “Cheers”. While this word is not necessarily patented by Canadians as they did for “sorry”, it is used pretty often by most Canadians as a cheerful way to end a sentence, a phone conversation, or even email. The reason for the overuse of this word in Canada might be its informal work culture and warmer social interactions. Although ending conversations or emails with a simple “Take care!” or more formal “Regards” is just as common, using “Cheers” is a Canadian way of saying a cheerful bye.
Grab me a pop, eh?
I know, I know! Pop is either a genre of music or just an onomatopoeic word for most international students and new immigrants in Canada and either way “grabbing” an intangible, abstract word does not make sense! But here’s the thing, a pop in Canada means a can of soda. Also, do I need to even bother acknowledging the “eh?” at the end of the sentence! Y’all smart people ya!
What you sayin’ tonight?!
No, they do not need a transcript of every word you uttered tonight when your Canadian friend says this phrase to you. “What you sayin’ tonight?” is Canadian for “What are you doin’, tonight?” So when in Canada, know that “what’s up?” and its endless other variations are passé.
I am only human but do you think I missed out on a very important Canadian idiom? Don’t hold it in, tell us in the comments below! No seriously, don’t hold it in! You do not want to go to bed with a stomachache now, do you?