Saturday, November 15, 2014

Oh Those Wacky Canadians

This morning I walked a little over two miles from my home to a nearby high school.  Our Saturday morning training, for which I'll be paid a pittance (I've heard rumors of its being paid at my "daily rate" but I'll believe that when I see it), was conducted by a very well-spoken Canadian named Myron Dueck.  Nice guy, good stories, thought-provoking ideas.

He seems to conduct a lot of record-keeping and various other administrative tasks regarding grading.  That's my first turn-off, right there--I'm not interested in doing more record-keeping.  But whatever, he has some interesting ideas that maybe I can do something with.

But the cynic in me paid attention, and one of his first stories was odd.  He talked about how his wife "doesn't trust" microwave ovens, and got rid of theirs.  And she didn't like teflon either--"it's a kind of plastic, so we end up eating plastic"--so she got rid of their teflon pans.  They got stainless steel pans, but the eggs and pancakes stuck to them.  He got on the YouTube and found this workaround:  heat up coconut oil in the pan until it steams, then scrub the oil pan with salt.  He said the pan got clean and the eggs no longer stick.  Here's what I got out of that story:  his wife kept making "improvements" and he kept having to find work-arounds.  Isn't that an analogy for what goes on in education?

Anyway, I'm not here to bag on the man.  As I said, I enjoy listening to him speak.  And he doesn't just spout platitudes, he has some interesting ideas (especially if you love additional record-keeping!).  But what I really paid attention to was his speech itself.  Isn't it a kick how Canadians pronounce certain words?!

Here's one that's funny to me.  He'll pronounce "product" as "prah-duct", the same way as I do.  But he pronounces "process" as "proh-cess", and "progress" as "proh-gress".  Why the short "o" in the first word but a long "o" in the latter two?  Where did that difference come from?

Everyone knows about "oot" and "aboot" for "out" and "about".  Those are easy.  But I've heard too many Canadians say "figger" for "figure" that I think it's a thing, not just a slang.  Also, Canadians aren't "saw-ry" when they do something wrong, they're "sore-ry".  And they haven't "bin" up north, they've "been" (bean) up north.  And while I would refer to some of his blank documents as "tem-plets", he very clearly calls them "tem-plates".

I enjoy some of the different words they use, as well.  What I would call a "parking garage" or a "parking structure", Canadians call a "parkade"--a very efficient, utilitarian word.  He also referred to "9th graders" as "Grade 9's".  I wonder how many other such terms I didn't even catch.

So all in all I wasn't bored at all.  I paid attention, got an idea or two to try, and got plenty of material for a blog post.  All in all, not bad.

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