Canadian Accent?

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I'm hopelessly in love with the USA and Canada and I really care about pronouncing words they way they do.
Anyways, it's said on the internet that Canadians have accents that are not so different from American accents. Like, Canadians pronounce "ou" differently. Out, about etc. It's also said that they pronounce vowels differently.
But, here's the problem: I don't think that's true. I watch some Canadian shows, or American shows in which there're Canadians. Jack Bauer in 24, Terri and Finn in Glee, Robin in How I Met Your Mother and some more that I can't remember right now. And in those shows, Canadians sound just like Americans, no difference!
In How I Met Your Mother, Robin is Canadian, in real life as well (Cobie Smulders). When she wants to show her Canadianness, she pronounces "ou" weirdly and stuff. But in real, she doesn't pronounce things weirdly! When she speaks naturally, she sounds just like an American!
I just don't get it. According to what I hear while speaking to my Canadian friends and what I hear while watching a Canadian show, Canadians speak just like Americans.
English is not my native language. So I was like, "Is it only me or do they really speak American English?". I asked my Canadian friends and here are the answers I got: "We speak like Americans.", "Do we even have an accent?", "We speak American English but we write in British English"....
If they speak American English, which I think they do, then what is the Canadian accent? Maybe there's a Canadian accent but only a minority in Canada speaks it and the majority speaks American English or something?
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You have to discount completely anything you hear in a film or TV show. These people are actors. Actors have language coaches. They are trained to speak just as the character would speak.

The differences between the Canadian and the American accents are so slight that it's hardly worth the trouble to catalog them unless you hope to become a specialist.

I myself, an American in California, have traveled in Canada, and I have noticed minor differences with some speakers, especially in the O's and OU's in the Toronto area, but nothing dramatic. Listening to most speakers, I could not detect any difference. It just depends on the individual, I concluded.

The differences between Canadian French and Parisian French are much more dramatic! Emotion: smile

CJ
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In my experience, the west coast Canadian accent is nearly identical to the west coast American accent. The Canadians that I've known in California expend very little effort to conform to our accent, they may not even be doing it on purpose. Like you mentioned, words like "about" can sound a little different, but usually when the speaker gets excited.

Since Hollywood is in California, the west coast accent is prominently featured in a majority of TV shows and movies. The characters from "How I Met Your Mother" would have very different accents in reality, New York, Ohio, Minnesota. Marshall's accent should sound far closer to the Robin stereotype accent than to the west coast accent. People tend to conform, and these actors are mostly living in California, conforming to the local accent.
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There is a phenomenon called "Canadian Raising", which deals with pronunciations of about and such like.
Once you master general American accent (don't trust the vowel charts given in accent reduction courses), you can focus on how vowels vary within American accents. For instance, Northern cities vowel shift, California Vowel shift, etc.

Here is a link on Canadian accent.
http://www.ic.arizona.edu/~lsp/Canadian/canphon3.html
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At least some Canadians have a noticeable accent that is especially strong in words like "about", "out", and the like.

I would caution you not to take the accent you hear actors use in scripted shows as genuine. Just look at Hugh Laurie in House, Anna Torv in Fringe, or any number of other examples of actors using false accents in their roles (and yes I know the actors I named are not Canadian, nevertheless I think my point is valid).
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Anonymous:
Apparently we do say those words differently as one of my Aussie friends had pointed out to me. However, we do not use a oo sound in about. At least we do not in Western Canada. The sound is more of an ow sound like in the word "cow". Before it was pointed out I didn't even notice we sounded any different in our pronunciation then the Americans in the Pacific NW.

I have some friends from Ontario they also say "about" like the word "cow" but with an ever so slight oo sound after.
Anonymous:
Your friends are correct. I am from western Canada and i have never pronounced "abouut" or rearley do i say eh?. somtimes i say hey or yeah? at the end of a comment or question. If anything this stereo type comes from far, far eastern canada, or people from New Found Land. I will admit, these people talk the most broken, slang, ugly english i have ever heard, not even i can understand them! As far as the normal canadian accent goes, its very, very similar to american. For ex, ever seen movies with Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling? ever seen breaker high when Ryan Gosling was young? talks the same way as an american. hope this helps.
Anonymous:
Agreed. I never say ABOOOUUTT. I don't know where the ef this came from but its really annoying when foreigners ask me to say ABOUT. To their surprise i pronounce it just as an american would.
Anonymous:
muratuskanI'm hopelessly in love with the USA and Canada and I really care about pronouncing words they way they do.Anyways, it's said on the internet that Canadians have accents that are not so different from American accents. Like, Canadians pronounce "ou" differently. Out, about etc. It's also said that they pronounce vowels differently.But, here's the problem: I don't think that's true. I watch some Canadian shows, or American shows in which there're Canadians. Jack Bauer in 24, Terri and Finn in Glee, Robin in How I Met Your Mother and some more that I can't remember right now. And in those shows, Canadians sound just like Americans, no difference! In How I Met Your Mother, Robin is Canadian, in real life as well (Cobie Smulders). When she wants to show her Canadianness, she pronounces "ou" weirdly and stuff. But in real, she doesn't pronounce things weirdly! When she speaks naturally, she sounds just like an American! I just don't get it. According to what I hear while speaking to my Canadian friends and what I hear while watching a Canadian show, Canadians speak just like Americans. English is not my native language. So I was like, "Is it only me or do they really speak American English?". I asked my Canadian friends and here are the answers I got: "We speak like Americans.", "Do we even have an accent?", "We speak American English but we write in British English".... If they speak American English, which I think they do, then what is the Canadian accent? Maybe there's a Canadian accent but only a minority in Canada speaks it and the majority speaks American English or something?
since Canada is so big it's different in different parts such as newfenland and labrador (which is one of the provinces) has a bit of a change in the accent and other times a lot of a change. if you go in the big cities such as Toronto american accents sound the same or in Quebec city you have the French who have deeper accents or could barely speak English then all the northern territories are filled with Inuit people who speak Inuktitut then after all that there's a billion immigrants who have all sorts of accents so in the end we mostly sound the same in most places
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