DCHP ONLINE.

The first edition of The Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles is now online. I will add the requisite caution via Dave Wilton at Wordorigins.org:

Making this resource freely available is a good thing, but the dictionary does have its limitations. Most notably, it is from 1967, so many recent Canadianisms are not to be found in it. There is no entry for poutine, for example. Also, the DCHP only includes citations from Canadian sources. While this policy is great for tracking Canadian usage, users must remain aware that many of the terms are older in other dialects. For example, the OED has a British use of Chesterfield a decade before the word appears in Canada, and use of toque goes back to the sixteenth century. And in a bad web design choice, users must click on each citation to see the bibliographic data, which is annoying and time consuming.

That aside, it’s a great resource—thanks for the link, marie-lucie!

Comments

  1. dearieme says:

    An Australian once took offence when I pointed out that “chook” was familiar to me from childhood. He really had assumed that it was an Aussie invention.

  2. Well, chuck ‘chicken’ is labeled by the OED as North (of England) dialect, and in that area, where there was no FOOT/STRUT split, we’d expect that to be pronounced “chook”. So doubtless the word came up over the Border to Annandale. But the OED’s first record of the word using the spelling chook is Australian.

  3. dearieme says:

    Since it was a conversation in speech, rather than being epistolatory, I can’t say how he spelled it.

  4. marie-lucie says:

    So in that dialect, a book for a buck and a buck for a book are ambiguous? That must be why they don’t use bucks for money.

  5. m-l: Indeed they are. The FOOT/STRUT split was originally confined to Southern English only, but spread to Scottish English as well, leaving Midland and Northern English unaffected. As a result, the traditional accents of Britain are stratified in four layers, like a wedding-cake: come down in the South [kʌm daun], in the Midlands [kum daun], in the North [kum dun], and in Scotland [kʌm dun], showing the outcomes of ME short and long /u/ respectively. In the South the unrounding of FOOT to STRUT did not happen after labials, but not so in Scotland, which is why Standard English has both put with FOOT and putt (borrowed from Scots or Scottish English) with STRUT.
    Buck in that sense is North American in origin, and its etymology is unknown, unless indeed the story is to be credited that it is a shortening of buckskin, considered as an article of trade on the frontier.

  6. marie-lucie says:

    Thanks, JC. I am not very familiar with English dialects, and I did not know about the subtleties of the FOOT/STRUT evolution. About buck ‘dollar’ from buckskin, that is quite plausible, and using those in trading might have started even before European “contact”.
    Another instance of FOOT/STRUT: I heard “trook” (rhyming with “book”) for truck today, while viewing the alleged North Korean documentary on life in America, which I saw on Slate this morning. I say “alleged” because according to the readers’ comments, the pictures are more likely to have been assembled from videos of the recent destruction in New Jersey and the consequent hardships of the people in emergency shelters and on the street. There is no Korean except for a few screen titles, and the English voiceover is read by a man with what seems to be a British (not RP) accent. At one point we see a kitchen van (like those which sell French fries and similar fast food) distributing bowls of something (allegedly just snow), and the narrator marks a very slight hesitation before saying trook, probably because he would have used another term in his spontaneous speech.

  7. Trook would be a north-country pronunciation, m-l. They do use the word in Britain; just not for lorries.

  8. marie-lucie says:

    Yes, AJP, I understand all that. I had not heard this pronunciation before, and I happened to hear it just as it was being discussed here, an interesting coincidence.
    I don’t know if the vehicle in question would have been called “lorry” in Britain, but “truck” in the text to be read (probably written by an American) seemed to induce some puzzlement on the part of the voiceover man.

  9. David Marjanović says:

    In the South the unrounding of FOOT to STRUT did not happen after labials, but not so in Scotland, which is why Standard English has both put with FOOT and putt (borrowed from Scots or Scottish English) with STRUT.

    Does this explain butter?

  10. David: It’s one of a variety of lexical exceptions, like vulture, mud, fun. There are even exceptions in the other direction, notably sugar.
    Marie-Lucie: There are, as it turns out, unsplit accents that do not merge book and buck. The FOOT pronunciation of book is the result of irregular shortening of /u/ before the split, causing it to merge with original short /u/. In dialects where this did not happen, look and Luke are both GOOSE, and luck is FOOT.

  11. I observed just now that I myself, and contra all dictionaries, say vulture with FOOT.

  12. How about cult and culture?

  13. Hat: Them too. I suspect what is happening is that my dark /l/, which I use in all positions, is backing the expected STRUT vowel to FOOT.

  14. marie-lucie says:

    JC, what about hull? I have heard this word pronounced in a way that surprised me, sort of in between hull (which for me has the vowel of but and putt) and hole.

  15. For me that’s a plain STRUT word.

  16. marie-lucie says:

    JC, for me too, and I guess most speakers, that’s why I was surprised to hear a different vowel.

  17. David Marjanović says:

    The FOOT pronunciation of book

    And indeed that of foot itself.

    I suspect what is happening is that my dark /l/, which I use in all positions, is backing the expected STRUT vowel to FOOT.
    Lots of Americans do that – either that, or maybe there is no vowel, and the syllabic dark /l/ sounds more like FOOT + /l/ than like STRUT + /l/. I’ve heard it for skull and hull as well – T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) on Enterprise does it with every ul, and a lot of hull plating is lost in that series.

  18. David: Yeah, I thought I might in fact be one of those. I do pronounce “milk” with something very close to a syllabic “l”, which makes it hard for other people, even those with accents very close to mine, to understand what I’m saying). But I don’t think I say vulture, culture like that.

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