Geist describes itself as “A Canadian Phrasebook-in-Progress” that “explores the regional variations in Canadian speech.” Its list has entries for Toronto, Vancouver, Cape Breton, and Dundurn, Saskatchewan (“Just 20 minutes outside the City of Saskatoon”), but people write in with additions from all over Canada. I don’t know if I believe all the entries (a cafe au lait is said to be called a “latte au mug” in Vancouver), but it’s fun to browse, and you can see more entries in the Letters to the Editor section. Furthermore, the Thinkubator Lexican aims to “create an online community based on the ongoing Geist Cross-Canada Phrasebook project. We will use state-of-the-art web-based technologies to create an interactive and user-friendly website that facilitates easy access to the existing archives and fosters a creative space to add, comment on, edit, and enjoy the Phrasebook.”
Thanks for the tip, Grant!


  1. Saskatonian here, and I’m amused to see this. Dundurn is tiny, and I’ve only been there a few times, but every time I notice that it’s one of those towns where everyone knows everyone else. Many of the entries poke fun at their small size. One thing I thought was interesting was their spellings of “tuque.” I’ve seen “toque” a lot, but I’ve never seen it spelled “tocque.” I’m at least aware of most of the other differences (except the ones that are jokes, obviously).

  2. That is really cool!

  3. You might want to check out this website which has produced two cape Breton slang books “Da Mudder Tung” and “Anudder Mudder” which features regional idioms and phrases.

  4. As a Canadian, I’m familiar with Geist, the Canadian culture magazine: The Phrasebook is just one of their many interesting offerings. Thanks for pointing this one out, I’d missed it!

  5. As a Canadian who moved to the UK as a child, the phrase book really took me back! I don’t know about the “latte au mug” thing though – I’ve never heard it used when I’ve been in Vancouver visiting family.
    A most enjoyable link!

  6. very cool! thanks!

  7. I’ve lived in Toronto and Vancouver and I don’t believe any of the entries (dunDAS?) The differences between the two are minimal. On the other hand, somewhere like Buffalo (quite close to T.O. as the crow flies) is a world away.

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