Strathy Student Working Papers on Canadian English

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Strathy Student Working papers on Canadian English welcomes papers on a range of topics dealing with the structure or usage of the English language in Canada, broadly defined. This may include articles dealing with grammatical analysis, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics, historical research, lexicography and discourse analysis. The “Canadian English” under investigation may be any variety of English spoken in any region of the country, by native or non-native speakers. English may be the sole language of analysis or may be examined within the context of other languages. Authors may be undergraduate or graduate students from any institution.

This new online journal began in 2012, replacing the previous Strathy Undergraduate Working Papers on Canadian English which was published in eight volumes from 2000 to 2010.

A call for papers with submission guidelines is available by clicking here. For more information, please contact series editor Anastasia Riehl at


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 6
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    Discerning the sub-phonemic identity of pre-nasal /æ/ in British Columbia English
    (2016-09-13) Mellesmoen, Gloria
    There are two features of /æ/ in British Columbia (BC) English that are widely attested in the literature: it is undergoing retraction and lowering and it is sensitive to the influence of certain following consonants. The present study aims to utilize both features to evaluate the phonological status of /æ/ before nasal consonants in BC English by examining the progression of sound change and the phonemic organization of /æ/ in different environments. Specifically, production and perception results are taken together to evaluate the phonetic position of pre-nasal /æ/ relative to other environments. These results are interpreted within a modular feedforward architecture of phonology to establish the phonological (allophonic) and phonetic (shallowphonic) rules that govern the internal relationships between the subphonemic elements of /æ/ in BC English. Further, the findings of this study provide evidence for the allophone being the target of sound change, rather than the phoneme.
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    "Would you like fries with thaaaat?" Investigating vocal fry in young, female Canadian English speakers
    (2014-09-04) Goodine, Abbey; Johns, Alison
    The vocal fry register has previously been detected in the voices of young women. The purpose of this study is to determine the extent to which vocal fry is present among young female Canadian English speakers and to investigate the attitudes people have towards speakers who exhibit vocal fry. To investigate the presence of vocal fry, we collected data from 21 female participants in an interview setting. The majority of participants exhibited vocal fry in their regular speech patterns, and this feature was more pronounced at the end of a phrase. Vocal fry is quite common at the end of a phrase or sentence; however, its use as a social marker has not been thoroughly studied. To investigate attitudes towards speakers with vocal fry, we collected data using an online questionnaire. Overall, we found the 56 male and female participants to hold negative attitudes towards speakers with vocal fry and positive attitudes towards speakers without vocal fry. Findings from this study will contribute to the growing literature on this vocal register.
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    Testing Canada’s ‘honour’: Does orthography index ideology?
    (2014-03-10) Grue, Dustin
    Recent studies in orthographic variation have assumed identity-driven motivations for spelling choice (Lipski 1975, Schieffelin & Doucet 1994, Sebba 2000), linking this motivation to national ideological positions. In the Canadian context, Heffernan et al. (2010) propose a method for representing the connection between national sentiment and orthography using quantitative measures and, using data extracted from the University of Alberta’s student newspaper The Gateway, demonstrate a strong quantitative correlation between anti-Americanism and a decrease in the use of American spelling variants. This paper tests the ideology/orthography connection using Heffernan et al.’s method on data from the University of British Columbia’s student newspaper The Ubyssey and finds an insignificant connection between ideology and orthography. However, this correlation appears to be indicated differently across different article genres. Observations are made on the methodological difficulty of establishing the orthography/ideology connection.
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    Didja know? A comparative study of affrication across word boundaries in Canadian and American English
    (2013-12-12) Little, Carol; Knowles, Thea
    The present study investigates affrication across word boundaries as an allophonic process that distinguishes Canadian English (CE) and American English (AE). Ten CE speakers and ten northeastern AE speakers were recorded reading aloud a monologue containing words pairs with a word final /t/ or /d/ followed by a word initial /j/ (e.g. ‘did you’, ‘what you’, ‘and yet’). Compared cross-dialectically, AE speakers were found significantly more likely to produce affrication than CE speakers, particularly in final /d/ contexts. Both groups were more likely to produce affrication with a /d/ rather than a /t/. Dialectal as well as phonological factors may account for the results discussed in this survey. We propose a hierarchy of factors affecting word-boundary affrication.
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    Past tense formation with irregular lexical verbs in Canadian English
    (2013-02-04) Glickman, Tara
    There is a set of lexical verbs in English ending in /-l, -m, -n/ (e.g., to spill, to dream, to burn) that receives a different form of the past tense in British versus American English. While in American English these verbs typically receive the regular past tense form /-d/ (e.g., spilled), in British English the irregular devoiced form /-t/ (e.g., spilt) (occasionally accompanied by ablaut) is more common. The form of the past tense in these verbs in Canadian English is, however, less categorical. The main objective of this study is to examine variation in the usage of the past tense in this set of lexical verbs in contemporary Canadian English. The investigation consists of three components: (a) informal interviews of Canadian and American university students to examine their usage of the past tense for these verbs in casual speech, (b) a formal survey to assess how Canadians perceive the usage of the variable past tense forms and (c) a corpus-based comparison of both past tense forms using Canadian and American corpora. The findings suggest that the majority of Canadian English speakers have mixed usage of /-t/ and /-d/ past tense forms.