Canadianize the Internet, eh?

It’s readily apparent to any English speaker that uses it that the internet is largely Americanized. Words like colour, labour and favour are most commonly spelled with the “-or” American spellings. Other troublesome words like theatre, metre and centre are spelled with the American “-er” version.

If you speak the Queen’s English and you don’t learn to ignore American spelling, browsing the internet can become a teeth-grittingly tiresome experience or a constant reminder of the steady assault being foisted on the English language. Personally, I don’t go that far, I simply prefer to read things in properly spelled English.

Canadians are the world’s heaviest users of the internet. Recognizing that, has developed a Chrome extension (which means it also works for the awesome Iron browser) called “Canadianize the Internet” that replaces American spellings with Canadian ones.

Canadian English is a bit of a hybrid between UK English and American English, but it’s very very close to UK English. This extension is not a perfect solution for proper English spellings, but I could not find a similar extension for UK English.

It can even replace words with Canadian slang.  For example, the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba is changed to “Winterpeg”, a popular colloquialism that refers to the opinion that Winnipeg always seems to get the worst of Canadian winters. In dates, for example, the number 24 is converted to “two-four”.  That’s a Canadianism that’s popularly used to refer to the Victoria Day holiday, celebrated on or around May 24. Since it’s the first “summer” holiday in Canada, it’s a popular beer-drinking holiday, and Canadians refer to flats of beer (24 bottles) as a “two-four”, so Victoria Day becomes “The May Two-Four Weekend”, since nobody really celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria any more … and that explanation was probably longer than it needed to be.

The extension developers hint that there are some easter eggs in the extension, but I don’t think I’ve discovered any yet.

And for the record, I have NEVER heard any Canadian refer to a hoodie as a “bunnyhug”, but it appears to be some regional thing from the Canadian mid-west.

This extension was written to be a funny little distraction online, but for some, it will be a welcome little something extra that slightly improves the browsing experience. About the only complaint I have with this extension is that it is not configurable. If I could leave it at correcting the spelling without the Canadianisms, I’d absolutely love this extension. Now if only someone would create an extension that automatically converts miles to kilometres and Fahrenheit to Celsius…

3 thoughts on “Canadianize the Internet, eh?

  1. Actually, here on the east coast, a 2-4 is exclusively used to describe a 24 bottle / can box of beer. I have never heard Victoria Day referred to in such a manner.

    My brother married an American and she seems to think we all say the word “out” so that it sounds like “boat”. Although I am sure there are dialects in Canada which would pronounce it so, I have found no one that actually does pronounce it so.

    With the Canadian population being made up of so many cultures, there are many sayings that are somewhat unique to Canada. The same can be said about America. I think it's our differences that make us interesting. 🙂

    As for the spelling issue, I find more and more that I am interchanging the Canadian and American spellings. Maybe as time goes on, there will be an “internet English” language, merging UK, US and Canadian uses of spellings or even an internet language taking bits and pieces of many languages.

    Thanks for this very interesting article!


  2. You're right, we desperately need an extension that automatically converts miles to kilometers and Fahrenheit to Celsius. That was abundantly clear during the polar vortex event. Mention a temperature and forget to clarify F or C and no one knows what you're talking about or else they think you're a total weather wimp. 😕

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