U and moi

If you look at the tags in the right hand column of this column (down, no down more, past the picture of my book now available for pre-order, keep going, past my Twitter feed, down — man, I have too many widgets!), you’ll notice that I tag most of my pieces both “humor” and “humour.” This is because, as many of you like to remind me, I’m Canadian. And if you weren’t pointing that out, I probably would be; Canadians like to remind themselves and everyone else that they’re Canadian because, as a people, we are attention-starved and terribly needy.

I also live in Quebec, a province that is 90 percent French. You want to talk about attention-starved and needy!

Quebec anglos (as we English like to call ourselves) struggle to keep their language and culture alive, especially under the current government, which is determined to ratchet up the rhetoric and oppression linguistic-wise. It gets ugly sometimes, and the issues sometimes divides neighbours.

See what I did there? I spelled it “neighbours” with a U. It makes me feel a little bit French…

Really, this all makes some kind of sense. You can find out how in my latest over at Life in Quebec. S’il vous plait!


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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26 Responses to U and moi

  1. So do you say Zed or Z? And which way makes you better? And will you send me some syrup – but not Poutine?

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I’m a zed man. I heard a comedian describe it once as the surprise ending of the alphabet.

      Have you ever had poutine? I admit I was appalled by it the first time I tried it. But now? A good poutine can’t be beat. A bad poutine is a sin. (P.S. if you want to be authentic, pronounce it “poo-tsin” with only the slightest “S” sound.)

  2. S’il vous plait!??? I don’t sprechen ze french, but doesn’t using vous imply that you’re talking to strangers? Non friends maybe? That hurts, sir. That hurts.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      “Tu” is the informal and “vous” is the formal for “you,” and it’s a linguistic landmine itself determining which to use when. You can think you’re being polite and respectful in calling someone “vous” and they will interpret it as you being condescending. Not always, but it’s been known to happen.

      However, “vous” is also the plural “you,” which is what I mean here, addressing all of y’all.

      • Ah, well then I shan’t be offended then since I vaguely remember vous being plural during my four years of high school french. Sounds like there’s a lot of bitterness there in Quebec. I currently hate a man named David Perron, who I believe is from Quebec. He plays for my beloved Blues and just sucks ass this season.

        I guess I’m saying that I get the francophobia. I get it, sir.

  3. The Cutter says:

    Ah, you wacky Canucks and your crazy spellings! Don’t ever change.

  4. List of X says:

    I’m sorry to hear about you having to use different spellings for multiple words. I can’t imagine how many tags you’d have to use to tag the humourous post about having to set up defence against your neighbour who dishonourably insist on painting the centre of fence between your houses in some hideous colour.
    P.s. Ooh, so many squiggly lines, I feel myself Canadian already…
    P.P.S. I am no longer sure that “house” is just a Canadian spelling. Unless it’s spelled “houce” in Canada.
    P.P.P.S. Apparently, my spell check thinks that spelling “offence” with a “C” is Ok, if I spell it as two words…

  5. Jane says:

    Being Australian I hear where you’re coming from. We love adding a good u to words although after completing my Library studies diploma I found it much easier to toss them aside. All our subject heading and cataloging books use American spelling – see I didn’t even add a u to catalouging then. Crazy times.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Isn’t the motto of Australia “We Do Whatever the Hell We Want”? Especially when it comes to language, I think. Just making up words all over the place. And more power to you!

      • Jane says:

        We do love our vowels. Very keen on adding o’s and ie’s to words. Shorten the word or name then add the o – we love that. Ambulance becomes ambo, kerosene – kero, service station is a servo. Excellent time savers.

  6. breezyk says:

    I do the tagging with both too. I get a little annoyed bc “humour” always gets underlined like a spelling mistake.. but I still persist!!!

  7. Do you have 26 stuffed animals on my bed?
    I like Canadian bacon spelled Ham in the US.

  8. Letizia says:

    Great article! I learned to speak English in England and now teach in the US so when I write something on the board in class, I sometimes, unintentionally, mix up the spellings. It doesn’t bother me unless there’s a non-native speaker in the room and then I try to remind myself that it’s probably best not to confuse him or her!

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