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Having lived in both Ontario and Quebec, I was interested in examining the lexical differences between these 2 provinces.


The inspiration for this project came from the work conducted between 1999 - 2005 for the North American Regional Vocabulary Survey (NARVS), which examined the nationwide frequencies of a set of lexical variables known to vary within Canada. 


In 2017, I used 5 variables from this study which had produced the most variation, and re-examined their use specifically among male and female Quebecois and Ontarian McGill students.  These 5 variables each had at least one lexical variant associated specifically with Quebec. 

The 5 Quebec variants and their out-of-province equivalents examined were:


dep vs convenience store/corner store/variety store

chalet vs cottage/cabin/camp

all-dressed vs everything-on-it / the works / deluxe / supreme

soft drink vs pop/coke/soda

cash vs cashier/check-out/register/till

In total, 54 students were surveyed. To assess the effect of the McGill experience on the use of each variant, a direct question followed.


I was also interested in examining the potential lexical differences between the sexes. Sociolinguistic research tends to maintain that women are the leaders of linguistic change. For Labov, it is lower middle-class, middle-aged women who lead in hyper-corrective behaviours, aiming to ensure sociolinguistic standards are met. Trudgill asserts that women are more status conscious and use language as a signal of their social status more so than men.

Previous work tends to examine phonological or grammatical variables/changes in an entire language. This study was strictly lexical, and created an opportunity to see if Ontarian women would lead the change in lexical variation due to a change in their environment, answering the question -


Is it more prestigious or socially acceptable to be using the words associated with the place you are located?

Read it here.
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