PROJECTCANADA VOICE ACTORS: HOW TO DO THE CANADIAN ACCENT THINGY
I’ve got a background in linguistics so if the SCIENCEY BIT at the beginning doesn’t make any sense I apologize. ;3; The first 3-4 ish minutes is an explanation of what physically happens and the rest is examples. (although I screwed up in the audio so look for my correction in bold below)
HERE IS A TRANSCRIPTION OF SOME STUFF I SAY. I made this at the request of the lovely and talented lafranglophone and I hope it helps. Please let me know if I should do more.
Hello VAs for Project Canada! Worried about your “Canadian Accent”? If you’re voicing a character who has a Canadian Raising and you don’t, I’ll try and help you distinguish the sound difference. The only Canadian characters who don’t have the Canadian Raising are Quebec and Newfoundland. The Canadian raising occurs everywhere else, but is really pronounced in the Maritimes especially, I think. It also does occur in some American speech (New England) and in British speech, but usually Canadian raising is distinguished by the diphthongs ‘ai’ and ‘ou’ so we’ll talk about those.
HERE IS THE SCIENCEY BIT.
What is a Canadian Raising? Linguistically speaking, it’s a diphthong that is raised before voiceless consonants. In layman’s terms, it’s the thing when we say words like ‘about’ and Americans make fun of us for it. Let’s break down the definition before we start.
A diphthong is Greek for “two sounds”. It’s two different sounds that become one sound in natural speech. For example, the “ai” sound in ‘tie’ is actually two different sounds: ‘ah’ and ‘ee’ that come together to make ‘ai’. This also goes for ‘ou’ in ‘about’: ‘ah’ and ‘euh’. We make these sounds all the time without even thinking about it.
A voiceless consonant is any letter that is neither a vowel nor “voiced”. You can tell if a letter is voiced by putting your hand on your throat and feeling whether it ‘buzzes’. Try saying ‘sssssss’ and ‘zzzz’ while holding your throat! Also check out the IPA chart I’ll link you. In the consonant table (“Pulmonic Consonants”), all of the sounds on the left of each column are voiceless. For the Canadian Raising, the consonants we’ll want to listen for are the differences between:
'p'/'b', 't/d', 'k'/'g', 's'/'z' and 'f'/v'
When a word ends in a diphthong like ‘ai’ next to a voiceless consonant like ‘t’, Canadians make a different ‘raised’ sound than they do when a diphthong is next to a voiced consonant like ‘d’ at the end of a word.
If you look at the IPA chart for vowels (on the top of the page), the chart is structured like your mouth in profile. You’ll see front/central/back and the open-ness of your mouth (closed, closed mid, etc).So the reason Americans make fun of us is because they think we raise higher than we actually do.
So you’ll notice in back vowels there’s two symbols that look like a’s at the bottom. IGNORE ME I SCREWED UP the ‘ai’ vowel is actually a front vowel on the bottom left If you look above that (to the right) at the open-mid back vowel you’ll see something that looks like an upside-down v. If you click it you can hear it. That’s what the Canadian raising becomes; literally raised up in your mouth. For the ‘ou’ sound, see that thing that kind of looks like a u but… weird? Kind of between central and back? Yes that’s what the ‘o’ sound changes to. The Americans think we go to the one that looks like a normal u which is ‘oo’ but it’s actually more like ‘euh’. ‘out’, not ‘oot’! (Note: some Americans also joke that Canadians saying ‘out and about on a boat’ sounds like ‘oat and aboat on a boat’ which is just weird.)
END OF THE SCIENCEY BIT.
LET’S LOOK AT SOME EXAMPLES.
The first word in each pair will be without the Canadian raising, and the second one will have the Canadian raising. Let’s go!
Okay, get ready for the best phrase:
Out and about the house
Or how about this
The loud lout was housed out and about the house. Doesn’t make any sense, but maybe it will help you hear the difference!
I HOPE THIS HELPS AND PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU NEED ANYTHING ELSE! ;w;