As a dude with a Canadian accent, living in England, I get the following question on a regular basis. Doesn't matter if I'm draped in the Canadian flag, wear a Vancouver 'Canucks' baseball cap, or ride around on a polar bear. Yes, I often get asked this, 'what part of America are you from?' Now this makes for a fun conversation and invariably I will ask the person with the English accent, 'what part of Scotland are you from?' One day, knowing my luck, someone will reply 'Glasgow'.
So with that, I try to explain the differences. I keep it nice and simple. 'In Canada, we say 'eh' a lot eh. I think we have a mellower accent than the Americans. Let me give you an example of a Canadian speaking. 'How's it goin' eh!?' Whilst an American, in a New York accent, might say, 'eh how ya doin'!?' 'Okay, I get it. Let me try doing your Canadian accent', says the English chap, 'hey, how y'all doin' good buddy!?' Thus, much to my bewilderment, the English chap does my accent, sounding like some dude from a trailer park in Alabama.
Occasionally, someone will ask me, 'where does your accent come from?' To which I reply, 'well it starts in the bottom of my throat and comes out of my mouth.' I will attempt to do a local accent. I will admit I'm not very good at it. However, compared to Dick Van Dyke in 'Mary Poppins', I almost do a decent job. 'Nuff said, guv'ner?'
Now then, lets clear up some other accents that people get confused by. Australia, you know, 'the land down under'. Whenever I think of Australia the name Alice Springs to mind, I wonder where was Melbourne and no more city jokes because that's all you Canberra. Anyway, Australian accents are confused with New Zealand accents. Well, there is a difference between the two accents. Apparently you can try the 'fish and chips test' to determine who is indeed Australian or from New Zealand. An Australian eats 'feesh and cheeps', whilst someone from New Zealand prefers 'fush and chups'. Can anyone from Australia or New Zealand confirm this is true? Oh, 'g'day', Australia. 'Gidday', New Zealand.......
So I shall attempt to summarise. I would not go to Montreal and ask a French Canadian what part of France they are from. I would not go to France and ask a French person what part of Quebec they're from. I would not go to Holland and ask a person what part of South Africa they're from. I would not go to Brazil and ask a Brazilian what part of Portugal they're from. And I sure wouldn't go to Argentina and ask an Argentinian what part of Spain they were from. And, for sure, I wouldn't go to New Zealand and ask a New Zealand person where they came from in Australia. Heck, I damn well wouldn't go to the States and ask the Alabama dude, living in a trailer park, 'excuse me, what part of Canada are you from?' Then again, what the hell.
So what the hell am I talking about? I have no idea. What I do know is accents fascinate me. Over here, in Britain, accents can change from street to street. Never have I experienced such a diversity of accents or expressions. People where I live say, 'you okay...duck!?' Which was rather confusing because I kept wondering why I needed to 'duck'. Then I realised that 'duck' was a term of endearment. Nonetheless, a 'fowl' expression.
I'm now aware that this posting is becoming 'too damn long'. Which means you might have skipped the above and just started reading right about NOW. So let me conclude by saying, in my Canadian accent, have a nice day eh....y'all'