Anglophone, Peewee, Two-four... Are Canadianisms Acquired by ESL Learners in Canada?


  • Hai Xu
  • Janice McAlpine



Language education


This article examines the extent to which ESL learners studying in Canada acquire Canadianisms. Two instruments were used to assess the effect of posited variables on this acquisition: a lexical survey administered to 103 ESL learners in Kingston, Ontario; and a questionnaire about resources, teaching methods, and attitudes administered to their instructors. Results indicate that ESL learners' knowledge of Canadianisms is limited. No correlation exists between the time learners have spent in Canada and their knowledge of Canadianisms. The more relevant a Canadianism is to their life, the more likely ESL learners in Canada are to acquire it. Level of English proficiency does correlate positively with the acquisition of Canadianisms, but the variables of learners' L1 background and classroom English training are not shown to be significant. Two additional findings of this study deserve further attention. First, ESL instructors' attitudes toward teaching Canadianisms vary widely. Second, lexical items specific to a particular variety of a language - for example, the Canadian English vocabulary sampled in this study - may make manifest the assumptions and knowledge tacitly shared in a cultural group.




How to Cite

Xu, H., & McAlpine, J. (2008). Anglophone, Peewee, Two-four. Are Canadianisms Acquired by ESL Learners in Canada?. TESL Canada Journal, 26(1), 11–30.