Is there such a thing as a Toronto accent?
At the beginning of the month, I wrote a pair of posts about what annoys Torontonians about their city and what they love about it. As part of the discussion in the comment threads, the subject of a Toronto accent came up. Briefly: one commenter cited the fact that there isn't a Toronto accent as a positive attribute of the city, which inspired a detailed response from another regarding the nuances of the the city's verbal topography.
At the time I didn't think about it a whole lot. Personally, I've never really spotted much of a Toronto accent, but, truth be told, I've haven't really been listening for one either. I suspect, however, that the diverse nature of the city would represent something of an obstacle to the formation of such a thing.
One can definitely find instances of "Canadian Raising" coming from the mouths of Torontonians, but that, as the name suggests, isn't really a regional phenomenon, much less something specific to our city.
Anyway, in my half-assed little bit of web research, I came across two noteworthy sources. One, from York University, is very interesting, but unfortunately it's almost exclusively about the Canadian accent rather than one from Toronto. And the other, well the other is worthy of sharing because it's so wrong in its diagnosis of a Toronto accent that's it's downright comical.
After banging off exquisite versions of English, Irish, German and other world accents, at the 1:50 mark, actress Amy Walker gives a downright brutal version of what she thinks is a Toronto accent. She sounds like she's channeling Bob and Doug Mackenzie more than anything else.
The video's been around for a while, so I'm sure many have seen it. But, given how terrible her rendition is, I'm still left with my original question. Is there such a thing as a Toronto accent? I vote "no" -- but I'm open to having my mind changed.
Photo by sniderscion in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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