Friday, April 01, 2005

How to Say It Like You Live Here

When I moved to Halifax for two years of library school in the mid-nineties, I got a bit homesick for the vast Saskatchewan prairie and its culture. Who knows why you'd miss anywhere else, when you live in a beautiful city like Halifax, but there you go. Squirrels are, well, different.

This homesickness attuned me to Saskatchewan details. I could spot the Saskatchewan government emblem from 15 yards away, and I could immediately identify a Saskatchewan native by how they pronounced the word 'Saskatchewan'.

It looks like a four-syllable word, right? Well it is, kind of. It's really more a slurry of consonants that comes out to about 3 1/2 syllables. Here's how it sounds phonetically:

sss-ska-chw'n

or, if you're in an even bigger hurry,

sska-chw'n.

Ahh, yes, that's it. You can see how hearing "Sas-kaaa-choo-waaan" from someone might be jarring to subtle and sensitive prairie ears. All those unnecessary "aahs" and "oohs", when a simple schwa would do.

Say it with me, folks, "Saskatchewan". Ahh, yes.

3 Comments:

Blogger liz said...

Unrelated to this post, but thanks for the comment about your potluck reception!

I sent the link to TheLimey (mostly in a spirit of ribbing him about not wanting to do this in my very bohemian manner rather than thinking he would switch), and he emailed me back and said that he was reconsidering!

(I'm guessing he's recently spoken to someone who paid $25 a head for a "traditional" reception.)

1:29 pm  
Blogger Gwen said...

Those catering fees can be brutal. We really wanted to have an affordable wedding, and at the same time to be able to invite whomever we wanted. A potluck was the best compromise, and it makes it into a community affair (and if people get tired of talking about how beautiful the bride and groom are, they can always move on to complimenting each other about the food).

I'm only sorry that the romantic accordionist that I tried to book to wander around amidst the tables was already busy.

2:51 pm  
Anonymous Heather said...

oh Halifax, how I long for thee!!!

i'm not even a native Canadian, and i say "ss'kat-ch'wan". it just makes sense to say it that way. then again, i'm in an area with a lot of Native American names, so the pronunication has had some practice...

8:17 am  

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