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Posted by Admin
Monday, November 21, 2005
Canadian Conversion by Expat
Last week, we were faced with some unseasonably warm weather, a day of tornadoes, and then bitter cold. I was surprised when my husband came home wearing a toque on the first cold day of the season. Prior to that day, I had never seen my Southern raised husband wearing such a hat. Since then, he has been wearing it everywhere - even in the house.
Last night, he turned to me and said, "I finally understand the rules when it comes to the word 'toque'."
"Anyone north of I-80 can say 'toque'."
I tried not to laugh.
"I was listening to the radio the other day, and Roe Conn was saying toque. I think that I can say it now too."
I breathed a sigh of relief that he was finally able to come to terms with the word. It was only three years ago that he asked me if I wore a "toboggan" on my head in the winter.
Was the problem with the word "toque" itself, or was it with the pronunciation? For the life of me, I can't figure out why the word is pronounced "two-k", and I'm sure many people look at it and want to say "toke". I'm not wearing a "toke" on my head, though ;-)
We were recently having a conversation with someone who teaches ESL. We were talking about the word "scone", which I pronounce as "skon" (rhymes with Ron and cron and, well, that movie "Tron"). The ESL teacher said that she didn't know there were any alternate pronunciations, and said she would have penalized a student if the student had said "skon" instead of "skone". When we did more research we found three accepted ways to say "scone" (the last version is "sken"), but if you're down here in the US, don't say anything but the version with the long "o" sound, or no one will know what you're talking about.
The problem was much deeper than just pronounciation. LOL He thought that the word "toboggan" meant a knit hat or a toque. After he realized that he was wrong, he was reluctant to use the word "toque" at all. :P
I encountered the same scone situation this week! One of our guests sent us a delightful gift box full of English muffins, crumpets, scones, and preserves. I said "skon" as you do; whereas, everyone else said "skone".