Opinion
By James Pavel

Signs, memos and advertisements across Calgary have increasingly ignored Canadian spelling when attempting to capture the attention of their desired audience.

A recent memo distributed by the chair of the Academy of Arts and Design program chose to disapprove of vandalism by using the word “behavior” instead of the correct version, “behaviour.”

He spelled it “behavior” because a) He is American b) He hates the letter “u”, or c) the most likely scenario, he used spellcheck and it informed him that behaviour does not enjoy having an upside-down letter ‘n’ inside of it.

Canadians are increasingly crumbling under the pressure of the red squiggly lines as they continue to correct words such as colour and centre, because the language mother ship of Microsoft Word slaps their wrist every time they commit such an un-American manoeuvre.

Many will roll their eyes at what they perceive as a trivial matter, but language is the foundation of how we as a nation communicate and separate ourselves from the 190+ countries on the planet.

We are Canadian. We are not American. And although there is nothing wrong with claiming loyalty to either nation, the slight alterations to spelling is what helps keep each proud identity intact.

Canada uses the British spelling because the great red and white was founded by the English and the French, hence why franҫais is our second language and makes guest appearances in Canadian English from time to time (ex: cul-de-sac.)

Americans are a republic and therefore hold no particular allegiance to the Commonwealth, explaining why the English language has mutated into its own version that Americans see fit to use.

Canadian English is already contending with the overuse of the term “like,” and it cannot handle another internal crisis. Canadian pride has skyrocketed since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and this new-found satisfaction should not just be reserved for hockey games and beer chugging, but for proper usage of words such as colour, centre, and yes, behaviour.

Microsoft allows one to add words to its database, meaning that the menacing red squiggly line can be evaporated.

So tell Microsoft that it’s wrong when it screams that you have misspelled “honour” for the tenth time and include this wonderfully-extended term alongside others in your Word database.

This is Canada and we love our extra u’s and transposing our r’s and e’s.

When your American device demands that you conform to the language of the stars and stripes, remember why you wear a tuque, remember why you have three different-coloured snow shovels, remember why you think ice-fishing is fun, remember why you follow Bob McKenzie on Twitter and remember that the slight differences in our spelling is what makes us special and beautiful as the nation of beaver dams and stray deer.

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