There seems to be an infinite number of ways to pronounce the name of Canada’s biggest city, but which of those pronunciations is correct is still up for debate. Does Toronto have a hard T or a silent T? If you don’t say “Tronno,” are you really a local? One Ph.D. student at Carleton University’s School of Linguistics and Language Studies hopes to find the answer once and for all.
With the help of her supervising professor Dr. Beth MacLeod, Caitlin Bergin is seeking public opinions and feedback about various pronunciations of the city’s name to gain insights into the GTA’s culturally diverse population, she told blogTO.
“Language variety, word choice, or the specific pronunciation that a speaker uses can display an affinity or closeness with certain social groups and distance the speaker from other social groups,” said Bergin.
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The idea for the study came to her when she saw a tote bag by Fitzy Design, which features five different spellings of Toronto. “I found it both intriguing and inspiring,” she said. “I spotted an opportunity to conduct a little sociolinguistic research.”
The survey, which you have until October 31st to complete, presents you with a series of audio clips that showcase different pronunciations of Toronto. It then asks you to try and identify where the person might be from, how old they are, and whether you’d pronounce Toronto that way too.
You’ll also have to offer up some of your personal details, such as your age and where you live, and share how you really feel about the city itself.
The results of this study will likely be pretty fascinating, and the next time you get into a heated debate about this, you’ll have cold hard data to back you up.
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