Everyone has a dream. Some of us want to see ourselves up on the silver screen, while others simply want slang words like “soaker” and “two-four” to be in the dictionary. According to several Canadian researchers, it's about time Ontario slang gets the credit it deserves.
The Ontario Dialect Project has made it their decade-long goal to get a list of Ontario slang words into the Oxford English Dictionary. The project, which is spearheaded by University of Toronto Linguistics professor Sali Tagliamonte, has fought since 2008 to get phrases like “bar-hopping” added to the English dictionary.
Tagliamonte may be the mastermind behind the project. However, other Canadian researchers such as Professors Emeritus Ian Pringle and Enoch Padolsky of Carleton University have also helped out.
Researchers at the Linguistic Survey of the Ottawa Valley are also credited on the initiative's website.
The project has travelled all across the province trying to solidify the complete list of essential Ontario slang. "All these communities have their own flavour, their own cultural, local phenomena that are of interest," said Tagliamonte according to CBC. "And so, every community I go to has its own story, has its own words, has its own local expressions."
According to researchers, these are the slang words that are being considered for inclusion: muck, barhopping, brush-cutter, bush party, May 2-4, slime, soaker camp (a cottage with no electricity) and fox-and-goose.
So, what goes into adding a word to the dictionary anyway? According to the OED, editors are responsible for researching and dissecting the origin of every new word suggested. Only after they’ve built a detailed history of the word do they begin the process of drafting it into the dictionary. Basically, it takes a long time to get words into the dictionary because of its careful vetting process.
If you think they missed a key phrase in their list, the Ontario Dialect project is still taking suggestions. You can head over to their website and throw out your own ideas for what should be considered to include in the dictionary. I'm punching in "boiler" and "duster" right now.