READING SECTION DIRECTIONS
The Reading section measures your ability to understand academic passages in English. You will read passages and answer questions about them. Answer all questions based on what is stated or implied in the passages.
You will read three passages. You have 60 minutes to read the passages and answer the questions.
Most questions are worth one point, but the last question in each set is worth more than one point. The directions indicate how many points you may receive.
Some passages include a word or phrase in bold type. For these words and phrases, you will see a definition in a glossary at the end of the passage.
1. Canadian English is a regional variety of North American English that spans almost the entire continent. Canadian English became a separate variety of North American English after the American Revolution, when thousands of Loyalists, people who had supported the British, left the United States and fled north to Canada. Many Loyalists settled in southern Ontario in the 1780s, and their speech became the basis for what is called General Canadian, a definition based on the norms of urban middle–class speech.
2. Modern Canadian English is usually defined by the ways in which it resembles and differs from American or British English. Canadian English has a great deal in common with the English spoken in the United States, yet many Americans identify a Canadian accent as British. Many American visitors to Canada think the Canadian vocabulary sounds British—for example, they notice the British “tap” and “braces” instead of the American “faucet” and “suspenders.” On the other hand, many British people identify a Canadian accent as American, and British visitors think the Canadians have become Americanized, saying “gas” and “truck” for “petrol” and “lorry.”
3. People who live outside North America often find it difficult to hear the differences between Canadian and American English. There are many similarities between the two varieties, yet they are far from identical. Canadian English is instantly recognizable to other Canadians, and one Canadian in a crowded room will easily spot the other Canadian among the North Americans.
4. There is no distinctive Canadian grammar. The differences are mainly in pronunciation, vocabulary, and idioms. Canadian pronunciation reflects the experience of a people struggling for national identity against two strong influences. About 75 percent of Canadians use the British “zed” rather than the American “zee” for the name of the last letter of the alphabet. On the other hand, 75 percent of Canadians use the American pronunciation of “schedule,” “tomato,” and “missile.” The most obvious and distinctive feature of Canadian speech is probably its vowel sound, the diphthong “ou.” In Canada, “out” is pronounced like “oat” in nearby U.S. accents. There are other identifying features of Canadian vowels; for example, “cot” is pronounced the same as “caught” and “collar” the same as “caller.”
5. An important characteristic of the vocabulary of Canadian English is the use of many words and phrases originating in Canada itself, such as “kerosene” and “chesterfield” (“sofa”). Several words are borrowed from North American Indian languages, for example, “kayak,” “caribou,” “parka,” and “skookum” (“strong”). The name of the country itself has an Indian origin; the Iroquois word “kanata” originally meant “village.” A number of terms for ice hockey—“face–off,” “blue–line,” and “puck”—have become part of World Standard English.
6. Some features of Canadian English seem to be unique and are often deliberately identified with Canadian speakers in such contexts as dramatic and literary characterizations. Among the original Canadian idioms, perhaps the most famous is the almost universal use of “eh?” as a tag question, as in “That’s a good movie, eh?” “Eh” is also used as a filler during a narrative, as in “I’m walking home from work, eh, and I’m thinking about dinner. I finally get home, eh, and the refrigerator is empty.”
7. The traditional view holds that there are no dialects in Canadian English and that Canadians cannot tell where other Canadians are from just by listening to them. The linguists of today disagree with this view. While there is a greater degree of homogeneity in Canadian English compared with American English, several dialect areas do exist across Canada. Linguists have identified distinct dialects for the Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, southern Ontario, the Prairie Provinces, the Arctic North, and the West.
diphthong: a speech sound that begins with one vowel and changes to another vowel