Google reveals top 'how to spell' searches by Canadian province
Published Wednesday, June 7, 2017 10:54AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 7, 2017 5:04PM EDT
It might take some discipline to avoid splurging on that precious blueberry-coloured hardcover dictionary; even if it is a good bargain, you can’t be too facetious or you could wind up with financial anxiety.
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Those are just some of the hard-to-spell words tripping up Canadians in different provinces and territories, according to Google Trends. The search engine giant released its list of most misspelled words by province and territory based on the number of times Canadians typed “how to spell” in Google search.
Nicole Bell, Google Canada’s head of communications and public affairs, told CTV News Channel on Wednesday that they noticed a lot of the words were ones that had letters that are easily mixed up or are spelled slightly differently in Canada than in the United States.
“So words like colour, favourite, cheque, those are always in the top words that are searched by Canadians on Google,” Bell said. “They’re the tricky words that we need a little bit of backup for.”
She also said it was interesting that Canadians are still searching for the correct spelling of words when there are so many autocomplete or autocorrect programs out there to fill in the letters for them.
“I think there are times when people are still thinking: ‘How do I even search for this word if I don’t know how to spell it correctly?’,” Bell said.
According to the data compiled this year, Yukoners appear to struggle with “altar,” Manitobans aren’t a fan of the word “atheist,” New Brunswickians can’t stand an “elliptical” and don’t you dare ask an Albertan to spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” (why are they even trying anyway?)
Ontarians need to add “colour” to their vocabulary. Canadians in the Northwest Territories don’t appreciate the “facetious” kind, British Columbians would rather avoid “pneumonia” and those in Newfoundland and Labrador don’t want to waste their “precious” time learning to spell the word.
In Prince Edward Island, residents need a second opinion before being lured in by a “bargain,” Canadians in Saskatchewan use “discipline” in their search for the word’s spelling while Quebecers would likely rather eat a “blueberry” than spell it and Canadians in Nunavut might feel anxious while spelling the word “anxiety.”
Google Trends expert Aaron Brindle said he sees no regional explanations for each province’s top spelling query, with the exception of Nova Scotia.
“Nova Scotia might be the only geography on the map where the word kind of loosely ties to their geography. Yacht being something loosely tied to the ocean,” he said.
Thankfully, the correct spelling for all of these words is just a quick click away. Brindle said more Canadians than ever are turning to Google to avoid spelling slips, noting a “50-fold increase” in such searches.
As for the notion that increased reliance on the internet and autocorrect features is eroding spelling proficiency, Brindle found the data is inconclusive.
“It’s an open question. I don’t think there is a direct line between this data and what Canadians are actually misspelling,” he said. “I use autocorrect in Google often to make sure I’m spelling someone’s name correctly. Those kinds of typos can be really embarrassing.”
For anyone curious as to which words Canada’s southern neighbours are looking up, Google Trends also published its data on the United States’ most misspelled words state-by-state.