Why do I need a Canadian dictionary?
Because Canada has its own political, cultural, historical, and geographical realities, it has its own words to describe those realities. As a result of Canada's unique history and settlement patterns, Canadian English also includes words borrowed from other languages which do not appear in other varieties of English. But dictionaries inevitably describe and reflect the language and culture of the country in which they are edited. Thus American dictionaries cover American English and British dictionaries cover British English, and both tend to overlook Canadian English altogether. Canadians need a dictionary that defines the words used by Canadians and also records how Canadians (not the Americans or the British) pronounce and spell words. A Canadian dictionary gives you more than other dictionaries, combining in one reference book information on English as it is used worldwide and as it is used particularly in Canada.
"Canadian" dictionaries can be superficial adaptations of American dictionaries, compiled in a very short time, or they can be based on inadequate research into current Canadian English. Some of the things to look for when evaluating a Canadian dictionary:
Definitions should be presented in an order that reflects their importance to Canadians; when Canadians see the abbreviation AB, the first thing they think of is "Alberta", not "able seaman". In Canadian Oxford dictionaries, every entry has been ordered to reflect Canadian usage. Some Canadian dictionaries focus on obscure and dialectal Canadianisms while missing words that are a common part of every Canadian's speech, such as all-candidates meeting, Caesar to mean a cocktail, book off work, BQ (Bloc Québécois), CPP (Canada Pension Plan), and T4.
Some dictionaries are not a reliable reflection of actual Canadian spelling. In contrast, every one of the words in Canadian Oxford dictionaries has been checked for spelling practice against our vast Canadian text holdings, which include evidence from over 8,000 Canadian sources. This painstaking scrutiny provides an objective basis for asserting, for example, that the spelling toque is more common than tuque; the dictionary's recommendations do not conflict, therefore, with Canadians' own intuitions about their language.
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary was compiled by six Canadians working in the Toronto office of Oxford University Press Canada. Over a period of five years, they conducted in-depth research into Canadian English by examining over 20 million words of Canadian text, surveying pronunciations with a nationwide network of informants, and reading Canadian sources. For the second edition, the lexicography team looked at 25 million words. Every definition has been written from a Canadian perspective, taking into account Canadian realities; the definition for the word scraper, for instance, mentions that scrapers are used for removing ice as well as paint or mud! Since the Canadian Oxford Dictionary published in 1998, this research has continued non-stop so the tradition of excellence continues with the publication of the second edition.
In addition to being truly Canadian, the Canadian Oxford Dictionary continues in the scholarly tradition of publishing highly respected dictionaries for which Oxford University Press has been known worldwide for over 100 years. The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford's flagship historical dictionary, is respected and consulted by every other dictionary compiler. Oxford University Press takes excellence in dictionary-making seriously, with more than 100 full-time lexicographers worldwide and dictionary projects in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Caribbean, and the US, as well as Canada. Its worldwide ongoing reading program detects new words entering the language, so that the Canadian Oxford Dictionary is thoroughly up to date, with entries for new realities such as Web site, firewall, big box store, and employment insurance.
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary combines an authentic description of Canadian English with the authority for which Oxford dictionaries are renowned.