Obviously if you add a bunch of cutsey syllables at the end of every word you'll end up sounding like Ned Flanders. I don't think things are as totally traditional as the Canadians are making it out to be though (I've never been to Canada and only know a couple, so Ill leave it to them to confirm about Canadian English). I'm pretty sure they would call a highly technical person a techie (not to be confused with a Trekkie--a Star Trek nerd). And in the states we have nicknames for things that are diminutive but without adhering to the -ie formula. Football is pigskin or gridiron, basketball is hoops or b-ball.
What about pop/soda/coke (all three terms refer to carbonated beverages/soft drinks)? Are they diminutives? What about text speak or chat acronyms? I have personally overheard people say the letters OMG (oh my god) and TTYL (talk to you later) in conversation. Yes, they were adults and yes, I did die a little inside when I heard it.
In British English (what I heard of it while living in Ireland, anyway), the formulaic -ie/-y/-er diminutives are more common. People watch footy or ruggers on TV, lots of people wear trackie bottoms (tracksuit trousers) and many "undesirable" youth wear hoodies (hooded sweatshirts/jumpers) and will occasionally do a runner (run away). In the office, we exchange prezzies at Christmas, but there was always a long boring prezzo (presentation) for the end of year results.
edited to add:
How could I have forgotten California's contribution to diminutives? Hella (meaning a hell of a lot of, but used as an intensifier... it's hella annoying).
Last edited by Mr_Ben; 30-Apr-2011 at 16:17.
Actually, Trekkie is another diminutive that sounds normal among/st adults (geeky adults that is). As to the rest of the comment it sounds a bit like apples and oranges. Tradition doesn't factor in at all in my opinion but perhaps I just don't understand what you mean.
Also, I don't know how someone could speak technically unless they are talking about technical things, so I'm not sure what you mean. However I am really good at speaking "un-technically" .
eg."I need that thingy that you copy stuff from your computer on to."
I use thingy to replace technical terms all the time, or any electronic gadget, but I don't think this is a Canadian phenomenon.
and maybe thingy
I'd add these to my previous two diminutives, come to think of it.
Not a teacher.
Live long and prosper!