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Cottage, Cabin, or Something Else? How Regional Differences Can Affect Word Choice

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Just because we speak the same language and live in the same country, that doesn't mean we use the same vocabulary.

You know that cute little (or not so little) house in the woods?

The rustic, oftentimes romanticized place, usually nestled by a lake?

The haven where people enjoy relaxing, reading, sleeping, and drinking beer on weekends? And having campfires? Making s'mores? Maybe even swimming or skiing?

I call it a cottage ... but that's not necessarily the "right" word

I, an Anglophone, and my English-speaking friends and family members in and around eastern, southern and central Ontario also call it a cottage.

And, apparently, so do folks in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

But not everyone across Canada does.

Same country, same language ... different wording

Get ready for a linguistic journey across Canada, because we're about to do some exploring!

While researching about cottages for a client article some time ago, I learned that English-speaking folks across the country use the following words to describe what I call a "cottage."

  • In Newfoundland, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, they refer to it as a "cabin."

  • In Manitoba, they call it "the lake." (That said, I'm not sure if the building must physically reside by a lake to be referred to as such.)

  • And in Northwestern Ontario, they simply call it "camp."

This is just an example, but it's fascinating to consider how one language can have so many unique and distinctive variations, depending on where you are in the country.

As a freelance writer, editor, and content marketing strategist, it's especially important to remember this when I create content for different audiences.

Lesson learned: always consider regional differences

No matter the country, it's absolutely critical to remember that — even if your audience speaks the same language — they may not all use the same vocabulary. Moreover, small yet crucial variations in our word choice can make or break the message we're trying to convey.

The good news? Taking time to understand these nuances doesn't have to be a headache. In fact, it could be the key to winning over your audience's hearts and minds. By speaking their language and showing you care about their specific needs and customs, you're already one step ahead in the game.

Stop struggling to find the right words!

Are you worried your organization's content marketing might not be engaging enough for your audience? Or worse yet, that you're using lackluster language and jargon that leaves people scratching their heads?

No need to fret – I've got you covered. With over 20 years of experience in strategic content writing and editing, I offer premium services to ensure your digital and print marketing-communications materials are top-notch.

From proofreading to full-on writing and rewriting, I have the skills to help your organization speak directly to your audience – using the right words and terminology.

Message me or book a FREE 30-minute consultation today to discuss how I can take your organization's messaging to the next level.


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