Last summer, just ahead of America’s national spelling bee, Google released a list of words that people in each state didn’t know how to spell. Google Labs came up with its list by looking at the most searched “how to spell” words across the country.
So Maclean’s asked Google to run the same experiment in Canada. Here are the words that most frequently sent people in each province and territory to the internet to check the spelling:
And here, for comparison, is Google’s map of America’s spelling struggles.
At five letters “altar” in the Yukon and “yacht” in Nova Scotia are the shortest words on the Canadian list. (By comparison “liar,” which befuddles those in Rhode Island, was the shortest on the American list.) Meanwhile the Canada and U.S. maps show that spelling difficulties transcend borders, with neighbouring B.C. and Washington state both stumped by “pneumonia”.
The real question is, why are people in Alberta so concerned with spelling supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? They’re not alone on the continent, either. The biggest word you ever heard, from the 1964 film Mary Poppins, was also the most searched for word in West Virginia and Connecticut.