A northern boreal forest of evergreens stand dustily on the shores of lake.

I seen it

I saw it.

Every time I would say “seen,” instead of “have seen” or “saw,” she would giggle.

To be clear, she would also laugh along with my jokes and other attempts at cleverness. She was kind. But she was also ruthlessly attentive to my Northern Alberta dialect. Sometimes she would simply say it back to me. I seen.

I think she asked me if I wanted that. I think I said yes.

I would slowly learn to stop saying “I seen it.” And the next time I travelled home I noticed, for the first time, that everyone else was saying it. And I discovered that I could switch back and forth.1

  1. I don’t know if this is dialect, or sociolect, or something else. Related reading here on Appalachan English.

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