The recording was released Saturday and claims responsibility for the terrorist attacks that shook Paris and the rest of the world last weekend.
“It is concerning if it is Canadian, but it is speculative at this stage,” said RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson told a news conference Wednesday, adding that the Mounties are working to confirm it.
Meanwhile, a dialect expert south of the border said it’s very likely the male speaker has a Canadian — specifically an Ontarian — accent.
“I mainly listened for vowel variations because that’s where most of the variation in English is,” said Erik Thomas, a linguistics professor at North Carolina State University.
The professor was first asked by CNN to analyze the recording. He took detailed notes on words chosen by the speaker in the recording, such as “explosive” and “hand”.
“Everything he uttered seemed to match up with forms that predominate in Canada,” he said.
Certain vowels, such as the short ‘o’, were among the giveaways suggesting the accent originated in regions of either Canada or northern U.S. states.
But the real “clincher” that narrowed the origin of the accent was evidence of “Canadian raising,” a term used by linguists to refer to the way Canadians alter the sound of certain vowels depending on which consonant follows afterwards.
A good way to illustrate Canadian raising, according to Thomas, is to take note of the differences of pronunciation of ‘i’ in the words ‘side’ and ‘sight’.
The English ISIS audio recording praised Allah and warned the “scent of death” will not leave nations that follow the path of France in their efforts to stop the Islamic State.
The statement also referred to the president of that country as “the imbecile of France”.
Despite the accent heard in the recording, no Canadian links to the Paris attacks have been confirmed or validated by CSIS or RCMP officials.