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Dictionary of Newfoundland English: Second Edition [Paperback]

W.J. Kirwin , G. M. Story , J.D.A. Widdowson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 1990

The Dictionary of Newfoundland English, first published in 1982 to regional, national and international acclaim, is a historical dictionary that gives the pronunciations and definitions for words that the editors have called "Newfoundland English". The varieties of English spoken in Newfoundland date back four centuries, mainly to the early seventeenth century migratory English fishermen of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, and to the seventeenth to the nineteenth century immigrants chiefly from south-eastern Ireland. Culled from a vast reading of books, newspapers and magazines, this book is the most sustained reading ever undertaken of the written words of this province. The dictionary gives not only the meaning of words, but also presents each word with its variant spellings. Moreover, each definition is succeeded by an all-important quotation of usage which illustrates the typical context in which word is used.

This well-researched, impressive work of scholarship illustrates how words and phrases have evolved and are used in everyday speech and writing in a specific geographical area. The Dictionary of Newfoundland English is one of the most important, comprehensive and thorough works dealing with Newfoundland. Its publication, a great addition to Newfoundlandia, Canadiana and lexicography, provides more than a regional lexicon. In fact, this entertaining and delightful book presents a panoramic view of the social, cultural and natural history, as well as the geography and economics, of the quintessential lifestyle of one of Canada's oldest European-settled areas. This second edition contains a Supplement offering approximately 1500 new or expanded entries, an increase of more than 30 per cent over the first edition. Besides new words, the Supplement includes modified and additional senses of old words and fresh derivations and usages.


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Review

'The whimsy and joyous spirit that even an outsider sees as the defining nature of a granite island that is closer to London than to Winnipeg.'--Kenneth Freed "Los Angeles Times "

Review

'To everyone who loves words, it will be a treasure-house. It's one of those rare books that combine consummate scholarship with a sense of fun and emotional commitment.'

(Sandra Gwynn Saturday Night)

'Much more than a book of definitions, this dictionary is a flahoolach repository of the folklore and the folkways and even the sound and the spirit of pre-Hibernian oilfield, pre-Confederation Newfoundland. It is a book which, combined with a working fireplace, can use up your whole winter.'

(Jack Chambers Globe and Mail)

'The whimsy and joyous spirit that even an outsider sees as the defining nature of a granite island that is closer to London than to Winnipeg.'

(Kenneth Freed Los Angeles Times)

'A bracing tonic for those who fear that verbal sophistication in Canada has peaked with the McKenzie Brothers. And it is a book that can knock you off your tawt with laughter one moment and glaum you in wonder the next.'

(Maclean's)


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive OED for Newfoundland March 18 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Any observant English speaker who visits Newfoundland and Labrador soon realizes that English as spoken by Newfoundlanders on this beautiful, boggy island in an isolated corner of North America, is an incredibly ingenious, imaginative, endearing, rich, pungent, and delightful language. This amazing book, the life's work of a team of excellent and dedicated scholars at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. Johns, Newfoundland, reflects the rich linguistic and literary history of the extraordinary sturdy people of Newfoundand and all aspects of their unique reality--their net-mending and barking, their cod fishing and salt-drying, their seafaring life, and their sweet, heartbreaking lives in the isolated fishing villages in the outports and coves of this island--which now struggles under a cod-fishing moratorium that has largely destroyed the economic base of their unique way of life. Based on wide reading of the literature of Newfoundland, this definitive dictionary reflects the evolution of their language, their delicious slang, their sayings and proverbs, and their folk tales and stories. On winter evenings in the remote cities of the East Coast, with this book one can recreate in one's mind something of that rich heritage and way of life.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My friends who are Newfies checked out this book when I borrowed it from my local public library and agreed that it defines terms and expressions adequately, so I bought my own copy to have on hand.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive OED for Newfoundland March 18 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Any observant English speaker who visits Newfoundland and Labrador soon realizes that English as spoken by Newfoundlanders on this beautiful, boggy island in an isolated corner of North America, is an incredibly ingenious, imaginative, endearing, rich, pungent, and delightful language. This amazing book, the life's work of a team of excellent and dedicated scholars at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. Johns, Newfoundland, reflects the rich linguistic and literary history of the extraordinary sturdy people of Newfoundand and all aspects of their unique reality--their net-mending and barking, their cod fishing and salt-drying, their seafaring life, and their sweet, heartbreaking lives in the isolated fishing villages in the outports and coves of this island--which now struggles under a cod-fishing moratorium that has largely destroyed the economic base of their unique way of life. Based on wide reading of the literature of Newfoundland, this definitive dictionary reflects the evolution of their language, their delicious slang, their sayings and proverbs, and their folk tales and stories. On winter evenings in the remote cities of the East Coast, with this book one can recreate in one's mind something of that rich heritage and way of life.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely necessary for a trip to Newfoundland Sept. 3 2006
By Joyce Schwarz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Canadian province of Newfoundland is a gorgeous land where the people sprinkle their English with a colorful 'brogue'. Their heritage comes from Irish, English, Scottish, French and Native American and Europe with a bit of American from the US forces that were there in WW II....and the language includes some colloquial (slang-type) words that are difficult to understand...what's fun is that this book by scholars cuts through the mystery of some menu items like what's a jigg's dinner to Cod cheeks to other folklore and sayings...it's a lot of fun to take with you on your trip....or for a linguist -- necessary to have on your shelf.
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you read your latest Dictionary? April 30 2013
By Dr. Robin Leech - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Right up there, man!. The Aussie's Fair Dinkum Dictionary and our Newfie dictionary are a real pair. I fully recommend to anyone with a flair for English, whether it be unique words (titilation) or grammar (write your own grammar ticket).

Sure hope that this will not be the last hard copy edition.

Haven't read the other books bought yet.

Robin Leech, PhD, P.Biol.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for anyone who has experienced Newfoundland life. Nov. 22 2012
By CoronerGuy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Insightful for this one time military "Newfie". Feel qualified to review based on having 40% of our children being born there and another son working in St. John's. He uses the Dictionary to understand the unique mix of idioms and oddities of the proud Newfoundlanders.
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