When Rachel arrives in Twig, she has some high-falutin’ notions about how to improve her students’ grammar and speech. Fellow teacher Doug decides to set her straight, introducing her to The Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Doug thrust two items in my hands, a heavy yellow hardback book and a slim bound paper, its pages the colour of weak tea. Then he spun on his heel and left without another word.
Why was he so mad at me? I sat down on the stool and looked at the books he’d given me. The thick hardback was called A Dictionary of Newfoundland English. I couldn’t believe it. They had their own dictionary. I began flipping through the book, stopping to read random entries.
A discussion about arse went on for two columns; the entry for seal and related words and expressions lasted more than seven pages. It turned out that a bayman, which Patrick had said he’d make Doug in that first assembly, was someone who lived on or near a bay. A bazz was a blow or a slap. To blear was to utter prolonged complaints. Blearing. Is that what I’d been doing? My face burned at some of my thoughts about Twig and its inhabitants.
There are some wonderful videos on YouTube that explain Newfoundland words, like the one below about duckish. Oh, and I looked duckish up in the Dictionary (p.158) and found that twilight can also be expressed as “between the duckies.” Love that.
Bonus time: pick a letter (any letter!) from the alphabet and leave it in a comment below and I’ll look up a word starting with that letter in the Dictionary and give you its definition below.