Dictionary of Newfoundland English. 2nd ed.


770 pages
ISBN 0-8020-6819-7
DDC 427'.9718




Edited by G.M. Story, W.J. Kirwin, and J.D.A. Widdowson
Reviewed by R. Gordon Moyles

R.G. Moyles is a professor of English at the University of Alberta,
co-author of Imperial Dreams and Colonial Realities: British Views of
Canada, 1880-1914, and co-editor of The Collected Works of E.J. Pratt.


This wonderful treasure-trove of Newfoundland lexicography—with its
attendant folkloric sources—has received so much international acclaim
and is owned by so many people throughout the world that another review
would be merely gilding the lily. I have seen it on the desks of
scholars, have been at parties where a version of Newfoundland Slang
Teasers was played with it, and have known some people who have read it
through as they would a picaresque novel. Many have justifiably perused
it as a compendium of Newfoundland folklore, one that vivifies the
spirit of the island’s people. No more needs to be said on that score.

The point of this review, therefore, is to make you aware that the
Dictionary is now available in a second edition (should you have been
unlucky enough to miss the first); and to note that it contains a
145-page Supplement that not only offers many new source-quotations for
such words as “scrunchions” and “slubby,” but adds several
hundred new words (new, at least, in terms of their Newfoundland usage).
“We find,” state the editors, “little evidence of the retreat of
the traditional vocabulary which is so often predicted and that many
regional writers are actively extending the metaphoric use of the
Newfoundland vocabulary.” The Dictionary, though the editors modestly
do not say so, may be largely responsible for this happy state of
affairs. The Supplement, in fact, stands as a testimony to the
popularity of the Dictionary itself.


“Dictionary of Newfoundland English. 2nd ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/30532.