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W.J. Kirwin (CA)

Dictionary of Newfoundland English, The

Dictionary of Newfoundland English, The

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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 southeastern 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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W.J. Kirwin is Professor of English at Memorial University

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