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Collections

Besides housing a library of published lexicographical and onomastic resources, the English Language Research Centre houses primary research collections.

For archival reasons, portions of some collections are stored in MUNFLA, and some in the ELRC. Significant collections are listed below.

The central and largest research collection in the ELRC consists of the lexical files compiled for the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (DNE). This was begun in the late 1950s and remains an active project to this day.

The DNE collection consists of over 100,000 slips and cards, each containing an example of a local word in its actual usage, or a commentary on a word by the dictionary’s editors and contributors. This collection is currently being digitized as part of Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative (DAI).

A second large collection stored in the ELRC involves local toponymy. It consists of various components brought together by E.R. Seary in the 1960s, and since the 1970s, by W.J. Kirwin and R. Hollett. Documenting place-names throughout the province, the toponymy collection includes detailed investigations of many local areas. Associated with the toponymic materials are manuscript research files, tape-recordings, and maps.

A third component of the ELRC is the Newfoundland and Labrador proverb and proverbial speech collection, originally begun by G.M. Story in the late 1960s. In the 1990s this collection was partially digitized; the original card file for Story’s proverb index is stored at MUNFLA. The ELRC plans to continue work on this collection in 2014.

A fourth research component of the ELRC is Seary's family names collection, much of which appeared in Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland (1976; corr. edition 1998). The family names collection (specifically, the set of secondary worksheets) is housed in MUNFLA, with supplementary materials (including unsorted and unanalysed primary work sheets) available in the ELRC.

The Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador is an active research project of the ELRC (Primary researcher: Sandra Clarke). Though the online linguistic atlas was launched in October 2013, contirbutions are still coming in from different areas of the province and we are currently looking into a 'search by region' function for the atlas.

In 2013, the ELRC has returned to a project started in 2003, Voices of Newfoundland and Labrador. Voices will be a sister-site to the Atlas, providing longer interview clips and transcripts from speakers from 58 communities in Newfoundland and 11 communities in Labrador.

The Digital Corpus of St. John's English is a large volume of recordings and questionnaires in various forms housed in the ELRC. The corpus is currently being digitized and consists of 120 one-to-two-hour interviews with St. John's residents; it is stratified by sex, age and socioeconomic status. In addition, the collection contains some 40 supplementary interviews; two subsets of interviews from designated neighbourhoods (Downtown and Rabbittown); and a small set of interviews with city seniors, for a total of more than 220 city residents.

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