The Canadian Vowel Shift, first identified by ELRC Management Committee member Sandra Clarke in 1995, was a hot topic in the media this week. Following a piece in the August 10 2015 edition of Maclean’s magazine (read the article here) Dr. Clarke and fellow ELRC Management Committee member and linguist Dr. Paul De Decker each did short interviews about this major vowel change in Canadian English on 11 regional CBC morning radio shows throughout Canada, from St. John’s to Whitehorse. (To hear Sandra Clarke’s interview with Helen Mann on CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning, click here) Paul De Decker was also interviewed on this topic on CTV’s News Network; see his interview here.
You can read our call for photos here which includes a list of communities for which we require photos and a release form that you can also find here. These files are in PDF format and will download to your computer when you click on the links. If you are having trouble, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 709-864-4481 and we can provide you with the call and release form.
Are you or someone you know from Port De Grave? We need your help to identify a speaker from Port De Grave. Have a listen to the sound file by clicking here and let us know if you know who this is.
Dr. Sandra Clarke (Professor Emerita) has been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant to complete work on Voices of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Voices of Newfoundland and Labrador project will mobilize materials assembled and collected over the past 15 years by the ELRC.
Regional Language Studies ... Newfoundland is seeking contributions on language-related topics from Memorial faculty, students, and others, for possible inclusion in its 2015 issue. RLS welcomes papers and short notes that deal with any aspect of Newfoundland or Labrador English. These include, but are by no means limited to: language in historical perspective; regional or community features (phonetic, grammatical or lexical); social differences in language use; lexical studies; and investigations of place names or family names. Papers that deal with other languages in the province (e.g. French, aboriginal languages) are also welcome.
RLS is published once a year by Memorial University’s English Language Research Centre (ELRC; www.mun.ca/elrc). Founded by Professor Emeritus William J. Kirwin (English), it is currently edited by Professor Emerita Sandra Clarke (Linguistics), Professor Paul De Decker (Linguistics) and ELRC manager Suzanne Power. The deadline for the 2015 issue is June 30, 2015. If you’re thinking of submitting, please contact Suzanne Power at email@example.com, who can also provide further information.
While there is no set limit on length, papers in recent issues of RLS have not generally exceeded 3500 words (the equivalent of 10 double-spaced pages), excluding references and endnotes. The style of your paper should be fairly non-technical, aimed for a general-interest readership. RLS is published in both print and open-access online formats; its two most recent issues (24 & 25) can be accessed at http://journals.library.mun.ca/ojs/index.php/RLS/index . Please follow the RLS style sheet, included at the end of each issue. Previous issues of RLS (1 – 23) are available online in Memorial’s Digital Archive Collection, at
Today marks the end of the first phase of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English Word-file Digitization Project. David Browne, one of this semester's MUCEP students, digitized the very last card this morning. The last card digitized was for Tyfoy (Typhoid) fever, fitting since everyone and their dog seems to be sick these days in the long and hungry month of March.
The Digitization project was initiated in 2005 at the ELRC and we have worked very hard for the past decade to get to this point. This project has employed almost 100 students so far and we are extremely grateful for each and every one of our student research assistants who have grappled with the aging computer network, indecipherable handwriting, numerous protocol changes and much more.
We have already started the second phase of this project: verification of almost 100,000 digitized records using a newly developed protocol designed to bring all the records inline with each other. This second phase will take approximately 2 years to complete as long as our student support does not dwindle. We are also in the process of determining the most appropriate migration to a database format in order to make this unique and important collection available to scholars.
Thanks especially to the great group of students currently working at the ELRC: David Browne, Sarah Budgell, Jordyn Hughes, Janet Kelly, Rebecca Nolan, and Cathy Wiseman.
Dr. Sandra Clarke was awarded this year's 'William J. Kirwin Award for Retiree Recognition', presented by Dean of Arts, Dr. Lynne Phillips, at the annual 'A Fine Crowd' reception for achievement in the Faculty of Arts.
Dr. Clarke, an authority on local language, is the primary researcher on the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador and author of Newfoundland and Labrador English (2010). She has dedicated a great part of her academic life to the study of local language and is currently a member of the ELRC Management Committee and recipient of a 2015 Smallwood grant to continue work on her Voices of Newfoundland and Labrador project, intended to be a sibling site to the Dialect Atlas.
Dr. Philip Hiscock (Folklore) sat down with Ramona Dearing today to talk about local place names on CBC Radio Noon's Crosstalk.
Today is the 90th birthday of DNE editor, Regional Language Studies...Newfoundland creator and long-time editor, brilliant scholar, colleague and gentleman Dr. William J. Kirwin.
There are few researchers who have shown the dedication and drive that Dr. Kirwin has shown throughout his life and his legacy is his work which celebrates linguistic diversity and cultural heritage. Dr. Kirwin currently resides at St. Patrick's Mercy Home for anyone who would like to visit him to deliver birthday or other good wishes in person. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the first edition of the DNE. To celebrate, Suzanne Power joined Anthony Germaine on CBC's Morning Show and Leigh Anne Power on CBC's Central Morning to talk about the anniversary and next steps for the DNE Word-file Digitization Project which is nearing completion of the first phase of digitization. Among other things, they talked about why the term skeet is not in the DNE.
Suzanne Power joined Ramona Dearing during Radio Noon for Crosstalk today to talk about the most recent Twig blog entry all about Labrador English. Listeners called in with words from and comments about Labrador English.
Dr. Sandra Clarke presents on the Dialect Atlas this evening at the October meeting of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW).
We at the ELRC received the sad news this morning that Dr. Ron Rompkey has passed away.
Dr. Rompkey was a faculty member (Emeritus) in the Department of English Language and Literature and a colleague and friend of many who have worked in the ELRC, especially Dr. William Kirwin who he visited on a regular basis.
A well-known author of Newfoundland and Labrador studies, a University Research Professor and a Fellow of the Royal Society, he will be sorely missed.
Memorial University’s flags will be lowered on Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 10 a.m. until noon, to mark the passing of Dr. Ron Rompkey. The visitation will take place at Carnell's Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Rd. on Monday, Aug. 4 from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. The funeral will be held at the Anglican Cathedral on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at 11 a.m.
A university procession will be convened at the funeral. University marshals will co-ordinate the procession at the cathedral and there will be an area reserved for procession seating. Faculty, staff and students who wish to participate should arrive at the cathedral, wearing academic dress, at least 30 minutes before the start of the service and congregate near the area inside the west entrance where they will be marshaled.
Academic dress may be borrowed at the Gown Room, located in the basement of the Physical Education building (PE-1007), Monday, Aug. 4, from 2-4 p.m. Gowns can be returned to the Marketing and Communications office, Arts building (A-1024) following the service on Tuesday.
Regional Language Studies...Newfoundland was established by William J. Kirwin in 1968. This issue marks the 25th number of RLS and the English Language Research Centre wanted to do something special to celebrate. Though over the years RLS has featured a number of papers dealing with language in Labrador, it has never devoted a full issue to this region of the province.
With the publication of the Innu Language Project's dictionaries in 2013 and the launch of the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador, the ELRC Management Committee decided to dedicate a special RLS issue to Labrador language studies. This issue contains papers about language in Labrador from Marianne Stopp (Parks Canada), Martha Macdonald (The Labrador Institute), Sandra Clarke (Linguistics), Suzanne Power (ELRC, Centre Manager), Marguerite MacKenzie and Laurel Anne Hasler (Linguistics/Innu Language Project) and Jenna Edwards (Linguistics).
RLS is now available online through Open Journal Systems. To view the current issue, click here or paste the following link in your browser: http://journals.library.mun.ca/ojs/index.php/RLS/issue/current
On Wednesday April 9, 2014, Philip Hiscock was on CBC Radio's Morning Show in St John's Newfoundland, Morning Show talking with host Anthony Germaine about the word 'skeet'. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.
This issue of the Downhome features an interview by Grant Loveys with Dr. Sandra Clarke and Dr. Philip Hiscock about the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador. To see what all the fuss is about, check out the Dialect Atlas by clicking here or visiting www.dialectatlas.mun.ca
RLS is stepping into the digital age and publishing in e-format through Memorial University Library's Open Access Journal System. The System is free and easy to use. To check out the current RLS online, click here or past the following link into your browser: http://journals.library.mun.ca/ojs/index.php/RLS/issue/current
If you would like to recieve notifications when RLS is published, please send an email to email@example.com with your request.
In 2011, Dr. Sandra Clarke presented a paper at the International Methods in Dialectology XIV conference. Her paper, Adapting legacy regional language materials to an interactive online format: The Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English, has now been published in the conference proceedings. To order, click here.
2012 marked the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (DNE). To celebrate this important landmark in the history of Memorial University and the province as a whole, the English Language Research Centre held a Newfoundland and Labrador English Symposium November 9-10, 2012 at Memorial University, consisting of an evening storytelling event and a day of presentations on Newfoundland and Labrador English. Storytellers were those who had been involved with the DNE or had worked closely with the editors, George Story, William Kirwin and John Widdowson. They included John Hewson, Robert Hollett, Gordon Jones, Sheila Lynch, Shane O'Dea (Master of Ceremonies), Harold Paddock and John Widdowson (via audio from an interview). The ELRC has preserved the audio from that evening and there are a number of photos on our blog (www.twignl.wordpress.com). We were fortunate that William Kirwin joined us for this event, receiving a standing ovation for his dedication to the study of Newfoundland English and his integral role in the DNE. Presentations were delivered by professors and students at Memorial University currently working on Newfoundland and Labrador English, from the departments of Folklore (Nic Hartmann, Philip Hiscock and Shamus MacDonald,), History (Jeff Webb) and Linguistics (Sandra Clarke, Paul De Decker, Rachel Deal, Sarah Knee, Suzanne Power, Jennifer Thorburn and Gerard Van Herk). RLS 24 presents selected papers from the Symposium, demonstrating that research on language in the province remains vibrant and varied.
The Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador has been mentioned in The Telegram, in John Gushue's "Surf's Up" column. Check out page A10 for the mention of the atlas site and some other interesting links!
After a very successful launch, attended by personalities from CBC and the Telegram, CBC posted an article about the launch and the Dialect Atlas. You can read the article here.Check out the comments section as well, lots of love going around for NL dialects!
Professor Harold Paddock was featured in The Telegram yesterday, October 24, speaking about the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador. You can read the coverage on page A4 of the October 24th edition of The Telegram.
A story on the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador launch was featured this morning on CBC Radio's Morning Show (Labrador and St. John's). A segment also appeared on CBC's Here and Now this evening featureing Professor Harold Paddock.
A segment about the Dialect Atlas launch was aired on CBC Late Night.
Today is the day! Come celebrate the launch of the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador at 4pm, The Landing, University Centre 3018. If you can't be there but would like some more information about the atlas, check out a brand new promotional video from the wonderful folks at DELTS!
Three interviews with Dr. Sandra Clarke about the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador and the launch today were featured this morning on CBC Radio. Interviews were aired on CBC St. John's Morning Show, CBC Corner Brook and CBC Grand Falls-Windsor.
Dr. Sandra Clarke sat down today to talk to CBC's Angela Antle about the upcoming launch of the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Please join us on Wednesday October 23rd for the launch of the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador. Reception to follow.
The ELRC would like to extend congratulations to Dr. Marguerite Mackenzie on winning a SSHRC Impact Award. The full soty is available here.
Linguistics Professor, Paul De Decker was on CBC's Radio Noon today to talk about his vocabulary project that he has been carrying out in his Linguistics class. You can listen to the segment here, starting at 10:15.
George Story lecturer, Joan Houston Hall (Chief Editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English) was interviewed by The Telegram's Andrew Robinson. The interview appeared in today's paper, page A7.
Joan Houston Hall was interviewed on CBC's Weekend AM a couple of days ago by Angela Antle. The interview aired today.
Goerge Story Lecutrer, Joan Houston Hall, featured in The Gazette. Article available on page 9 or by clicking here.
ELRC Centre Manager, Suzanne Power, sat down with Meghan McCabe from NTV News to talk about the politics of the word "Newfie". The segment will be aired in the next couple of days.
This fall, the George Story Lecture will be delivered by Joan Houston Hall, Chief Editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English. We're all very excited to welcome her to Newfoundland and Memorial University. It's quite fitting to have a lecturer whose work is so closely related to the work of George Story's. Mark it on your calendar, it will be a fascinating talk.
It's been a very busy summer here at the ELRC. The Dictionary of Newfoundland English Word-File Digitization project is moving along nicely with the hard work of our student research assistants. Of the 72 drawers of word-files, 57 have been completely digitized, 7 are in progress and only 8 drawers remain after that! A big thanks to all of our research assistants over the past two semesters including Marwa Al-Alawi, Kanachi Angadi, Josué Kalombo, Sarah Milmine, Shamiso Simango, Maudie Whelan, and Cathy Wiseman.
We've also been busy getting ready for the online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador launch coming up on October 23, 2013. More details will be announced soon.
In addition, a team of students has been working for the past two semesters with taped interviews from St. John's from the 1980s. They have been digitizing cassettes and transcribing interviews, helping to build a corpus for future study. This team includes Cecily McKeever, Sarah Milmine, Rosanna Pierson, Matt Samms, Brittany Stamp, and Cathy Wiseman.
Great work everyone!
In today's Globe and Mail, author Lisa Moore recommended the Dictionary of Newfoundland English in "The Great Literary Vacation", page R10.
On February 11, Dr. Kirwin, co-editor of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, was presented with an award at A Fine Crowd: A Reception for Achievement in the Faculty of Arts. This new award, The William J. Kirwin Retiree Recognition Award, recognizes contributions to the Faculty of retirees who have continued their dedication to their research. For anyone who knows Dr. Kirwin, the establishment of this award and his being the first recipient will not come as a surprise. After the publication of the DNE in 1981, Dr. Kirwin retired in 1984 so he could devote more time to his research on the language and history of Newfoundland and Labrador. He also contunued supervision of graduate students. Dr. Kirwin has continued to collect citations of local usages, resulting in a several hundred page lexical file. Up until January, 2012, he was still typing new cards on his typewriter to enter into the DNE word-file collection. This is in additon to various publications and overseeing the function of the ELRC. This award is well-named and well-deserved. Congratulations Dr. Kirwin!
ELRC Management Committee member Jeff Webb has just published a paper titled "Culler of Words: Writing the Dictionary of Newfoundland English". The full citation is Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America 33 (2012), 58-82. There is a copy of Webb's paper at the ELRC. Defnitely worth the read, Webb has given voice to the editors of the DNE through his thoughtful history and numerous quotes from the editors' files. The full volume of Dictionaries is available by subscription here.
It's been another great semester at the ELRC with our student research assistants who have been busily working away, digitizing word-files from the DNE collection. About half of the remaining drawers are withdrawn and queried files. These drawers have a lot of handwritten cards in them, some are notes between the editors. While these cards are very interesting and lend context to the citations, the handwriting is difficult to read, excruciatingly so at times.
Our team has been extra busy this semester, helping out with the 30th anniversary celebrations for the DNE. Thanks to Joelle Carey, Maegan Gill, Manjot Gill, Nic Hartmann, and Sarah Milmine for helping out at the celebrations! Thanks also go to those who participated in the story-telling event and symposium. The picture above was taken by Philip Hiscock on the day that The National came to the ELRC to have a look around and interview Philip.
A huge thanks goes out to all of our student research assistants at the ELRC this semester. They include: Manjot Gill, Nicholas Hartmann, Josué Kalombo, Sarah Milmine, Shamiso Simango, and Brittany Stamp. Of the 72 drawers, 50 have been completely digitized, 8 have been partially digitized and 14 remain.
On Friday November 23, ELRC's Suzanne Power was interviewed by Gilda Salomone on Radio Canada International. You can listen to the interview by clicking here or pasting the following link into your browser: http://www.rcinet.ca/english/daily/interviews-2012/14-37_2012-11-23-iconic-idictionary-of-newfoundland-englishi-celebrates-30-years/
It's been a great couple of weeks for media coverage of the DNE here at the ELRC, or 'the Dictionary Room'! Philip Hiscock was recently interviewed at the ELRC by Vik Adhopia of the National and the segment aired November 22. You can watch the piece by clicking here or copying this link into your browser: http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV%20Shows/The%20National/ID/2308351505/
Dr. Sandra Clarke is part of the management committee of the ELRC and one of the primary researchers for the online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador. Last week, Dr. Clarke spoke with Jacinthe Tremblay at The Telegram. You can read the article by clicking here.
Things are gradually getting back to normal here at the ELRC. The 30th anniversary celebrations for the Dictionary of Newfoundland English were a great success! Despite the rain and cold over the weekend, there was a great turnout. The story-telling event went extremely well with speakers telling their stories about the editors and their colleagues, giving the audience a little glimpse of the characters involved in the creation of the DNE. Some stories were funny, others were touching. Dr. William J. Kirwin was in attendance and received a standing ovation for his tireless research and dedication to the study of Newfoundland English and culture. Local musician Boyd Chubbs provided the perfect background to a lovely reception after the event and even finished off with some holiday cheer in the form of a Christmas carol.
The symposium on Saturday was full of interesting papers on a broad range of topics from an interdisciplinary roster of students and faculty, all celebrating Newfoundland and Labrador language, history, folklore and more! Reporters stopped by from the CBC and the Telegram. The Telegram feature was printed yesterday and you can read it by clicking here.During the ELRC tour, a couple of people offered new words that are not in the DNE cllection and enjoyed seeing the digitization interface in action as well as the double-keyboard typewriter that will now stay on display in the ELRC.
The anniversary celebrations have created some buzz outside of the university community as well with CBC running a contest earlier this morning asking listeners to call in with favourite words from or words that should be in the DNE.
Stay tuned for event pictures to be added next week and maybe a sound file or two from the story-telling event!
Thanks to the President's office, the VP Academic, the Departments of English and Linguistics for co-sponsoring these events. A huge thank you to all the story-tellers, presenters, organizers, volunteers, and audience members who came together to celebrate with us!
The program for Friday November 9, 2012 7:30-10:30 p.m. is available by clicking here.
The program for Saturday November 10, 2012 9 a.m.-5p.m. is available by clicking here.
Come help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (DNE) this weekend! The celebration starts Friday evening, Nov 9, at 7:30 pm in A1046, off the Arts atrium, when friends and colleagues from a number of Memorial departments will share light-hearted stories of DNE editors G. M. Story, W. J. Kirwin, and J. D. A. Widdowson. The story-telling event will be followed by a reception in the Arts atrium featuring local musician Boyd Chubbs. In addition, one lucky winner will receive a free copy of the 2nd edition of the DNE.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.on Saturday Nov 10, in A1046, come hear faculty and students from the departments of Linguistics, Folklore and History talk about their work on Newfoundland and Labrador English and Culture. Over the lunch break, tours are available of the ELRC, home of the DNE, and current home to several major projects on Newfoundland and Labrador English.
And don't miss the travelling exhibit "Canadian English, Eh?" from the Canadian Language Museum, which can be viewed in the Arts atrium until late Saturday afternoon.
We hope to see you there!
Things are gearing up for the anniversary celebrations this weekend. The Canadian Language Museum exhibit "Canadian English, Eh?" is now installed in the Arts atrium. Please stop by and have a look.
In addition to all the great stories you'll hear on Friday evening, we'll be giving away a copy of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (2nd edition with supplement) to one lucky winner!
Free parking is available in lot 15B for both the evening Friday Reminiscences event and for the Saturday symposium. This lot is next to the School of Music and you can find it on the campus map by clicking here.
Philip Hiscock and Suzanne Power joined Ramona Dearing during Radio Noon for Crosstalk today. Listeners called in and Tweeted their favourite words from the DNE as well as words that they might like to see in the DNE. You can listen by clicking here or visit cbc.ca/radionoonnl.
Regional Language Studies...Newfoundland (RLS) has just published its 23rd issue. The journal publishes articles, research notes, and bibliographies relating to all aspects of language in Newfoundland and Labrador; it also examines regional place and family names. RLS is edited by Dr. William Kirwin, Dr. Sandra Clarke and Suzanne Power. This issue is meant to compliment the 30th Anniversary of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English and features something from each editor of the DNE:a reprint of an article about place names by G. M. Story, an internal report on dialect questionnaires by William Kirwin, and segments from an interview with John Widdowson. In addition, History Professor Jeff A. Webb, and Linguistics Professors Gerard Van Herk and Paul De Decker have contributed articles and Suzanne Power and Sandra Clarke provide an update on the activities of the ELRC. Back issues of the journal can be found on the Digital Archives Initiative. Anyone wishing to obtain a copy of the recent issue is encouraged to contact the ELRC.
The Dictionary of Newfoundland English celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and the English Language Research Centre is very pleased to be hosting a symposium on Newfoundland and Labrador English to mark the occasion. We hope you will join us!
Thanks to all of our undergraduate student assistants this past semester for a job well done! Student assistants at the ELRC during the spring semester were: Maegan Gill, Elie Kalombo, Josué Kalombo, Sarah Milmine, and Michael Philpott. These students have kept the DNE word-file digitization project moving along nicely. Of the 72 drawers of word-files, 48 have been fully digitized, 9 have been partially digitized, and 15 remain to be digitized. Thanks are also extended to Melanie Hurley who worked on the Online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English.
This past weekend, This past weekend Dr. John Widdowson, one of the DNE editors, was interviewed about the dictionary. The interview was aired on CBC's Weekend Arts Magazine program. You can hear the interview by clicking here.
On August 10th, ELRC centre manager Suzanne Power, will speak about the ELRC at the Faculty of Arts "Spinnin' a Yarn" Reunion 2012 event. She will speak about the DNE, the ongoing activities at the ELRC and will show a clip from a recent interview she did with Dr. John Widdowson. This interview will also be featured at Celebrating 30 years of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English: Newfoundland and Labrador English Symposium this November. More details coming soon!
It has been a busy semester here at the ELRC as the DNE word-file digitization project progresses at a steady pace. We'd like to take a minute to thank our undergraduate and graduate students for all their hard work over the past four months. Student research assitants at the ELRC during the winter semester were: Shane Beehan, Joelle Carey, Hailey Gallivan, Maegan Gill, Manjot Gill, Rebecca Kalombo, Alison McEvoy, Michael Philpott, Allyson Wheeler and Cathy Wiseman. Of the 72 drawers of word-files, 44 have been completely digitized and 9 are partially digitized. Thanks, also, to Melanie Hurley who worked on the Online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English this semester. To all our research assistants, great work everyone!
The Newfoundland Historical Society will be holding its Annual George Story Lecture on Thursday April 26, 2012 at 8pm at Hampton Hall Lecture Theatre, located at the Marine Institute on Ridge Road. This month's lecturer will be Jeff Webb, and his talk is titled: "George M. Story and the Study of Newfoundland at Memorial".
Refreshments to follow. Parking is free and everyone is welcome to attend
Regional Language Studies ... Newfoundland (RLS) is accepting submissions for the 2012 number. You can read the call for papers by clicking here. Please send submissions to Suzanne Power at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is June 29th, 2012.
On Wednesday February 29th, Twig author and ELRC centre manager Suzanne Power was interviewed on CBC Radio's Labrador Morning Show. She was talking about the most recent Twig entry that focuses on words relating to alcohol and liquor in the DNE. You can listen to the interview by clicking here.
As we prepare to enter the year of the 30th anniversary of the DNE, thanks go out to our hard working graduate and undergraduate student research assistants this past semester. Because of them, work on the DNE Digitization Project is humming along. Student research assistants in the ELRC this term were: Shane Beehan, Joelle Carey, Manjot Gill, Maegan Gill, Rebecca Kalombo, Alison McEvoy, Krista Nugent-Thomas, and Allyson Wheeler. With their help, we have now digitized over half of the word-files in the DNE collection. The collection, after much reorganization this semester, now consists of 72 word-file drawers. Of these drawers, 37 have been completely digitized and 11 are partially digitized. This means that approximately 50 000 word-files have been digitized to date. Thanks are also extended to Harmony Roberts, who has been working on sound-files this semester for DANL: The Online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English. Thanks to all of our research assistants past and present. Excellent work everybody!
On Friday November 25, Philip Hiscock (ELRC Management Committee and Folklore professor) was Ramona Dearing's guest on CBC Radio Noon Crosstalk. The focus of the show is Newfoundland words and expressions. Conversation ranges from controversial topics like the use of 'wop' and 'Newfie' to the complex semantics of prepositions and h-dropping/adding. To hear the full hour-long broadcast, click here.
This past weekend, Gerard Van Herk (ELRC Management Committee and Linguistics professor) graced the cover of the Telegram (Weekender) in a write-up on Memorial University Sociolinguistics Laboratory (MUSL) research, particularly current projects on English in Petty Harbour. His interview with Barb Sweet focuses on how Newfoundland English is NOT dying and discusses sociolinguistic conditioning of s-marking, a rare occurrence in media pieces. You can read the article by clicking here.
Taking us on a delightful journey from the conception of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (DNE) through to current research initiatives of the ELRC, the latest issue of the Newfoundland Quarterly (NQ, 104.2) profiles the DNE, its creators and their colleagues, highlighting the cultural importance of scholarly research on Newfoundland English. In this Newfoundland English-focused issue, NQ first interviews DNE editor Dr. J. D. A. Widdowson who provides intriguing insights into the data collection process and reveals his concerns about the preservation of the DNE research materials currently being digitized through the digitization project at the ELRC. Also interviewed in 'Talking About the DNE' are former ELRC Centre Manager Jenny Higgins who elaborates on her fascination with Newfoundland words and the Centre's recent activities, Dr. Sandra Clarke who stresses the value of the ongoing online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English (DANL) project, and Dr. Philip Hiscock who talks about bringing the DNE to students as a valuable research tool. Laced with threads of lost vocabulary and changing dialects, this feature shines a very bright light on the intricate dance of language, culture and identity. If that isn't enough, the feature culminates in a fascinating article on the life and work of DNE editor Dr. George M. Story that details why the DNE, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012, was and continues to be so crucial to the cultural heritage of this province.
Suzanne Power joined the ELRC today as its new Centre Manager. Alongside running the day-to-day operations of the ELRC, the Centre Manager will oversee the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (DNE) word-file digitization project and supervise the work of student researchers engaged in the project. The project's goal is to digitize the more than 100,000 word-files that went into the creation of the DNE and to make the data available to interested researchers. Digitization will also help to preserve the DNE's primary and secondary source records. Suzanne also helps manage the Memorial University Sociolinguistics Laboratory (MUSL) and is a graduate student in Linguistics with an avid interest in Newfoundland English.
The English Language Research Centre is a research partner in the large SSHRC Public Outreach Dissemination grant awarded in April 2011 to linguist Sandra Clarke, along with co-researcher and folklorist Philip Hiscock, both members of the ELRC Management Committee.
This one-year grant, valued at $161,612, will enable completion of the online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English (DANL) project, which documents the extensive regional variation in traditional speech varieties throughout the province, whether in terms of vocabulary, pronunciation features, or grammatical patterns. As such, DANL will constitute perhaps the first online regional dialect atlas in the English-speaking world which is grounded in actual recordings of speech. This atlas, however, will appeal not simply to scholars: using state-of-the-art digital technologies, DANL will make both legacy and current language materials easily accessible to a range of audiences, including K-12 and post-secondary students, interested members of the general public, and cultural and heritage groups.
The SSHRC grant will enable DANL to add a new interactive dimension, developed by Memorial's Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) division, in conjunction with Computing and Communications Webworks (ccwebworks). This will take the form of contributions from present-day residents of the province, whether in remote coastal communities or larger towns and cities. As a result, DANL will anchor twenty-first century regional speech varieties relative to those of over a century and a half ago, within a dynamic Web 2.0 format. In addition, the atlas will be made available not only on web platforms, but also via wireless devices such as smart phones.
Sandra Clarke, a member of ELRC's Management Committee, presented a paper on the online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English (DANL) project at the 14th International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, held at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario on August 2-6, 2011. For an abstract of her paper, click here.
Joan Sullivan, editor of the Newfoundland Quarterly, has announced on her blog that the magazine's fall issue will be "about language, and especially about the Dictionary of Newfoundland English". The publication will help to usher in the dictionary's 30th anniversary in 2012. Alongside the DNE, two of the ELRC's ongoing projects will also be featured in the journal: the DNE Word-file Digitization Project and the Online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English (DANL). NQ began publishing in 1901, making it the province's oldest magazine and the country's second oldest. It focuses on the arts, culture, history, industry, and people of Newfoundland and Labrador. We look forward to reading the fall issue of this wonderful publication!
Below is an excerpt from Many Cook's feature article about the ELRC's blog, Twig:
In the research materials for the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (DNE), the word twig has two senses: the first is "a small drink" and the second is "to catch the meaning." The first sense appears in the dictionary, but the second does not – the editors considered it too widespread for inclusion. It is the latter sense of the word that Jenny Higgins, manager of the English Language Research Centre (ELRC) at Memorial, has adopted as the name of the blog she created as a corollary to her work digitizing the DNE's supporting word-files.
ELRC Management Committe member Dr. Jeff Webb delivered a paper titled "The Writing of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, 1954-82" to the biennial meeting of the Dictionary Society of North America at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec on 11 June 2011. Webb's talk highlighted the methodologies used by the authors in compiling and editing the DNE, and the social context within which the dictionary originated and was written. He also discussed the reception of the work and its role in raising an awareness of the value of oral culture.
The audience of more than 60 people included lexicographers and dictionary scholars from many countries, many of whom expressed their interest in both the history of the DNE and the ongoing work of the ELRC. Webb's attendance prompted many helpful contacts with international scholars, which he hopes to follow up upon in his ongoing research into the scholarship on Newfoundland language.
Work on the DNE Digitization Project progressed nicely this term, thanks to the efforts of our graduate and undergraduate student research assistants. Working in the ELRC this term were: Brent Augustus, Manjot Gill, Melanie Hurley, Rebecca Kalombo, Alison McEvoy, Nicole Penney, Renee Sanson, and Lisa Wilson. Thanks to them, and to the students who have worked here in previous semesters, we have now digitized almost half of the approximately 100,000 word-files in the DNE Collection. Of the collection's 75 word-file drawers, 30 have been completely digitized and 10 more are underway. A ninth student attached to the ELRC this term was Meaghan Malone, who did fabulous work for DANL: The Online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English. We would like to thank all of our students for a job well done!
Regional Language Studies...Newfoundland (RLS) released its 22nd issue today. The journal publishes articles, research notes, and bibliographies relating to all aspects of language in Newfoundland and Labrador; it also examines regional place and family names. RLS is edited by Dr. William Kirwin, Secretary of the ELRC. The latest issue features articles by Robert Cuff; Jennifer Thorburn, PhD candidate in Memorial’s Department of Linguists; and William Kirwin. Back issues of the journal can be found on the Digital Archives Initiative. Anyone wishing to obtain a copy of the recent issue is encouraged to contact the ELRC.
History professor and ELRC Management Committee member Dr. Jeff Webb gave a public talk on the history of the DNE today. His lecture, entitled "A Distinguishing Feature of the English Department: The Writing of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English" drew upon Dr. Webb's current research into the study of language and culture at Memorial University between the 1950s and 1980s. The lecture attracted a large audience, which reflects the considerable interest that people here still have in the DNE, 29 years after its initial publication.