DANL (The Online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English)
Sandra Clarke (Linguistics); Philip Hiscock (Folklore); Robert
Hollett (English); Alvin Simms (Geography)
Chris Boyce (GIS specialist and web designer)
While the unique lexicon of Newfoundland and Labrador is captured
in the Dictionary
of Newfoundland English
, information on the regional
distribution of its linguistic features is largely lacking. The aim
of the DANL project is to document the spatial distribution of
traditional features of lexicon, phonology and morphology within
the province, in the form of an online interactive dialect atlas
accessible to both scholars and the general public.
DANL will map data originally assembled under the direction of
linguist Harold Paddock, based on interviews and conversations
tape-recorded with conservative older rural speakers from c. 1960
to 1982. Its phonetic/morphosyntactic component yields information
on the distribution of 65 features in 72 coastal Newfoundland
communities; its lexical component documents responses to a
566-item questionnaire from 126 speakers in 21 representative
communities throughout the province.
Phase I of the project, the extraction of data from the taped
corpus and its integration into a relational database, is complete.
Phase II – the application of a GIS program, AspMap, to
enable web display of features in the form of maps, tables and
graphs – is ongoing. A final phase will enable the
incorporation of data from other NL sources, as well as from online
users, along with audio segments illustrating pronunciation
features. Patterns of spatial distribution revealed by Phase II
yield insights not only into patterns of linguistic diffusion
within Newfoundland and Labrador, but also into the
province’s settlement history, and the degree of contact
among regional populations.
DANL will join the small number of existing web-based linguistic
resources that document the geographical distribution of words,
pronunciations and grammatical forms in the English-speaking world.
Its production has been facilitated by financial support from the
J.R. Smallwood Foundation for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, as
well as Memorial’s Institute of Social and Economic Research