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Twacking around Duckish (minicast)

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Time for another linguistic mystery. Where would you be if you decided to go twacking around duckish, and then you came home and wrote about it in a scribbler?

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If you’re going twacking around duckish, you’re likely in Newfoundland. The type of English spoken there may be the most distinctive collection of dialects in Canada. Some of it sounds a lot like Irish-accented English. Other dialects in Newfoundland have echoes of the speech of immigrants from the West Country of England.

Visit Newfoundland, and you’ll be greeted by some colorful vocabulary. The verb to twack means “to go shopping and ask about the prices, but then not buy anything.” I guess that’s the Newfie version of “window shopping.” Duckish means “dusk” or “twilight.” And a scribbler is a “notebook.”

If you want to hear some terrific examples of Newfoundland English, check out the International Dialects of English Archive.

Here’s another online treat for word lovers: the Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

Start rummaging around on this lovely site, and you’ll discover a yaffle—that means an armful—of great words, like dumbledore. That’s right, spelled just like the Harry Potter character. In Newfoundland, a dumbledore is a “bumblebee.”

We’d love to know what regionalisms have caught your ear lately. Send them along to words@waywordradio.org.

As they say in Newfoundland, we’d be wonderful happy to hear from you.

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