While in Mexico, the New York ladies were practically giddy when I added “eh?” to the end of a sentence, but they said I had no trace of a Canadian accent. They also didn’t pick up on my Newfoundland accent, leaving me to conclude I’m like a travel chameleon and can suppress my small-town ways to mimic the more civilized folk. And then I slammed three margaritas at breakfast and passed out in the hot tub.
I don’t have an accent? Oh, buddy. You haven’t heard me talking to my family.
The Newfoundland dialect is fun and light-hearted, like the Irish lilt. We’re enthusiastic story-tellers and big on exaggeration…in case you haven’t noticed. (I can practically feel the “small-town folk” just stewing.)
In many ways, I don’t really have an accent, and it’s generally being phased out across the island as Newfoundland becomes more accessible. While home for Christmas, I went visiting some of my older relatives and found myself often being unable to keep up with the conversation. Not kidding. I laughed my face off while my uncle wrapped up an epic childhood story about how his pet goat got so cold one winter night he wound himself around his tether, froze his head to the pole, and then my very young uncle accidently killed him when he poured scalding hot water on his face. I stopped laughing to realize, “Whoa, that’s actually incredibly sad.” It’s the story-telling gift, I tell you.
(Don’t judge my uncle. He was 5.)
But I digress. Here are some of my favourite expressions and words for your practicing pleasure.
Arn - Meaning “any.” To inquire about availability of potatoes, you’d ask, “Got arn potato?”
Narn – “Meaning “none.” In response to “Got arn potato?” You’d say “Narn.”
I, however, prefer to omit unnecessary words when possible.
Another favourite is ending sentences with prepositions, like “to.” This leads to my all-time favourite expression when telling someone to wait for me:
Now da once - Meaning “soon.” I probably use this one most often: “I’ll be there now da once.”
Sometimes I combine the previous two: “Stay where you’re at, and I’ll come where you’re to. Now da once.”
And finally, a more modern expression taken up by the masses (especially St. John’s folk): “best kind,” meaning “awesome.” You can use it to refer to someone, i.e. “He’s best kind!” Or you can just use it as a general expression of happiness: “Best kind, sure!” Finally, you can whittle it down to appeal to the text-generation: “BK.”