Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Big Thank-you to the Judges for our recent New Year's Resolution Contest

We'd like to thank the following people who so graciously and engagingly selected the winning entries in our recent New Year's Resolution Contest:

Anita Best

Born on Merasheen Island in Placentia Bay (since abandoned under the resettlement program), Best has worked as an educator, archivist, folklorist, broadcaster and singer. A particular interest in oral history - songs and stories passed down through generations - lead to her performing career. She has toured extensively as a storyteller and singer, made numerous television and radio appearances and added her voice to several Newfoundland recordings.

Anita Best is best known for two albums: The Colour of Amber , a collaboration with Pamela Morgan, was released in 1993. Crosshanded, a collection of twelve songs for solo voice, followed a few years later. In these recordings and in her performances, Best tends to forego the standard Newfoundland repertoire in favour of the lesser known songs and stories collected from around the province. (above biographical notes are from Memorial Unversity’s Newfoundland and Labrador’s Heritage Site)

Anita Best is also the voice of Mary Dalton’s poems on the Rattling Books recording of Merrybegot.

Tom Howell

Tom Howell is a radio broadcaster, multi-instrumentalist, sometimes back-up singer and ex-lexicographer who worked on the Canadian Oxford Dictionary for a few years. He is known as the Word Nerd from the recent national CBC Radio program And Sometimes Y hosted by Jane Farrow. Tom also works as a book editor and musician playing keyboards and strings in several Toronto bands. His preferred instruments are violin, piano, mandolin, and guitar.

According to one of his myspace pages Tom Howell is trying to kick his word-nerd image by being a cool musician but his Blog entries say things like "I dropped into the Tranzac room ('dropped into' in the colloquial sense that means much the same thing as 'walked in' or something like 'entered' or 'visited') on Friday to hear Ronley Teper's gig, and ..." His influences include Thelonius Monk and the Gaurdian Newspaper.

You can befriend Tom Howell as a Word Nerd or as a Musician on myspace.

Gerard Van Herk

Gerard Van Herk is the Canada Research Chair in Regional Language and Oral Text. Also a professor of linguistics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Van Herk's area of research interest is linguistic diversity in contemporary Newfoundland and Labrador. Apparently contemporary Newfoundland is an ideal "language laboratory” and a recent worldwide study chose traditional Newfoundland speech as the most distinct variety of English on the planet.

Much to the delight of Rattling Books Gerard Van Herk also has an Indie Record Label in his past. Before becoming a linguistics academic Gerard Van Herk, “along with his partner in “sludge-a-billy,” Tony Dewald, were the hepcats behind Deja Voodoo” a Montreal band of the 1980s associated with Og, their own independent label.


Contest Background

The Rattling Books New Year's Resolution Contest originated from the Rattling Books facebook group/game REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

REDEFiNE iT was inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Year's Resolution Contest Winning Entries

Here, for your reading pleasure and lexical edification, are the winning entries of the REDEFiNE iT New Year's Resolution Contest:

The Winner:

Andreae Prozesky

My merrybegot, who may be a moss-child, but who is surely no nuzzle-tripe, wakes herself at night with boo-darby dreams; I, from this snowy droke (which was, not long ago a grassy bawn), I, drung-dweller, city marler, resolve to shive these horrors from her (and to expose them as a yaffle of pishogue and foolishness); there's not much more I can do to toughen her up - though I'm no angashore, I'm leweredly with a waddock and would as soon find myself diving into the blue drop with the guds and bawks as getting up at five in the morning for hockey.

Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):

Don McKay

January 2nd and your head still feels like a waddock that's been bashed up and down the field by size thirteen spaugs, and no wonder, you're after being a slinger randying all Christmas, guzzling the screech and stuffing your gob, telling your old cuffers filled with all that pishogue, how you were forever grassing in the bawn like the rawny merrybegot you are, how you'd marl up the droke with a joke and a bottle and all the girls waiting to kiss you in the drung behind the church hall, way back when you were but a lewardly nuzzle tripe of a angishore before the blue drop got in your blood and you were out jiggering for cod with the bawks and guds whirling overhead, the gillies, turrs and tickleaces skimming the surface, the swiles sculling and diving, now here you are so hung over you can hardly stand to shive the goowiddy off your fousty face, yes my son, you say to the boo in the mirror, you've been a jeezly seeny-sawny long enough, it's time for a whole yaffle of resolutions, if only you could figure out where to start.

Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir

I promise and lewardly bawn to myself and my whole waddock of friends to yaffle, marl and bawk with more intensity and beauty in 2008 than ever before, in order to shive my angishore and crank up the nuzzle tripe of those around me, be it plainly in the blue drop, out on the drung or high up in the pishogue. This does not, of course, in any way gud my orderly mid-January droke, to stab the merrybegot though the heart with a sleek and slightly bent boo.

Kathleen Winter

By every gud and bawk marling over drung, bawn and blue drop, I resolve to shive four hours off the night and keep writing long past midnight, no matter what lewerdly boo wants to whisper pishogues in my ear or pelt me with guilty waddocks, this angishore is sick of early to bed and early to rise just because she's mothered a brood of merrybegot nuzzle-tripes wailing all day long at her that they're hungry and she's supposed to find a fish in the droke and fry it up for them when what she should be doing is getting her yaffle of stories ready for the next bloody Pulitzer.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Word of the Week (January 27-Feb 2): fairy squall

Word of the Week (January 27-Feb 2):

fairy squall

Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English :

fairy squall: a strong, sudden gust of wind on an otherwise calm day (C 64-4). 1968 DILLON 137 A fairy squall blows up kind o'sudden, but there's no lasting to it. M 71-42 He told me about a fairy squall, which consisted of a little whirlwind, and when these came around early fall the old people would say the fairies were dancing.

Now, we invite u to REDEFiNE iT! Or just RELiVE, REMEMBER or RENEW iT. The main thing is to RELISH iT.

N.B. Any Word of the Week receiving more than 10 posts will trigger a prize from Rattling Books for our favourite.

And the Winners of the New Year's Resolution Contest Are: !!


The Decisions have been made. Our Contest Judges have revealed our Contest Winners.

Grand Prize:

Andreae Prozesky

Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):

Don McKay

Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir

Kathleen Winter

The Winners were revealed on CBC Radio's Weekend Arts Magazine with a panel discussion between the judges Anita Best (the Queen of the unaccompanied Newfoundland ballad), Tom Howell (Word Nerd from And Sometimes Y) and Gerard Van Herk (Memorial University Linguist).

The New Year's Resolution Contest was sponsored by Rattling Books.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New Year's Resolution Contest Winners to be announced January 27 on CBC Radio

Winners of the New Year's Resolution Contest based on past Words of the Week from the facebook edition of REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English will be announced Sunday, January 27 on the Weekend Arts Magazine, CBC Radio.

Angela Antle, host of the CBC Radio program the Weekend Arts Magazine will speak with the three judges of REDEFiNE iT's recent New Year's Resolution Contest tomorrow morning around 8:40 AM Newfoundland time. They will announce the contest winners and chat about the English language as spoken in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Challenge issued to Contest participants was as follows:

In one sentence state a New Year's Resolution using all of the Words of the Week issued thus far by the facebook group REDEFiNE iT : Dictionary of Newfoundland English. Your statement must include your resolution but may also include an explanation of its motivation or any contingencies you anticipate in the application of your resolution.You may ply the words in the sense indicated by the Dictionary of Newfoundland English definitions of the words or one of the "redefinitions" of the words posted to this group. It's up to us to guess the meaning of your Resolution.

Here is the List of Words to include in your New Year's Resolution:

blue drop
nuzzle tripe


This contest is sponsored by Rattling Books.

Dictionary of Newfoundland English

The Dictionary of Newfoundland English is both an inspiration and a resource for this Blog. It may be browsed online or purchased online directly from the publisher (University of Toronto Press).

Dictionary of Newfoundland English: Second Edition with supplement Second edition with supplement
Edited by G.M. Story, W.J. Kirwin, and J.D.A. Widdowson
University of Toronto Press © 1998
847pp /1 map, 3 figures

Friday, January 25, 2008

Announcing a New Blog Site from Rattling Books: REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English

Welcome to REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English!

This Blog is an offshoot from a group/game of the same name that Rattling Books started on facebook. As there are still many sensible people who are not "on facebook" we thought we'd create a Blog Sister for the facebook group. This way we get to play with more people and more people get to play with REDEFiNE iT.

On this date we are approaching the end of a week in which the "Word of the Week" on the facebook edition of REDEFiNE iT has been "elt". Each week we will post a "Word of the Week" such as "elt" and provide you with the definition as found in the online edition of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English. We invite you to take a recycling approach to these words. Do as many of the following with the Word of the Week as you fancy:


We welcome all approaches: from those who would conserve to those who would remake. And we especially welcome your comments and stories about how you have known these words or would like to know them in the future.


This Blog is sponsored by Rattling Books, a Canadian audio publisher based in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is inspired in part by the collection of poems by Mary Dalton entitled Merrybegot which in turn was inspired by Newfoundland speech and the Dictionary of Newfoundland English. The unabridged audio edition of Merrybegot is given voice by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.