A delightful dictionary for Canadian English

From the New Yorker: A Delightful Dictionary for Canadian English.

A new musical opened on Broadway last week, “Come from Away,” about Gander, a small town in Newfoundland that rallied to care for some seven thousand travellers stuck there after their planes were grounded in the aftermath of 9/11. The play celebrates a variety of Canadian habits and customs, of which seemingly compulsive niceness is the main focus. But it also incorporates a wide range of vocabulary specific to Newfoundland or Canada in general, starting with the play’s odd title, a term used in the Atlantic provinces to refer to an outsider.

You won’t find “come from away” or “screech-in”—a mock ceremony depicted in the musical that confers Newfoundland “citizenship,” featuring extreme drunkenness and the osculation of a raw cod—in the Oxford English Dictionary. But the scholarly and scrappy second edition of the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (D.C.H.P.-2), released online last week, includes these and many more examples, common and obscure, of Canadian English. [continue]

And here it is: the Second Edition of
A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles

I checked to make sure that buttertart and matrimonial cake are included. They are, so it must be ok. 🙂

7 thoughts on “A delightful dictionary for Canadian English

  1. I’m constantly sending Mirabilis’s articles to my Kobo, Peter. I find I can then read through a group of articles while travelling or whenever I have some time with my ereader nearby. Read later services like Instapaper and Pocket are also wonderful ways to collect articles to read at your leisure. Using these services, it is possible to create a personalised ‘magazine’ of sorts. I’d be interested to hear more about your online reading ‘workflow’ Mirabilis, if you have a moment to share the processes you use.

    This particular article was fascinating. I like the “scrappy” and slightly ‘organic’ nature of the way the dictionary has been compiled. While I’ve never been to Canada and so am largely unfamiliar with Canadian slang and dialect, the discussion of dictionaries and lexicography piqued my attention.

    • I’d be interested to hear more about your online reading ‘workflow’ Mirabilis, if you have a moment to share the processes you use.

      I make extensive use of RSS feeds for all the subjects I follow. That is almost always how I find interesting things to read, and sometimes I am inspired to blog about one or more of the things I find. I could post thirty or forty things a day, most days – there is plenty of fascinating stuff about! But alas, nobody pays me to blog, and I’ve got a lot of stuff to get done each day.

      When I find something I feel like posting, I bop into WordPress and do that. Or, if it’s a longer thing, I will compose and edit my post in a text editor, then copy it from there into WordPress. I have a plugin that automagically publishes my posts to Diaspora, unless I tell it not to.

      The blog emails me when somebody posts a comment. That’s handy, especially if I’ve drifted into a busy and distracted state, or somehow gotten out of the habit of blogging. The ‘here’s a comment’ email message cannot be ignored, so that lures me back into the blog. And then I usually post something else. 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I’m also an RSS feed addict and use a swipe right on my device to send longer form articles to Instapaper.

    I really must look into Diaspora. It sounds like a social network I might actually like!

    • I’m not much of a social network person, but I do enjoy Diaspora. The key there, I think, is to learn how to block the content you don’t want, and how to cause the content you do want to appear on your screen. After that it’s all pretty cool.

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