I always think I have a handle on my Newfoundland dialect when Iâ€™m talking to Come From Aways, but every now and then a phrase or expression intrudes my conversation without me even realizing it. Iâ€™m always stunned to find people confused and scratching their heads after Iâ€™ve expelled a perfectly logical explanation.
Some things makes so much sense to me, and yet for someone whoâ€™s studied English all her life, their nonsensical composition should be obvious.
Letâ€™s take this video clip featuring the handsome Mr. Allan Hawco (Jake Doyle from Republic of Doyle):
Then thereâ€™s â€œblocked,â€ as in â€œThe bar was BLOCKED!â€ meaning â€œThe bar was packed with people!â€
I first said this while driving across the country with Cailin. She nearly pulled over the car, and we argued until we were blue in the face.
â€œBut â€˜blockedâ€™ implies there was something barring the way, like a physical object blocking the route,â€ Cailin argued.
â€œIT WAS SO PACKED WITH PEOPLE THAT THE ENTRANCE WAS BLOCKED!â€ I screamed. She might have punched me. Sheâ€™s abusive like that.
Another example from the drive, although we might have both been on the edge of delirium: There was a Styrofoam box underneath my feet, and when I stepped on it, it made a weird creaking noise. Cailin asked, â€œWhat was that?â€ I responded with, â€œOh, I squat the box,â€ meaning I squished it with my feet.
I can understand the confusion that comes with this one, for the expression has become so entrenched in Newfoundland vocabulary that most Newfoundlanders donâ€™t even think about it (except now I do, all the freaking time).
Newfoundlanders do not use â€œsquish.â€ â€œSquatâ€ is not a hovering-over-the-latrine verb, it means â€œto crush.â€
And finally, the latest. Last week, as I walked back to the kitchen table with a handful of mail, I flicked through the envelopes impatiently looking for a pay cheque among all the bills. I threw the stack on the table angrily and yelled, â€œIâ€™M DROVE OFF THE HEAD!â€
My roommate was stunned. â€œWhat does that even mean?â€
Furious. Absolutely freaking furious. Iâ€™m so mad, my head just came off. Thatâ€™s it. Nostrils flared, steam flying from my ears and my freckled face turning the colour of a tomato. Drove. Off. The. Head.
Here’s one just for fun: “Clits” can be used to refer to tangles in someone’s hair. “My hair is all clitty!” I’m not even kidding.