I’d come from a long way away. I’m not from Newfoundland and more’s the pity, to me at last. I’m a “come from away.” That is the gentle term Newfoundlanders use to describe visitors or people who have moved from a different part of this province or another country to this new one. Come from away? Well, yes I have.
To a come-from-away, the Newfoundland language is unique to itself. It is a lingual stew comprised of English and Irish with a hell of a lot of salt water thrown in for seasoning. When you hear it, and it’s not spoken like Jimmy from a previous post, it has a lilt and a rolling cadence. The Dictionary of Newfoundland English (yes b’y! ) is a nearly 800 page book with all you need to know. Unlike Madonna, I don’t advocate you starting to use a Newfoundland accent. That’s just silly.
Being that big and that thick makes it just a wee bit unwieldy to carry around to use as a handy pocket travelers guide (it’s more like a door stop!) to speaking the language. But it is a start. The language spoken in Newfoundland is English, but filled with unique and often funny colloquialisms.
“Touch da beer cap b’y!” translates to “You’re quite the cheapskate!” Succinct and right to the point.
“What’s your name” comes as “Who’s you buddy?” Please, do not under any circumstance confuse this with “Who’s your daddy?” Really.
If your car breaks down and you call for help, you would probably hear a response along the lines of “Stay there and I’ll be right over”. Translated it becomes the wonderful “Stay where’s yer at ’til I comes where yer to.”
If you are in a courting mood with a Newfoundland lass, you would probably say something like “Missus, what’ye at?” All of these done in a Newfoundland accent of course. Please, don’t try this in NYC.
“Buddy, you don’t know n’one who don’t want nuttin done, d’ya?” is the plaintive plea for work. Put that on your resume!
And the all purpose “Yes b’y” has many meanings. It can mean something as simple as “Right?” It can also be used to express emotions of agreement, acknowledgement, disbelief, amazement, shock, dismay, ridicule, impatience, happiness, endearment, and just as a lingual lubricant. But there are places where one should probably not use it as in: “Thank you, I’d love another serving of the pecan-encrusted pork tenderloins, b’y” – nah, that’s wrong on so many levels. If used within the context of Newfoundland English, it’s OK. Just the same, they’ll know you’re a come from away. Don’t try and fake it. You won’t get away with it.
So, I am a “come from away.” Yes b’y!
- Newfoundlanders do not get ‘disorientated’ (fawny.org)