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LINGUIST List 24.4561

Fri Nov 15 2013

FYI: Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador

Editor for this issue: Uliana Kazagasheva <ulianalinguistlist.org>

Date: 15-Nov-2013
From: Suzanne Power <dialectatlasmun.ca>
Subject: Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador
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Newfoundland English is known for its conservative nature, as well as its considerable regional and social variation. The English Language Research Centre of Memorial University of Newfoundland announces the launch of its new interactive online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador, available at the following website address:


This Atlas documents the regional – and to a lesser extent, social – distribution of many of the chief features of the traditional varieties of Newfoundland and Labrador, drawn from speakers born as early as 1871. It contains information on 31 phonetic features (e.g. initial /h/ deletion and insertion, variants of postvocalic /l/, fricative voicing, TH-stopping), all of which are fully illustrated with audio clips from original fieldwork conducted in the 1960s and 1970s. It also documents the regional distribution of 27 morphosyntactic features (e.g. Pronoun Exchange, was/were variation, past and perfect forms of verbs), along with thousands of lexical variants deriving from a 566-item questionnaire administered in the early 1980s to c. 120 conservative rural speakers representing all areas of the province.

The online Dialect Atlas should prove of interest to researchers in the fields of English (particularly southwest English) and Irish regional varieties, roots of non-standard transatlantic varieties, earlier English, and variationist linguistics, as well as academics in other fields. With permission, researchers will eventually be able to access the databases from which the Atlas has been constructed.

The Atlas is not simply directed at an academic audience, however. Funded chiefly by a Public Outreach Dissemination Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), it is also intended for the general public, including students, educators and heritage groups. Written in accessible language, it contains information sections on each phonetic (‘pronunciation’) and morphosyntactic (‘grammatical’) feature; technical linguistic terms are provided rollover definitions. The Atlas also contains an Activity section consisting of games designed to familiarize site visitors with local pronunciation, grammar and lexicon. Interactivity is encouraged through submission of contributions and comments.

For more information, check out the Atlas promotional video at:


Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation; Lexicography; Phonetics; Phonology; Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

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