Handwriting Query

Here’s another handwriting query from the DNE files. The word we cannot decipher is right after the =. It may be an Inuit word meaning ‘ice hole’ but we can’t quite figure it out. We have figured out that it says:

ice hole = [indecipherable]


1 cite

OED (1853)

Word-file for 'ice'.  Reproduced by permission of the English Language Research Centre, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL.

Word-file for ‘ice’. Reproduced by permission of the English Language Research Centre, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL.

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First phase of digitization is complete!

©David Howells 2012Today marks the end of the first phase of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English Word-file Digitization Project. David Browne, one of this semester’s MUCEP students, digitized the very last card this morning. The last card digitized was for Tyfoy (Typhoid) fever, fitting since everyone and their dog seems to be sick these days in the long and hungry month of March.

The Digitization project was initiated in 2005 at the ELRC and we have worked very hard for the past decade to get to this point. This project has employed almost 100 students so far and we are extremely grateful for each and every one of our student research assistants who have grappled with the aging computer network, indecipherable handwriting, numerous protocol changes and much more.

We have already started the second phase of this project: verification of almost 100,000 digitized records using a newly developed protocol designed to bring all the records inline with each other. This second phase will take approximately 2 years to complete as long as our student support does not dwindle. We are also in the process of determining the most appropriate migration to a database format in order to make this unique and important collection available to scholars or interested parties.

Thanks especially to the great group of students currently working at the ELRC: David Browne, Sarah Budgell, Jordyn Hughes, Janet Kelly, Rebecca Nolan, and Cathy Wiseman.

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Happy 90th Birthday to Dr. William J. Kirwin!

Dr. William J. KirwinToday is the 90th birthday of DNE editor, Regional Language Studies…Newfoundland creator and long-time editor, brilliant scholar, colleague and gentleman Dr. William J. Kirwin.

There are few researchers who have shown the dedication and drive that Dr. Kirwin has shown throughout his life and his legacy is his work which celebrates linguistic diversity and cultural heritage. Dr. Kirwin currently resides at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home in St. John’s, NL for anyone who would like to visit him to deliver birthday or other good wishes in person. For more information, contact elrc@mun.ca.

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Happy Anniversary to the DNE!

On November 13, 2014, the DNE celebrated its 32nd anniversary. On that date, ELRC Centre Manager Suzanne Power was interviewed on CBC Radio’s Morning Show in both St. John’s and Central Newfoundland.

The DNE Word-file Digitization Project is moving along steadily and we are coming across more handwriting queries all the time. Here is one from the P withdrawn section for the term pot-hunter. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a pot-hunter is:

“A person who hunts game for food or monetary gain rather than for sport; a sportsman who shoots indiscriminately or with no regard for the rules.”

We are having difficulty picking out the first note from the OED. We have figured out:

[OED pot- [inc]ler]

What do you think this card says?

Word-file for ‘pot-hunter’. Reproduced by permission of the English Language Research Centre, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL.


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Handwriting queries in the DNE collection

Here it is folks! The first in our series of posts to help decipher handwriting in the word-file collection for the DNE. We came across this file just this morning in the S withdrawn files. What we have been able to decipher is typed below the card.

Word-file for ‘sealing station’. Reproduced by permission of the English Language Research Centre, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL.

“sealing station

Mainland writer using [indecipherable]




We thought that the indecipherable word might be ‘unknown’. What do you think?

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More Labrador in the Dictionary of Newfoundland English!

It has been quite a year here at the English Language Research Centre. Work has been progressing steadily on the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (DNE) Word-file Digitization Project; of the 72 drawers of word-files, we have 4 drawers in progress and then only two remaining to be digitized. There is still a lot of work to do in terms of editing all of the records with making sure they adhere to our digitization protocol but the end is in sight for the first phase of this major digitization effort. We are about to start a series on Twig dedicated to deciphering the handwriting on some of the DNE word-files. All of the files we have left are from the withdrawn portion of the collection and there is quite a lot of handwriting from the editors. We are hoping that Twig readers will be able to help us figure out some of the remaining queries, so stay tuned!

Continue reading

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New issue of Regional Language Studies (No. 25)

RLS 25006Regional Language Studies…Newfoundland was established by William J. Kirwin in 1968. This issue marks the 25th number of RLS and the English Language Research Centre wanted to do something special to celebrate. Though over the years RLS has featured a number of papers dealing with language in Labrador, it has never devoted a full issue to this region of the province.

With the publication of the Innu Language Project’s dictionaries in 2013 and the launch of the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador, the ELRC Management Committee decided to dedicate a special RLS issue to Labrador language studies. This issue contains papers about language in Labrador from Marianne Stopp (Parks Canada), Martha Macdonald (The Labrador Institute), Sandra Clarke (Linguistics), Suzanne Power (ELRC, Centre Manager), Marguerite MacKenzie and Laurel Anne Hasler (Linguistics/Innu Language Project) and Jenna Edwards (Linguistics).

RLS is now available online through Open Journal Systems. To view the current issue, click here or paste the following link in your browser: http://journals.library.mun.ca/ojs/index.php/RLS/issue/current

RLS is still available in hard copy. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please send your address and request to elrc@mun.ca

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