I dies at you…

“I dies at you” — Well I suppose I could have said “kjds devtvtwrv reqfrg” or something similar and then some rube’ish soul might suggest that the latter means the same as the former, but thanks to my wonderful students from another Canadian island, I have learned that these words is real.  Yes, for example I must learn to say “stay where you’re to and I’ll come where you’re at”. Hmmm.

You see, on my island in the Pacific we have been left with the vestiges of 19th century workingman’s English as well as a twinge of some form of pretentious English that has hung on for generations even though there hasn’t been an Englishman in the family for 5 generations. Yet amazingly, 97.6% of our friends from the “1/2 hour ahead” region in Canada claim their mother tongue to be something called “Newfoundland English”. This is so very cool.

I am teaching in an online program where at the start of the program students attend a 2-week on-campus residency. This past Friday evening my students had a pub night in town and I was invited. My students are from the far reaches of this country. Some teach offshore in exciting places and some speak the Queen’s English quite different from ways I understand it. But… this is the fun part. Yes there is a version of the English language (or dialect – you pick) spoken in Canada (other than 15th century French) that is unique. Check it out – there is a Wikipedia page.

Put together 14 adults on a university campus for 2 weeks and after a long academic week it was so much fun to be a part of the dialect shenanigans. It was grand fun and I only wish I could have been able to correctly adapted to the linguistic challenges that a noisy bar and energetic young, eager students seem to embrace as though it was their second nature.

Besides learning to appreciate (and have fun) with the language it was a treat to be a part of student, after-class dynamics. The energy was electric and although I do have a vague memory of such social events in my past, it helped remind me that it is events such as these that help to bind and bond us as we head on new adventures. In education we speak often about “community” and we talk about all sorts of ways of building communities both face-to-face as well as online. There are gimmicks and strained activities forced upon our students however at the end of the day it is these wonderful social affairs that serve to help us find our place.

I see a great community of learners and although I have focused on a few who have worked hard to welcome me into their linguistic world, I am very fortunate to be a part of a wonderful community of supportive and supporting learners who are getting ready to launch into a 2-year academic journey. Lessons learned and then some.

One comment

  1. Hi Stu! I loved reading this. I am immersed in the “Newfenese” language all year long and I sometimes forget about the accent. Next time we meet, I will teach you some Quebecois 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *