Some of the stuff I say in Leaf’s Beefs offends me sometimes, but I can fuck right off, my opinion doesn't matter.
August 25, 2012 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Heh, I was about to come in to complain about how it's called "speak like a Maritimer" when a bunch of Newfoundland expressions are in there; but that's covered in the second link.

This floated around all my my East Coast friends a few weeks ago. It's pretty accurate. And hilarious.
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:02 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm skeptical that either "big whoop" or "same difference" originated in the Maritimes--but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.
posted by yoink at 2:07 PM on August 25, 2012

Why look'st thou so?" — With my cross-bow
I shot the Albatross.
What?!?! Oh you said Maritimer NOT Mariner. Never mind, my bad.
posted by Fizz at 2:08 PM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

What'd red dirt?
posted by Diablevert at 2:13 PM on August 25, 2012

A lot of these are identical to, or very similar to Maine phrases. I have relatives that say dooryard. I've never heard "right out sideways," but I have heard "right out straight." Saying some or right seems natural to me. You can't just say wicked all the fucking time. Fuck is common in Maine too. So is using she instead of it. And the County? In Maine that's Aroostook County, across the border from Carleton County.
posted by ifandonlyif at 2:29 PM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hark! A Vagrant on Newfoundland English.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:34 PM on August 25, 2012 [6 favorites]

Related: The Prince Edward Island Encyclopedia on Salutations, Intelligence, Fighting.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:39 PM on August 25, 2012

The music of Stompin' Tom Connors can also help. But I'm not sure what the "ring-dang-do" received by P.E.I. Sue might be!
posted by texorama at 2:40 PM on August 25, 2012

You can't just say wicked all the fucking time.
posted by ifandonlyif at 4:29 PM on August 25

I picked up saying wicked when I lived in New Hampshire. It's useful but not anywheres near as useful as right and some, I agree. Although apparently civilized people say stuff like very and extremely but what do they know.

I also picked up saying, "Right?!" as its own sentence when I was agreeing with people, from people from New Hampshire—I've since heard people saying it at home (Halifax) but don't recall ever hearing it when I lived there.

(On preview, Homeboy Trouble, I love that comic so much. "Oh he's a corker on the box" never fails to make me laugh.)
posted by joannemerriam at 2:40 PM on August 25, 2012

Isn't following Vice's advice on anything generally a good way to get a punching?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:40 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

ifandonlyif: I have relatives that say dooryard. I've never heard "right out sideways," but I have heard "right out straight." Saying some or right seems natural to me. You can't just say wicked all the fucking time. Fuck is common in Maine too. So is using she instead of it.

I'm sure there are plenty of similarities, but there are definite differences too. My grandfather calls your part of the world "The Boston states" for example, and everyone knows exactly what he means.
posted by peppermind at 2:41 PM on August 25, 2012

First off, Newfoundlanders are from Atlantic Canada, not the Maritimes. We in the Maritimes live "by" the sea. They live square in the middle of the fucking ocean, basically the edge of planet Earth.

posted by Space Coyote at 2:43 PM on August 25, 2012

Well, since Vice was founded on governmet grants for out-of-work fisherman, I guess they might have some credibility on this.
posted by docgonzo at 2:48 PM on August 25, 2012

Yes, definitely differences. I was just surprised by how familiar some of these are given that when I've been to the Maritimes I didn't hear as many similarities.
posted by ifandonlyif at 2:52 PM on August 25, 2012

Vice is Canadian no? They might all be living in Brooklyn now but isn't Shane Smith pretty much one of the trailer park boys?
posted by Ad hominem at 2:53 PM on August 25, 2012

Vice was born in Canada, yes - Montreal, to be precise. It was briefly co-owned by the same parent as Shift (where I started my journalism career). The parent company was established by Richard Szalinski, who'd made millions on the sale of the software company Discreet Logic. The media company was first called Behaviour and then briefly Normal Networks until a late, sloppy dotcom play sunk it all. By many reports, Szalinski was some crooked, b'y. 

There's a great legend about the Vice boys chasing Szalinski down to some hideout in Nantucket or something and forcing him to sell them Vice for a buck. Not sure how much is true and how much legend. 
posted by gompa at 3:16 PM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

The term is "store boughten".
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:18 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

My grandfather calls your part of the world "The Boston states" for example

heh - that's what a lot of people told me in cape breton during the 70s - "ah, you're from the boston states"

very confusing when you're from michigan
posted by pyramid termite at 3:32 PM on August 25, 2012

Hmm, I'll have to ask Pop about that one. I always thought it meant New England only.

At any rate, Newfoundland English is a beast unto itself, with it's own (very large) dictionary. Everyone I know on the mainland is bewildered by the so-called "after tense."
posted by peppermind at 3:44 PM on August 25, 2012

You know, a lot of that migrates out into Ontario. I have had the "is it 4 beers or 4 beer?" conversation many a time. And there is also a lot of "right"-as-adverb going on there too. But really, does "as fuck" count as a regionalism?

So, I went to Guy's Frenchys website to discover what the hell Guy's Fenchys is. Turns out it's a regional used clothing store chain. I went to the "about us" section, and to the FAQ, expecting somewhere to see "so where did the name mean?" and the closest I got was the second to last question:

Is Guy's Frenchys different than other "Frenchys" and used clothing stores?

Am I to understand then, that in the maritimes, "Frenchys" are used clothes? Because that is just wow.
posted by molecicco at 3:52 PM on August 25, 2012

There used to be a chain of used clothes stores called Frenchy's out east. I've never heard it used generically, but given the context, I'd assume the term comes from the chain, not a francophone slur.
posted by peppermind at 4:13 PM on August 25, 2012

Hark! A Vagrant on Newfoundland English.

Yes, the nice Vikings who showed us around L'Ande aux Meadows a few years ago sounded exactly like that. Utterly fucking charming.
posted by maudlin at 4:15 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Am I to understand then, that in the maritimes, "Frenchys" are used clothes? Because that is just wow.
New Yorker article about Frenchy's

It seems that there was a split in the management a while back.
posted by SpannerX at 4:23 PM on August 25, 2012

Clarifying passage from SpannerX's link:
I took no notice when, because of a split in management, the Frenchy’s stores in our area began to be supplanted by similar but brighter stores, called Guy’s Frenchy’s—not, as innocent travellers might assume, a Frenchy’s for men’s clothing which had a misplaced apostrophe but a Frenchy’s named for an Acadian from Digby named Guy LeBlanc. Frenchy’s, which is what everyone I knew continued to call both Guy’s Frenchy’s and the original Frenchy’s, was not at the forefront of my mind.
To further clarify, I'm pretty sure all the remaining stores (all the ones I've seen anyway) are Guy's Frenchy's, and everyone does just call it Frenchy's, and if you do say the whole name, you say Guy to rhyme with pie (possibly because that's how you pronounce the Guy in Guysborough, NS). They still sell clothing in bins for a single price, though some items are now hung up on racks and I think they've now moved to sometimes pricing certain items higher if they merit it.

Every Frenchy's outlet remains an outstanding place to outfit a community theatre troupe mounting a play set in a workaday insurance office in the 1970s, though you could also dress a substantial army of Trailer Park Boys with all the shiny tracksuits and sleeveless tees available.

As far as I know, Frenchy's has never been a derogatory term for used clothes but is rather a throwback nickname, slightly demeaning but affectionate, for French Canadians. (If the stores were called Guy's Frogs, that would be a different story entirely.)
posted by gompa at 4:39 PM on August 25, 2012

I've been told I have a mouth like a sailor, but have never been accused of speaking like a Maritimer.
posted by hippybear at 5:32 PM on August 25, 2012

Richard Szalwiniski made his money in the first dot-com bubble with Softimage/Discreet Logic. He was a regular site in my local cafe in those days -- I saw him recently when I was back in Montreal on business. Dunno if he was "crooked" but I do know he used his own money to buy and rehabilitate the local grocery store in our neighbourhood.
posted by docgonzo at 5:52 PM on August 25, 2012

Speaking of Frenchy's...Couple ties the knot at Digby Frenchys.
posted by ghost dance beat at 6:26 PM on August 25, 2012

My partner is from the Maritimes and I'm from the Canadian Prairies, and the differences in our accents can be pretty funny. His has more vowel sounds than mine and so it is very funny that in my accent, the computer game is entitled Call of Doody; sometimes syllables kind of get elided out of words in his accent, so I am endlessly amused by his favourite genre of movies ("horr movies").

More Atlantic Canada awesome: If E.T. had been set in Newfoundland
posted by bewilderbeast at 7:59 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Any Maritimers say "shoot around the gip" when giving directions? Had a friend who would say this with a gesture to mean, turn around by going up ahead and turning around the block or around some obstacle at the end of the block.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:41 PM on August 25, 2012

I'm sure there are plenty of similarities, but there are definite differences too. My grandfather calls your part of the world "The Boston states" for example, and everyone knows exactly what he means.

I just spent a couple of weeks in Nova Scotia, a right amount of it in Cape Breton, so while the accent and the expressions seem to me a bit exaggerated in the links here, they're not too far off. The endless talking because there's not much else to do, definitely. The accents are a bit different than the Maine ones, though I can see how they shade into each other. (There is an aspect of it, though, that reminds me of the Baltimore, Maryland area accent (Ballmer, Merlan…); they both may stem from a common archaic English dialect. One of my cousins whom I visited in CB (summer residents) is from Baltimore, and I noticed a bit more this time some occasional similarities between her accent and speech patterns and the locals'.)

But while there are certainly differences in accents and expressions across the international border, on the other hand, much else feels the same on either side. I spent a fair amount of my life living around New England, and when I first visited the Maritimes a few years ago, I was struck by how familiar it seemed. My mom's family is from Massachusetts and New Brunswick, and the latter branch, United Empire Loyalists from St. John, moved down to the Boston area for work when my grandmother was young, and I imagine it was a fairly easy transition for them. When I visited St. John for the first time (a gritty, unappealing city, although the Bay of Fundy shoreline villages east and west of it are lovely), it made me think of nothing so much as Fall River or other grimy Massachusetts or Rhode Island mill towns whose boom days are long past. The street kids hanging out there, or in Halifax or Moncton or Charlottetown or Sydney, seemed much like the ones I'd known in New England, as did the older folks I encountered.

A good case can be made for the "Boston" states and the Maritimes, and even Newfoundland & Labrador as well, comprising a larger cultural aggregate that we could call, well, New England (or New Britain, accounting for the heavily Celtic element, if that didn't already connote a city in Connecticut or an island in Melanesia. btw, the Scottish angle in CB is sometimes amusingly overdone, as in the "Keltic Whale Watching" tours.) The journalist Joel Garreau, in his book The Nine Nations of North America, does just that. Among other overarching cultural common denominators amidst the subregional differences he cites: "…when the Sox boot another one to the Yankees, you can hear the curses all over Halifax." They certainly don't root for the Blue Jays. (When I was in Halifax I noticed that the local cable feed has several Boston stations on it.) It all depends on whether you choose to focus on the similarities or the differences.
posted by Philofacts at 11:20 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Philofacts: Glad you had a fine time in NS, and in the spirit of Maritime hospitality (Antigonish County the way back to the early 1800s on my mother's side), I'll offer a few clarifications.

First, the Cape Breton accent isn't derived from some archaic English dialect; it's the remnants of a highland Scottish accent, tinged with Gaelic. Much of northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton was settled by Catholic highlanders displaced by the Highland Clearances (culturally distinct from the protestant Scots-Irish who settled Appalachia and parts of New England and sworn enemies of the ancestors of United Empire Loyalists). All the way into the '50s there were still fluent Gaelic speakers in rural Nova Scotia - I had great uncles who could speak it. There's definitely a long tradition of chain migration and intermarriage with the New England states - like many Nova Scotia families, mine had a couple of Boston-based great aunts, and I have cousins all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire - but Nova Scotia, particularly the northern end of it, is its own distinct regional culture.

The Celtic thing does get overplayed by Cape Breton's tourist industry, but it's as legit a claim as any outside Scotland itself. You can still today go into rural church halls and see square dances virtually unchanged since the 1800s; the Scottish in Scotland largely abandoned the fiddle for accordions and other modern instruments this century, so Cape Breton's considered the last bastion of authentic highland jigs and reels. (I once saw Ashley MacIsaac perform at one of these church socials; among the half-dozen most mesmerizing musical performances I've ever witnessed.)

In the case of Keltic Whale Watching, not sure where you were but this was almost certainly a reference to Keltic Lodge in Ingonish - the oldest and grandest hotel in Cape Breton. This'd be akin to calling your operation "Ritzy Whale Watching."

And finally, while it may have once been true that the Red Sox were the home team of the Maritimes, those days are long gone. Boston's still most people's second favourite club, but there are plenty of Blue Jays fans in Nova Scotia (starting with my grandfather, who bought a Jays cap as soon as Toronto got a franchise and wore it regularly till the day he died). And my baseball-obsessed Boston cousin gets ribbed mercilessly by his Nova Scotia relatives every time the Jays beat the Sox (which admittedly has been a rare occurence in recent years).

The cable feed phenomenon you witnessed isn't cultural affinity but a pan-Canadian broadcasting tradition - in Ontario we get Detroit and Rochester and Buffalo stations (Torontonians like to joke about how North Tonowanda appears to be perpetually on fire), in Calgary we get Spokane stations, etc.

As you move further south in Nova Scotia - Halifax, the Annapolis Valley, Yarmouth - the culture grows more and more Protestant, United Empire Loyalist and New England-like, but on the north end of the peninsula and in Cape Breton, it's a highland Scottish diaspora you're seeing.
posted by gompa at 5:59 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Hmm, perhaps the similarity in accents I noted is of Scots-Irish origin instead; I'd have to know more about the Chesapeake Bay region's immigration history. I thought the main area of Scots-Irish influence in the South was in the interior, in the Appalachians.

I should have commented on the distinctness of CB from the rest of NS; I do often think of it as a de facto separate Maritime province, but of course, yes, the Highlander diaspora isn't just there. I did know of the deep Scottish roots even before I first visited (I met Mary Jane Lamond, who, as you probably know, sings only in Gaelic, when she played San Francisco, and had first heard Ashley MacIsaac in a collaboration he did with her; yes, he's a monster player), and the first time I went to CB I got to hear an old woman do some fine fiddle playing and story-telling at the Octagon in Dingwall. (Sadly, it's closed now.) She spoke of a time when the highlanders' culture was suppressed by the English - the music was banned, for fear of its inflaming Scottish nationalism - and people kept it alive in their kitchens and parlours. I got invited to dinner that time, too, - yes, people are very hospitable there - and jammed with one of the guys there who played Celtic flute and pipes (the Uillean type that you don't blow into, which are Irish, of course, but he played Scottish tunes on them) and he told me, re the Celtic revival of the last couple of decades, that after the fifties, Gaelic speaking and Celtic music playing almost died out in CB, because "everyone wanted to be Elvis".

The Keltic Whale Watching was a sign by the Englishtown ferry, so, yes, probably the lodge in Ingonish, but I've seen many other whale watching outfits that play up the Scottish angle. (My favourite sign, for Fiddlin' Whale Tours in Pleasant Bay, featuring a very jolly looking cetacean playing a fiddle without benefit of opposable digits, is gone now, so I'm glad I got a pic of it.) And then of course there's the very kitschy, if authentic, Tartans & Treasures shop along the Cabot Trail with its sign, "If it's nae Scottish, it's crrr-appp!" (I did get some Stewart tchotchkes, as I'm part Scots-Irish, with that clan in my ancestry.)

I stand corrected on the Blue Jays re-alignment. More time there and I probably would have noticed it alongside the Red Sox caps and bumper stickers. Probably a good thing to get away from Sox masochism (note the recent player trade shenanigans and the gross mismanagement that led to them), though I'm not sure the Jays are an improvement.
posted by Philofacts at 7:20 AM on August 26, 2012

Newfie's going to move to the big city. Takes serious elocution course. Flying colours. Goes to Toronto to try it out.

NEWFIE: Good afternoon. May I have some tomatoes, and some potatoes, please?
CLERK: You're from Newfoundland, aren't you?
NEWFIE: Lord T'underin' Jesus, how'd you know that?
CLERK: This is a hardware store.
posted by Trochanter at 8:54 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

The accents are a bit different than the Maine ones, though I can see how they shade into each other.

They're very, very different. There's absolutely no mistaking one for the other. (Hint: Maritimers can pronounce the letter R.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:53 AM on August 26, 2012

The accents are a bit different than the Maine ones, though I can see how they shade into each other.

They're very, very different. There's absolutely no mistaking one for the other. (Hint: Maritimers can pronounce the letter R.)

Wish I had an audio file of my aunt Mary Elizabeth handy. Born and raised in Antigonish, NS, spent most of her adult life in southern New Hampshire, teaching primary school. Her accent is a marvelously baroque thing. When she says "shoes," there's an extra syllable and about five extra Os in it. Shyooooos.
posted by gompa at 10:42 AM on August 26, 2012

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