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HUMANITIES 50} critic appears to believe in a surrender to language that embodies as perfectly as possible a man's or woman's ongoing participation in the world's creation. Since I myself once wrote (in 1964) about A.M. Klein's work that 'Man collaborates in God's continuous creation: I cannot take issue with the last non-sentence of Bowering's concluding essay on the work of another poet of substantial achievement, David McFadden: 'Not imitators but constant creators of the world.' Imitation (except of Christ become suffering man) is not material. It is participation in the process of the world that Bowering commends in those poets he admires. (TOM MARSHALL) G.M. Story, W.j. Kirwin, j.D.A. Widdowson, editors. Dictionary of Newfoundland English University of Toronto Press. lxxviii, 626. $45.00 The present editors began work on the Dictionary of Newfoundland English more than twenty years ago, and, given the uncertainties surrounding all lexica-graphical enterprises, they deserve great credit for bringing it to completion. The volume now before me is handsomely printed and jacketed; its entries are clear and easy to use. The Dictionary of Newfoundland English is a considerable contribution to the study of regional English in North America and to the transplanting of English dialects on this continent. It takes its place beside the Dictionary of Canadianisms (1967), A Dictionary of Americanisms (1951), and will be joined shortly, we hope, by the Dictionanj of American Regional English. In the introduction, written in elegant and often sprightly prose, the editors address themselves first to the scope of their project and the question of what 'Newfoundland English' is. Following the lead of the late Walter Avis in the Dictionary of Canadianisms, they approach their subject with circumspection. 'Rather than attempting to define a "Newfoundlandism ", our guiding principles in collecting have been to look for words which appear to have entered the language in Newfoundland or to have been recorded first, or solely, in books about Newfoundland; words which are characteristically Newfoundland by having continued in use here after they died out or declined elsewhere, or by having acquired a different form or developed a different meaning, or by having a distinctly higher or more general degree of use' (p xii). If we weren't convinced already of the difficulty of the problem through the complexity of this formulation, the editors' closing words on the subject do the trick: 'Our judgment of the proper scope of this Dictionary will not command assent in every detail. But each decision has been made on the basis of all the evidence available to us: on our very large accumulation of field 504 LEITERS IN CANAOA 1982 data, and on the reading and experience of the editors. Whatever the debate engaged in during the process of editorial selection, the decisions have all, in the end, been made with unanimity' (p XIV). In the second part of the introduction, the editors trace the development of Newfoundland English from its West-country and Irish origins , and conclude, a little surprisingly, that there is less lexical variation and perhaps less variety of pronunciation in Newfoundland English than was supposed. They give us a resume of the chief grammatical features of Newfoundland folk-speech, and conclude with some choice remarks on cultivated Newfoundland English. The sources for the dictionary are described in detail and then listed in a massive bibliography. They include printed books, from the accounts of the voyages of the Cabots themselves down to Ray Guy's Beneficial Vapors of 1981, historical manuscripts, field records and transcripts from the Folklore and Language Archive at the Memorial University of Newfoundland . The pie graph on p xxvi shows the percentages of the various sources; spoken evidence bulks nearly as large as written. 'Nothing less: say the editors, 'would suffice in a work of this kind undertaken in a region in which the local tradition of print is late and relatively weak, but which displays a tenacious and robust oral culture' (p xxvi). After some brief notes on pronunciation and phonetics, we come to the section on the presentation of the dictionary articles. This deserves close attention. For me the part of greatest interest...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 503-504
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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