Some NL, Canada Unique Sayings

Newfoundland English, also known as Newfinese or Newfie, is a dialect of English spoken in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has its own unique vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar influenced by Irish, Scottish, and West Country English dialects, as well as the local Newfoundland and Labrador culture.

No matter where I go in Canada, as soon as I open my mouth everyone knows I am from Newfoundland and Labrador. I spent 22 years living in Ontario and while I learned to stop calling everyone by endearments in my career, I never totally lost my accent. Since coming back, my accent has gotten stronger.

Yes, I had to learn to stop calling co-workers and Tenants “Darlin” “sweetheart” and “ducky” when they came to see me and it took a couple of years to stop it altogether.

Here are some examples of Newfoundland English phrases and words:

  • “What’s da scuff?” – What’s happening? What’s going on?
  • “Stay where you’re to” – Stay where you are; don’t move.
  • “Yes b’y” – Yes, boy. It’s a common expression of agreement or affirmation.
  • “Give ‘er” – Go ahead, do it, give it your all.
  • “Luh” – A term of endearment used to address someone, similar to “love” or “dear.”
  • “I’se” – I am. Example: “I’se going to the store.”
  • “Scoff” – Food or a meal. Example: “I’m hungry; let’s get some scoff.”
  • “Mummering” – A tradition where people disguise themselves and visit neighbours during the Christmas season.
  • “Touton” – A traditional Newfoundland doughy bread.
  • “Newfie steak” – Bologna or fried baloney, a common food item in Newfoundland.
  • By” or “b’y” – A term used to refer to a person, similar to “guy” or “friend.” For example, “How’s she goin’, by?” means “How are you doing?”
  • “Jig’s dinner” – A traditional Newfoundland meal consisting of salted beef or pork, boiled vegetables (such as cabbage, turnip, and potato), and pease pudding.
  • “Bayman” – A term used to refer to someone from a small coastal community in Newfoundland, particularly those engaged in fishing or related industries.
  • “Squid jigger” – A handheld fishing device used to catch squid, which is a popular activity in Newfoundland.
  • “Pogie” – Refers to employment insurance or social assistance benefits. It is derived from the term “pogey” or “pogey bait,” which originally referred to bait used for fishing but came to be associated with government assistance.
  • “Kit” – A word used to refer to a backpack or knapsack. For example, “I’m going out for a hike; I’ll grab my kit.”
  • “B’y the sea” – A phrase used to describe someone who lives near the coast or has a connection to the ocean. For example, “He’s a true b’y the sea; he loves fishing and boating.”
  • “Skeet” – A term used to describe a small amount or a quick sip. For example, “Just have a skeet of this tea.”
  • “B’y, oh b’y!” – An exclamation of surprise or astonishment. For example, “B’y, oh b’y! Look at the size of that cod fish!”
  • “Mauzy” – A word used to describe damp or misty weather. It is derived from the word “mauzy” or “mizzly,” which means drizzly or wet.

These examples offer a glimpse into the distinct vocabulary and expressions found in Newfoundland English. The dialect reflects the province’s history, culture, and close connection to the sea and fishing traditions. It is an important part of Newfoundland and Labrador’s identity and is cherished by its residents.

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