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Canada Speak

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Canadians have their own quaint and unique version of English. Most people are familiar with the use of "eh" by Canadians and some New Englanders, but other less familiar words and phrases can throw you is you're not prepared. So, before you make that trip to Canada in general, and Newfoundland in particular, be sure to familiarize yourself with the following so you won't constantly be going WTF!

TimmiesThe ubiquitous fast food chain Tim Hortons found everywhere in the Maritimes. It gets its name from a famous Canadian hockey player. It's very much like Dunkin Donuts in the States. If you're not familiar with Timmies or haven't been there, then you're not a true Canadian.
eh Slang expression meaning "Isn't it correct?", as in "A bit nippy out, eh?" Used universally throughout Canada, as well as some New England states like Maine. It is pronounced like the letter 'a'. Sometimes used as a question, as in: "There was a big accident on the TCH! Eh?"
Newfie Newfoundland resident, likely born and raised there. Also referred to as a Newf.
klickSlang for a kilometer (100 meters). Sometimes spelled 'click'. Originally believed to have originated in Vietnam, this article has a good description of it's beginning.
cash The cash register.
washroom Bathroom, lavatory, toilet.
2-way, 3-way2-way hookups refer to water and electric. 3-way means water, elec and sewer. 2-way sometimes mean that you can pull into the site either way, but this is not in popular use. These terms are also popular in the States.
jiggin Fishing with a "jig", particularly for squid. It involves a battery of rollers on each side of the boat, used to pull up squid lines and separate the fish from the lures. See here for a video.
scoff Food or meal.
nipper Mosquito.
mausey / mauzy Cloudy, muggy, damp or foggy weather.
ducky Term of endearment, such as "me ducky". Other endearment terms include "old cock" and "captain".
loonie Canadian dollar coin.
toonie Canadian two-dollar coin. Sometimes spelled "twonie" but pronounced the same.
gas bar A service station.
bakeapple A small orange fruit that grows in peat bogs, commonly mispronounced by non-Newfies as baked apple. Also known as cloudberry, bakeapple jams and jellies are popular around eastern Newfoundland.
Town St. John's, NL. Residents there are called "Townies".
CanuckSlang term is often used by Americans to refer to Canadians, an by Canadians to refer to English Canadians. Sometimes (but not often) used as a derogatory term. Originally spelled Kanuck.
Ceilidh>Pronounced "kay-lee", a social event at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing and storytelling. Ceilidhs are popular in Cape Breton and PEI. See here for a writeup of a nice Ceilidh we went to.
Mi'kmakA First Nations people indigenous to Canada's Atlantic Provinces and northeast Maine. It is widely pronounced "mick-mack" although a native woman I talked with said that's a European pronouncation, and they prefer the native pronounciation Mi'gmag ("mig-mag"). Wikipedia says that the current population is around 170,000, of which 11,00 still speak the language.
Inukshuk Pronounced "E-nook-shuck", a piece of folk art normally created from stones, and made to look somewhat like a person. They are ubiquitous around rocky seasides. It is believed the Inuit used them to indicate the direction they were travelling. Some say the longer of the two arms points in the direction they went. Many gift stores in the Maritimes have cute little replicas for sale. Here is what Wikipedia has to say.
chesterfieldA couch or sofa.
Donair A type of food that resembles a Greek gyro. They are widely found in Nova Scotia, especially around the Halifax area. We don't recall seeing any in Newfoundland.
screech A rum sold in Newfoundland that is 40% alcohol.
bight A bend or curve in a coastline, river, or other geographical feature.
lookoff Overlook, scenic view, lookout.
knarr A stout, sea-worthy vessel used by the Norsemen. They were suited for cargo, although there were limits to how much they could carry.
tickle A narrow salt-water strait, channel or passage, such as an entrance to a harbor, or between islands or other land masses. Tickles are often difficult or treacherous to navigate because of narrowness, tides, etc. A tickle is also a settlement adjoining such a passage. The Dark Tickle Experience in St. Lunaire-Griquet on the Great Northern Peninsula in NL is a favorite tourist spot for seeing whales and icebergs.
arm A long, narrow inlet of water, extending like a finger inland from the bay
neckAn isthmus-like land separating two bodies of water. A cove, harbour or bight.

A special shout-out to Doug Winsor of Crescent Lake Campground in Robert's Arm NL for helping out with some Newfie terms like gas bar, arm and tickle. Here's what Doug has to say:

"A gas bar is a service station. Sometimes I wonder where some of this terminology comes from but Google say a gas bar is a retail station servicing motor vehicles, especially with gasoline. Google hit the nail right on the head. I think he's a Newfoundlander as well. With regards to an 'arm', as in Robert's Arm, you're need to view this from the water's perspective. The settling and naming of many places around the island was usually in reference to the sea, our initial reason for being. Hence, a arm is usually a finger-like (only bigger than a finger), long, narrow, indraft of water, extending off the bay. A tickle, of course, is a small channel of water between two points of land. It could be a passage as well. A cove would be a smaller version of a harbour while a bight could be big or small but would be less sheltered, offering protection only when the wind is from a very specific direction. When it comes to land that's a whole different ball game. The land that separates two bodies of water, be it coves, harbours or bights, is a neck, like an isthmus. If the neck is characterized by a deep ravine, well that's actually a gulch as in Granny's Gulch which is in No Name Cove over in Jerry's Harbour across the bay just after you pass through Pretty Tickle." Got it?

Click here and here for some more quaint Newfie idioms and phrases.

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