Maritimer English


Maritimer English

Maritimer English is a dialect of English spoken in the Maritime provinces of Canada. Quirks include the removal of pre-consonantal IPA| [ɹ] (IPA) sounds, and a faster speech tempo. It is heavily influenced by both British and Irish English.

An example of typical Maritime English might be the pronunciation of the letter t. The flapping of intervocalic IPA|/t/ and IPA|/d/ to alveolar tap IPA| [ɾ] between vowels, as well as pronouncing it as a glottal stop IPA| [ʔ] , is less common in the Maritimes. So, battery is pronounced as IPA| [bætɹi] instead of with a glottal stop.

Especially among the older generation, IPA|/w/ and IPA|/ʍ/ are not merged; that is, the beginning sound of "why", "white", and "which" is different from that of "witch", "with", "wear".

Like most varieties of Canadian English, Maritimer English contains a feature known as Canadian rise: Diphthongs are "raised" before voiceless consonants. For example, IPA IPA|/aɪ/ and IPA|/aʊ/ become IPA| [ʌɪ] and IPA| [ʌʊ] , respectively, before IPA| [p] , IPA| [t] , IPA| [k] , IPA| [s] , IPA| [f] .

Although dialects vary from region to region, especially based on the rural/urban divide, there are some other commonalities. For example, there is heavy rhoticism on vowels preceding IPA|/r/ sounds. Also, low front vowels seem to be lengthened and sometimes tensed, which in some regions can result in raising, and even a very slight rounding of the higher vowels and diphthongs. These phonetic differences are not all systematic: some lexical items do not apply to these rules, so perhaps it the vowel system is in a process of shift, or there could be interference from other, more urban dialects and the mediaFact|date=November 2007.

While the interrogative "Eh?" is used more often in the Maritimes than in most dialects of Canadian English, it is actually relatively uncommon compared to Ontario. Alternatively, one might hear the interrogative "Right?" (often pronounced "rate") which is in turn used as an adverb (e.g.: "It was right foggy today!") as well. "Some" is used as an adverb as well, by some people (e.g.: "This cake is some good!"). Such expressions tend to be widely used in the rural maritimes, but are less common in urban areas.

Due to the relatively quick way of speaking, there is a lot of repetition in the typical Maritimer speech pattern. Rather than ask "Did you go to town today?", a more common phrasing would be, "Wazye tah town, wazye?" or, rather than "She will be in town today," it would more likely be phrased, "She'll be tah town today, she will.". Words such as "fine", "right" and "fearful" are frequent intensifiers, as in, "That's a fine mess!", "Oh, it'll be a right mess by the time they gets done!" and "That girl is a fearful fool!" (implying that the girl is extremely foolish).

Articles are frequently left out of speech. "I'm goin' down road" would be more common than "I am going down the road." If the speaker is to visit a friend, they would likely say, "I'll be down Amy's." rather than "I will be down at Amy's."

Terminal hard consonants are often dropped from pronunciation when found in sentences. "Ol'" rather than "old", "col'" rather than "cold", "tha'" rather than "that", "suppose'" rather than "supposed." (with the -s pronounced softly, rather than as a -z). When it is pronounced it is softly, almost imperceptably. "Ain't" is also frequently heard in rural parts of the Maritimes, particularly southern New Brunswick.

"Fellar" is a frequent term for an anonymous man of 18 - 35 years of age. Post-35, he becomes an "ol' fella'". "I ain't see' tha' ol' fella' for a while now. I wonder if 'e ain't dead. I' seems to me that 'e was ill," would be a reasonable exchange to hear on the lips of an older gentleman in the Maritimes.

Terms of British origin are very much still a part of Maritime English, although slowly fading away in favour of American or Western terms. "Chesterfield" and "front room" are examples of this. Also, some terms are unique to the Maritimes. "Playing hooky" is usually referred to as "jigging" especially in south-eastern New Brunswick.

External links

* [http://dooryard.ca Carleton County Colloquialisms]


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