Books full of facts

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - El­iz­a­beth Cran At­lantic Pages

What do “Tra­di­tional Newfy Talk” by R. A. Bragg (Nim­bus, $12.95) and “Saint John: Facts and Folk­lore” by David Goss (Nim­bus $14.95) have in com­mon?

Their pur­pose, that’s what — sup­ply­ing care­ful, de­tailed in­for­ma­tion to the gen­eral public.

If you visit or read about a New­found­land out­port, Bragg’s book will prob­a­bly be a help; if you go to Saint John or read about it, David Goss’ book will also help and in­ter­est you.

Both of these books are com­pact and easy to carry around. Goss’ book is full of black-and­white pho­to­graphs and cute lit­tle draw­ings, while Bragg’s is full of il­lus­tra­tive sen­tences: for ex­am­ple “quick loike” is ex­em­pli­fied in this sen­tence: “E ducked een d’shop real quick loike”. These ex­am­ples are each fol­lowed by a trans­la­tion into Stan­dard English e.g. “He quickly stepped into the store.”Bragg’s book also has a list for fur­ther read­ing and in­ter­est­ing end­notes.

Goss’ book has nei­ther. This is one of the signs that “Tra­di­tional Newfy Talk” while use­ful for any­one, is aimed more par­tic­u­larly to­wards those who love lan­guage for its own sake and not just a par­tic­u­lar lan­guage. In a short in­tro­duc­tion en­ti­tled Newfy Talk­ing, Bragg writes sev­eral things that are worth­while know­ing. One is that New­found­land or­thog­ra­phy and pro­nun­ci­a­tion would re­sem­ble those of the English West Coun­try — Devon, Som­er­set, and Dorset — but for the over-rid­ing in­flu­ence of stan­dard English. Oth­ers are a pro­nun­ci­a­tion key, ab­bre­vi­a­tions for sources such as Lon­don cant “street English of the 1600s” and WCE “West Coun­try English”.

Some ba­sic gram­mar, chiefly var­i­ous pro­nouns is in­cluded, as well as a list of other pro­nouns and prepo­si­tions. This is a great lit­tle book, and in­valu­able for the lover of any lan­guage, es­pe­cially “Newfy”, claimed to be “The First English Lan­guage of North Amer­ica.

Goss’ “Saint John: Facts and Folk­lore” is an ad­dic­tive book; once opened, you can­not (hardly) put it down, with sto­ries such as Heated Side­walks, sub­ti­tled A good idea that went bad; Trafal­gar Day; Prince Philippe Buried in Saint John?...; Ode to Dulse; and A Steer and a Saloon. Many or the sto­ries are funny, a few are tragic and there are some ghost sto­ries. There is one mon­ster, Ug Wug, which is said to live in a cave at the bot­tom of the Re­vers­ing Falls. Its leg­end goes far back into Abo­rig­i­nal times.

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