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Newfoundland and Labrador English

Sandra Clarke

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (PDF) i

This book is the first full-length volume to offer a comprehensive introduction to the English spoken in Britain's oldest overseas colony, and, since 1949, Canada's youngest province. Within North America, Newfoundland and Labrador English is a highly distinctive speech variety. It is known for its generally conservative nature, having retained close ties with its primary linguistic roots, the traditional speech of southwestern England and southern Ireland. It is also characterised by a high degree of regional and social variation. Over the past half century, the region has experienced substantial social, economic and cultural change. This is reflected linguistically, as younger generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians increasingly align themselves with 'mainland' North American norms.

The volume includes

  • An accessible description of the phonological, grammatical, lexical and discourse features of this variety
  • Treatment of regional speech variation within the province, and its historical sources
  • Discussion of the social underpinnings of ongoing language change
  • Language samples from both traditional and contemporary speakers
  • A survey of published work on Newfoundland and Labrador English from earlier centuries to the present day.


1. Geography, demography and cultural factors
2. Phonetics and phonology
3. Morphosyntax
4. Lexis and discourse features
5. History, including changes in progress
6. Survey of previous work and annotated bibliography
7. Sample texts.

About the Author

Sandra Clarke is Professor Emerita of Linguistics at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Her research over the past twenty-five years has focused on Newfoundland and Canadian English, largely within a sociolinguistic and socio-historical framework. She has published extensively on language variation and change in Newfoundland English, as well as in the indigenous Algonquian varieties spoken in Labrador.


In summary, this book is a paramount example of its genre. Above all, it is testimony to Clarke's trademark attention to detail. In this volume she has carefully weighed a tremendous amount of material and has presented it with clarity and concision. Clarke is the expert on the sociolinguistics of English in Newfoundland and Labrador; this fact resonates on every page of the volume.
- Alexandra D'Arcy, University of Victoria, English Worldwide

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