Love your language and rediscover The Battery

john Gushue
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How many times has someone (from away, I should of course note) said, “You don’t have that Newfoundland accent.”

And what, pray tell, is “that” accent? Or that dialect, for that matter?

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there’s not just one dialect, but many. Our featured site this week proves that very case.

Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador

Launched last week, the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador brings together research and archival recordings that date back through the years, some of them collected four decades ago. What’s amazing is that you can sort through various features of pronunciation and grammar, and see how they compare and contrast along the map of the province.

You know that old joke about dropping your H in ’Olyrood and picking it up in H’Avondale? It turns out not to be true, at least according to a large database, although you can listen to recordings from interviews that make the case in, respectively, Cupids and Bay Roberts … just to name a few.

This is a great resource, and Memorial University has done a wonderful job by making it publicly accessible. Students, I’m sure, will benefit from it, but so too will ordinary folks who are curious about how we speak.

Inside Outside Battery


I’ve told visitors to St. John’s that The Battery is one of the most walkable areas in the city, and that’s partly because it’s one of the least driveable! The narrow roads and paths in The Battery are among our oldest, and this new app (the brainchild of legendary radio producer Chris Brookes) brings The Battery to life in a very new and engaging way.

To get Inside Outside Battery to work, though, you actually have to go to the place and wander around. It works by your GPS co-ordinates, with a different bit of audio triggered to play when you hit a precise location. (If a voice conks out, fret not; you’ve wandered away. Just stay put to hear the rest.) This means you’ll need to fiddle with your privacy settings to make sure your location can be detected.

This is a pretty cool endeavour. I will admit some predisposed bias, as I had the good fortune in the 1990s to work with Chris on a series for the CBC. Nonetheless, I’d recommend this for livyers, but especially for visitors. If there’s a frontier for tourism and culture in apps, this is it.

At this point, the app is available for Apple devices only.

Banksy Goes to New York

Over the course of October, the mysterious British street artist Banksy has set himself up in New York City, and has made the news more than once. Apart from bringing his spray-painted touch to buildings (he put a heartbroken man with flowers outside porn guru Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club), he pulled off some other stunts. He made a video that showed what seemed like Syrian rebels using a rocket launcher to bring down a plane … only to find the crashing object was a fully animated Dumbo, right out of Disney. Another video showed original Banksy art not selling outside a park; it sparked a lot of commentary, although I think it says something more about how pedestrians in New York fully expect to see copyright-infringed knockoffs in their midst. And then there’s a slight he made about Canadian architecture. …. In any event, it’s all food for thought, and you can recap the work here.

Pleated Jeans

Come for the memes, enjoy the puns, stay for the depressed pumpkins (when in season, at least). Pleated Jeans rakes the same sand as many, many other sites that collect funny pictures and Internet jokes, but you’re bound to find something to make you smile. Not necessarily safe for work, and probably best to catch a look when the youngsters are not present.

John Gushue is a digital producer with CBC News in St. John’s. Twitter: @johngushue.

Organizations: CBC News, Apple, Hustler Club

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, New York City, H’Avondale Bay Roberts Disney

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