The other day I heard a short interview with poet Mary Dalton on the radio. She writes poems, said the radio host, “in the Newfoundland dialect.” I guess you could call it a dialect, although that’s kind of hoity-toity. It’s English, of course, but there are a lot of expressions and grammatical constructions that are unheard of in “standard” English. It’s comprehensible, though, or at least it is to me. But I grew up in Nova Scotia, where it seems the accent changes every few kilometers. I can tell whether a person’s from Centre or Back Centre or Upper-Middle-Lower Centre as soon as she opens her mouth.
Dalton’s latest collection is called Merrybegot, which means a child born out of wedlock. On the radio Dalton mentioned that the children of unmarried parents are also sometimes called “moon children” or “moss children” in Newfoundland. Here’s an interview with Dalton and here’s a couple of her poems. I think they’re probably better when you know the voice and can hear it in them.