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Friday, 28 March 2014

Right Confused

When Frank and I'm were growing up, it was common to hear things like 'right delighted' used in everyday speech. Mom used the phrase a great deal, such as

"She was right delighted with..........."

The 'right' in this case means 'very.' Now if you're delighted, is the 'very' redundant? Maybe. However, Newfoundlanders don't care about redundancy. The emphasis is important.

You can use right with many words, such as 

right hungry,

right sad,

right mean,

right angry,

right sleepy,

You get the idea.

If you're a Newfoundlander and someone says, "He was right upset," you'd know exactly what it meant. If you're not a Newfoundlander, what would you think?

In addition you can substitute 'some' for 'right' and it means the same thing. So, "She is some sweet," tells us that she is right sweet, or very sweet.

There are things Newfoundlanders understand that would puzzle many English speaking people. We have our own Dictionary of Newfoundland English, edited by Story, Kirwin and Widdowson. It helps non-Newfoundlanders decipher what's being said. For Newfoundlanders, if we hear something unfamiliar that might be peculiar to a particular part of the island, we can look it up.

However, some things even defy the Dictionary of Newfoundland English. One night, after a particularly bad snow storm in Grand Falls-Winsdor, someone knocked on the door. When I went to the door, a man asked,

"Don't want no one to shovel no snow for ya, do ya?"

I hesitated. 

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