Introduction: history, geography and demography

Sandra Clarke and Andrew Erskine

in Newfoundland and Labrador English

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780748626168
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671519 | DOI:
Introduction: history, geography and demography

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This chapter introduces Newfoundland and Labrador English as a distinct speech variety, which though recognizably North American remains close to its southwest British and southern Irish roots. It briefly outlines the European history of the region from the 16th century to the present, from the perspective not only of founder populations and settlement patterns, but also more recent political and socioeconomic change. Two of the striking characteristics of Newfoundland English – its linguistically conservative nature, along with its high degree of internal regional variation – are clarified in terms of historical, geographic and demographic factors. Four principal regions are delineated, three of these on the island of Newfoundland; the fourth is constituted by the province’s continental portion, Labrador, ethnically and linguistically more complex as a result of its aboriginal (Innu, Inuit) populations. The chapter concludes with a note on the terminology used in the volume.

Keywords: Newfoundland history; Labrador history; Newfoundland settlement; Labrador settlement; regional variation; aboriginal languages

Chapter.  5789 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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