Most Canadians are aware that Newfoundlanders have a thick, unusual dialect filled with nonsense words and silly expressions. ‘Newfienese,’ as some people call it. If you’re planning a trip to our beautiful province anytime soon, it would be helpful to get used to the slang terms that we use on a daily basis.
Listed below are phrases that I find myself, as a Newfoundlander, consistently having to explain to tourists and friends from away. Please don’t be disheartened if you have a conversation with a Newfoundlander and cannot understand a single word they’re saying—I’ve lived here my whole life and there are some people I can’t comprehend for the life of me! But know these simple phrases off by heart, and you won’t be stuck here saying “wha?” when you run into a diehard bayman down on George Street.
Simplifies to “what are you at?” and means “what’s up?” or “what are you doing?”
This is one of the most common slang terms we use in Newfoundland. I use it on a daily basis!
Multiple meanings depending on the context. It could mean: “yes,” “no,” “that’s impressive,” or “you’re kidding!”
Also has multiple meanings in different contexts: “yes,” “no,” or “well duh, obviously”
There ain’t n’arn
Means “there isn’t either one” or “there isn’t any”
I dies at you!
“You’re so funny” “You make me laugh!”
Me nerves, you got me drove
I hope nobody says this to you if you visit because it means “oh my, you’re so annoying!”
Knows you’re not crooked
“You seem to be in a bad mood”
Where ya longs to?
Translates to “where do you belong to?” or more simply, “where are you from?”
Stay where you’re to til I comes where you’re at
To be honest, I’ve never heard this one said in everyday conversation, but everybody associates it with Newfoundlanders. It means “stay there until I get there.” It basically pokes fun at how we make everything sound more complicated than it needs to be.
Get on the go
Means “get going” or can be used when you’re getting ready to go out for a few drinks. “Let’s get on the go for George Street bys!”
I hope you find this helpful, and if not, at least a little comical! Are you planning on visiting Newfoundland? Let us know! We love hearing from our readers.
Here’s a follow up to this post, 10 MORE Phrases You Need to Know Before You Visit Newfoundland and Labrador.