Ducklore 101

Newfoundland English has many unique terms and sayings. As we are big fans of ducks, here are some Newfoundland expressions that appertain to our web-footed friends:

Like ducks! This simply means "No way!". For example, if you said "I have a funny feeling I'm going to win the lottery tonight," we might reply "Like ducks!"

Covey duck A livyer. What do you mean "What's a livyer?" A livyer is a permanent resident of a community. Someone who "lives" there year 'round.

Ducky A term of endearment. My dear, my darling.

Duckedy-mud Brownish-beige, or a neutral, indeterminate colour (…or as a friend of ours once said, "Duckedy-mud is the colour of a she-mouse's bottom!").

Duckish Dark, dim, the light associated with twilight. "It was just duckish when I got in from work at 5:30."

Duck's dive Did you ever try to throw stones in the water without making a splash? If you were successful, you made a duck's dive!

…and by the way, Harlequin ducks in Newfoundland are called lords and ladies, and young, wild ducks are referred to as flappers.

How we'd describe what we do in Newfoundlandese: A brace of duckies from Town. Jean is a great hand to sing and Christina plays her singles close to the floor. The way they crack aboard the finest kind of tunes and songs from around the bay and down the French Shore, your toes'll be tapping the double batter. In between the jigs and the reels they'll have a cuffer about the old timers and all hands buckled over in the knots with their yarns. Translation: Two pleasant ladies from St. John's. Jean is an excellent singer and Christina's fiddle playing is suitable for dancing. The liveliness of their performance of Newfoundland songs and tunes will encourage you to move your feet as in a step-dance. Interspersed with the musical selections, the ladies will speak conversationally about the older generation, and tell stories which will make everyone laugh.




All content 2004 Jean Hewson and Christina Smith