All the interesting and fun comments on my last post got me thinking not only about words, but also about local sayings.
The Island is known for its expressive, and often colourful, phrases. For example:
- “Don’t get yourself in a tizzy” – if someone is fussing
- “Hold your horses” – if someone is rushing about
- “Wait up for me” – if you are trying to catch up to a group
- Dressed to the nines – really dressed up and looking fine.
- “Slow as cold molasses” – did you ever try to pour cold molasses?
- “Storm-stayed” – this phrase is used when someone is unable to get home because of a snowstorm. Therefore, they are stayed by the storm.
- If the roads are slick with rain, sleet or ice, they are “slippy” not slippery – although, my mother, who was a stickler for grammar, never accepted that phrase as colloquial – much less the infamous “warsh” (wash).
- In answer to the greeting “How are you?”, you could get “Grand!” and if one is really feeling great, “Grand altogether!”
A very unique Island speech trait (perhaps Maritime – I’m not sure) is to talk while breathing in – usually saying yes or no on the intake of a breath.
It’s a peculiarly pitched sound. The louder and the more times it’s said, the more definite the answer.
“Yeh, yeh, yeh” said in one long intake of breath means the person is in perfect agreement or commiseration.
The advantage to this little idiosyncracy?
You don’t have to stop talking to breathe. You can keep going indefinitely!
The most common phrase, used solely by Islanders, describes people who are not born here. They are called “from away”.
Sometimes they are called a “CFA”, which is an acronym for “Come From Away”, but I think that’s a more recent term. I never heard it while I was growing up.
People could be from New Brunswick, which is the province across the Strait, or as far away as Timbuktu. They are “from away”.
Even if they have lived on PEI for most of their life, it doesn’t matter.
If you are not born here, you are “from away”.
But, being “from away” doesn’t mean that you won’t be welcomed, loved or even belong on our Island if you decide to become an “IBC” – an Islander By Choice.
Our most famous citizen is “proof of the pudding”!