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Downeast / Maritime
Lexicon

(Terminology)


These terms are provided to help the uninitiated avoid confusion and embarrassment.

inspirated speech
Atlantic Provinces
dear
down / up
Downeast
flatlander
from away
Maritimes
over home
seasmoke
some
upcountry
weir

The terms are presented in the following format:
Term (linguistic classification)
Definition
Example of usage


 

Atlantic Provinces (proper noun) [See Maritime Provinces]
The Atlantic Provinces of Canada, consisting of the Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island), plus the Province of Newfoundland (Newfoundland and Labrador).
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dear (noun); typically pronounced, " 'de-uh "
To the unaccustomed, the common usage of this seemingly-familiar term by many area residents can be disconcerting, especially when you're addressed in this way by a gentleman, when you're a gentleman yourself! (Take no offense.)
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down (adverb)
As a result of the common usage of downeast, "down" has taken on extra responsibility. It is frequently used to mean "north" or "south."
"They drove down from Florida to visit family." Or, equally, "They drove down from Quebec to see my boat."

Conversely, "up" may be used in the same way:
"We drove up north to see the aurora borealis." Or, equally, "We went up to Boston airport."

This all lends to more colorful, if not confusing, conversation Down East.
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Down East, down east, Downeast, or downeast (adverb, adjective, or noun)
In broadest terms, anywhere along the New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia coast northeast of Boston. Most commonly refers to the coast of Maine northeast of Ellsworth. (Its meaning is derived from sailing downwind from Boston, which is generally to the north east.)
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flatlander or flat lander (noun) [See From Away]
Disparaging term for someone from anywhere afar and, generally, inland.
"Why, those flatlanders don't know a cork from a codfish!"
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from away (adverb) [See Flatlander]
If you can't claim that at least three generations of your ancestors lived here--or if your ancestors are from here, but you've moved away and then returned--then you're from away. If you've moved here--even if from the next community--then you're from away.

A regional joke states that, like children born locally to parents from away, "Hatchin' chickens in the stove, doesn't make 'em muffins, does it!"
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inspirated speech; i.e.,"Yeah" or "No", spoken while inhaling. (colloquial pronounciation)
Common in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but also found in downeast Maine, this speech pattern bears no particular significance, other than its unusual nature. Competitive inspirated speech has been observed, with the intensity of inspiration increasing as conversation passes from one person to the next. The speaker is generally unaware of using this technique, and will frequently deny using it, when confronted.
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Maritimes (proper noun) [See Atlantic Provinces]
The Maritime Provinces of Canada: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
"You haven't seen Canada until you've been to the Maritimes! "
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over home (adverb + noun, used as a noun)
Used by residents of Grand Manan, Campobello Island, and Deer Island, when referring to their island of residence.
"Over home, we've got a couple lighthouses."
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Seasmoke at the Eastport Fish Pier.

sea smoke or seasmoke (noun)
Also called vapor or vapour.Water vapor that occurs in winter as a result of the relatively warmer sea meeting much colder air. (The humidity comes from evaporating seawater.) It is a similar phenomenon to fog, except that fog occurs from relatively colder seawater meeting warmer, humid air. (The humidity comes from the air.)

Seasmoke can sometimes (as in the picture to the left) become so thick that it forms a solid cloud just above the water. This same phenomenon can also occur over freshwater.
"It was so cold that wisps of seasmoke wandered above the water's surface."

See another seasmoke photograph at Sail Rock.

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some (adjective)
A superlative.
"Mmmm! That blueberry pie is some good!"
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upcountry or up-country (noun)
Inland and north of here.
"We're heading upcountry to go skiing."
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weir (noun)
[See the weir illustration and information found elsewhere on this site.]
Local pronounciation: "wair"; elsewhere, pronounced "weer".
A herring trap consisting of a net-covered enclosure built from long poles driven vertically into the ocean bottom near the shore. The weir was invented by Native Americans and has been modified into what it is today.
"See that weir out there by that island?"
"Where?"
"No,
weir!"
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