Friday, January 11, 2008

Judges confirmed for the REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English New Year's Resolution Contest

Introducing the Panel of Judges for the New Year's Resolution Contest from REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English

Anita Best

Born on Merasheen Island in Placentia Bay (since abandoned under the resettlement program), Best has worked as an educator, archivist, folklorist, broadcaster and singer. A particular interest in oral history - songs and stories passed down through generations - lead to her performing career. She has toured extensively as a storyteller and singer, made numerous television and radio appearances and added her voice to several Newfoundland recordings. 
Anita Best is best known for two albums: The Colour of Amber , a collaboration with Pamela Morgan, was released in 1993. Crosshanded, a collection of twelve songs for solo voice, followed a few years later. In these recordings and in her performances, Best tends to forego the standard Newfoundland repertoire in favour of the lesser known songs and stories collected from around the province.
(above biographical notes are from Memorial Unversity’s Newfoundland and Labrador’s Heritage Site)

Anita Best is also the voice of Mary Dalton’s poems on the Rattling Books recording of Merrybegot.

Tom Howell
Tom Howell is a radio broadcaster, multi-instrumentalist, sometimes back-up singer and ex-lexicographer who worked on the Canadian Oxford Dictionary for a few years. He is known as the Word Nerd from the recent national CBC Radio program And Sometimes Y hosted by Jane Farrow. Tom also works as a book editor and musician playing keyboards and strings in several Toronto bands. His preferred instruments are violin, piano, mandolin, and guitar.

According to one of his myspace pages Tom Howell is trying to kick his word-nerd image by being a cool musician but his Blog entries say things like "I dropped into the Tranzac room ('dropped into' in the colloquial sense that means much the same thing as 'walked in' or something like 'entered' or 'visited') on Friday to hear Ronley Teper's gig, and ..." His influences include Thelonius Monk and the Gaurdian Newspaper. You can befriend Tom Howell as a Word Nerd or as a Musician on myspace.

Gerard Van Herk
Gerard Van Herk is the Canada Research Chair in Regional Language and Oral Text. Also a professor of linguistics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Van Herk's area of research interest is linguistic diversity in contemporary Newfoundland and Labrador. Apparently contemporary Newfoundland is an ideal "language laboratory” and a recent worldwide study chose traditional Newfoundland speech as the most distinct variety of English on the planet.

Much to the delight of Rattling Books Gerard Van Herk also has an Indie Record Label in his past. Before becoming a linguistics academic Gerard Van Herk, “along with his partner in “sludge-a-billy,” Tony Dewald, were the hepcats behind Deja Voodoo” a Montreal band of the 1980s associated with Og, their own independent label.

Contest Background
The Rattling Books New Year's Resolution Contest originated from the Rattling Books facebook group/game REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

We invite you to post your own Resolution either here or on the REDEFiNE iT Facebook group page under the relevant Discussion Board Topic.

The REDEFiNE iT group was inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.