Saturday, November 2, 2013

a quick scrunch of the nose

I've been feeling more and more "northernized" over the past few weeks as I've been settling in to the colder weather and realizing that it's not so bad. One thing that I've definitely picked up on is some of the local "regiolect" and mannerisms.

There are several phrases here that are really quite common (which will be hard to communicate in writing, but maybe through speaking to me, you'll be able to pick up on some of them).

From working in the Daycare and spending all day with Inuk women and children, I've really started to blend my speech with theirs, constantly saying, "so cuuuute!", "you could", "must be", "how come" and "not eeeeven".

"so cuuuute" - this is really all in the way it's spoken. Kind of a keeeeyuuuuute, starting high, dropping low with the "yu" and gradually getting higher again.

"you could" - common as a response to a question, e.g. "I could pet your dog?" "you could" OR as part of a question: "you could pick me up later?"

"must be" - also common as a response: "looks like it's windy out there..." "must be!" OR as the beginning of a statement/question: "must be just about out of coffee?"

"how come" - pretty much just replaces "why?" I've never heard anyone here ask "why?", only "how come?"

"not eeeeven" - a typical response when I said it was cold when it was 5 degrees outside.

Other examples include saying things like: "that's Allison's one" when referring to just about anything that might belong to me, "pass me the that thing", "look! we have the same and same!" (like if two people were wearing the same colour shirt, or had matching mittens).

One form of body language that took me a very long time to get used to and remember to look for is the way that facial expressions are used to say yes and no. It could be as an answer to a question, or just in agreement/disagreement with a statement, but are accompanied with no speech. Eyebrows are raised high for yes and lowered with a quick scrunch of the nose for no. When I was first working with the children, I kept forgetting to look at their faces when I was asking questions, and even with my staff I would sometimes think they weren't responding to me. I was so glad when my sister pointed out to me what these expressions meant. I've even started to use them myself!

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