Does anyone know if the practice of pronouncing the first name "Gerard" as "Jew-ard" is a PEI-centric phenomenon, or does it occur in other places too?  Also, does anyone have an explanation as to why it occurs?


  1. I never heard it as that but rather as the single syllable “Jerd”. This was what a pal raised in Souris called Jerd Gallant when he played for the Red Wings in the 80s.

    As to why, “Jerd” is a sound that you can make without moving your jaw and will little exhaling.


  2. “Jerd” I can understand (although I don’t recall it as being common to my ears) as a way to get the word out quicker, as you say, without moving your jaw. The two-syllable soft-“R” “Jew-ard” is more of a puzzle to me, though. In my experience, more than a random selection of people who don’t usually “w” their “r”s will nonetheless do so on this word.


  3. i’d be willing to bet that the same people who “jew” their “ger”s can be found “febyoo”ing their “febru”s. i blame lazy lower lips. as for people “wens”ing their “wedne”s and “larnyx”ing their “larynx”s, well, mister, i just don’t approve.


  4. I think it is a PEI-centric thing. I think that is because in most other English-speaking places, the more common form of that name is Gerald (which is pronounced “JEHR-uld” in PEI and everywhere else) whereas in PEI, because of the French influence, the form Gerard caught on and, as a consequence, having no model to base our pronunciation on and because the double R usage being quite rare, we developed an Island-English way of saying that generally French name. Earlier Islanders may have even, upon hearing the French way of saying the name, tried to copy that as best as possible, rendering the French “zhehr-AHRD” “jew-ARD” or maybe “juh-WAHRD”. As evidence, I submit you’d be hard-pressed to find an Island Protestant named Gerard. I think that Alan’s example is a more general phenomenon whereby 2 syllable names with R in the middle become 1 syllable: Harlt=Harold, Jerlt=Gerald, Jerd=Gerard. Kinda like when George Bush calls “terror” “tehrrrrr”. Now if anyone can explain how the name Regis becomes “Rehj-iss” and not “Ree-jiss”, we may get a grand unification theory.


  5. Thanks Hans. Your reasoning sounds perfectly plausible.
    And Lennie, another usage I certainly don’t approve of is “sang-which” (for sandwich), also “Chewsday” (for Tuesday). Nosir, not one bit.


  6. Oh! I have one! Dor-ONG … for Doiron …

    I think there’s two ways to look at regional pronunciations and patois. Some people roll their eyes in contempt when a server in a restaurant comes over and says “So, can I get yez anything?”, and as she walks off they mutter about how ignorant and uneducated some peoples’ children are. When I first moved here lo those 15 years ago, I confess I blinked when I heard my kid’s teacher tell the class “Make sure yez all get your day-eds to bring in their cares to the care warsh on Sattidy!” What the hell …? This is a TEACHER?

    Since then I’ve mellowed, and look at the distinctive Oiland accent as charming, much the same as I would if I were in Georgia and a server in a coffee shop asked “How y’all doing today?”

    Having grown up around here, and having a keen ear, Rob does a deadly rural Oisland hoser accent. It’s musical and funny and never fails to make me grin. The Oisland to English translation sketch was one of the funniest parts of Sketch-22’s show.


  7. What I learned from Terry Pratt at UPEI is that the “i” sound in PEI English becomes “oi” ONLY when it is immediately followed by a hard consonant like “t”. Thus, tight is pronounced “toight” but tide is NOT pronounced “toide” and the Island is NOT pronounced the “oiland”.


  8. I would have to disagree with that, Hans. I’ve heard “oiland” (in fact, “oilant”) often enough to believe it is an exception to this rule. And how do you explain “point” for “pint” using that strict law? I would even argue ‘toide’ is common enough.


  9. Roight noice noight for an oice cream foight, roight, Moike?

    I’m not sure what the rules are, but common usage is the ultimate authority when it comes to patois. People oither say it roight or they don’t.


  10. I think the information I learned in that class about “i” vs. “oi” was based on some kind of research of the common Island usage. There may have been exceptions to that general rule, or sub-regional variations, that I don’t remember now. In the case of “point/pint” you still have the hard “t” sound at the end of the syllable. In contrast, a pine tree, I think (and I haven’t done any research, so I’m basically talking out my ass) is still a “pine tree”. If I’m sitting on the bench at a hockey game waiting for my shift, I think I’m “riding the pine, waiting to get out on the oice.”


  11. See, Hans? An “s” sound in “ice” is not a hard consonant, and yet the “i” is morphed into an “oi”. And I know I’ve heard “foin” (“Ah, ain’t it a foin day?”) and that means I’ve probably encountered “poin”.

    Rules or not, it’s all what folks are saying.

    It occurs to me that someone out there moight be rolling their oyes at all this nitpicking. To them, I say “Boight me.”


  12. Like I say, the hard consonant-soft consonant dichotomy was reported to have been uncovered in some kind of research into PEI English and then conveyed to me in a course about the English language. I have generally found it to be accurate. The “s” sound in oice is a hard (or unvocalized) consonant whereas the “sound” in “eyes” is vocalized like the letter “z”. Its only a “rule” in the sense of a generalization. I certainly am not advocating that there is or should be a “standard” PEI English. Whatever is spoken and understood is good enough for me.


  13. We should be critisizing how Ontarians and Vancouverites talk. Those yankee wannabees have made a Mockery of both the Queens English and Canadian(Eastern Maritime) English. They sound like middle schoolers trying to be cool for the first time.


  14. I was waiting for the Oiland chip to come out. You can’t say anything about PEI without someone barking “it’s worse elsewhere – never been but I’m sure as shit!”


  15. I’ve been. And, you’re right, it’s not worse everywhere else. Just Ontario and Vancouver. Friggin New Brunswick is better then those hell holes (not really).
    I’m sick of whiny shitbags who think that our culture is a fucking joke. I’m not saying this directly to you , Alan. I just get the sense that there is a lack of respect for almost anything Maritime. I personally was shocked at the amount of predujust toward’s the East when I lived in the west.
    Most had no idea of the Geography (Names of provinces and cities), and absolutely no sense of the culture. I got the impression from most that they felt the Maritimes are holding the rest of the country back with their old fashioned outdated methods. Wasn’t that long ago that we held the country together with fishing and agriculture while they were figuring out how to build a shelter. Then they get the oil and La-di-da, look who’s all hot now.
    We all, including me, loose sight that we are one country. For better or worse.

    And please(if you can) forgive my ignorance. It’s just when I see something like Air Farce, I think that’s how all Shitbags in Ontario are. Hollow, humourless, tired, self rightous, out of touch and stupid.

    None of this is directed towards you , Alan. But it almost seems that way though, doesn’t it?


  16. Fair enough but there is a big difference between “my culture is not a joke” and “yours is shit” – it is only the “yours is shit thing” on the Island that busts me up. I was actually astounded, coming from NS, how little PEI actually promoted it actually culture as opposed to the junior D Disnification. Hard to accept someone saying “away is crap” when they won’t speak up for what is actually good about PEI…and there is plenty. That being said, you are quite right that there is a disrespect for Atlantic Canadian culture and values in some areas on Ontario – though probably not Belleville east or the north. Folks around from around Aurora or Kitchener and beyond are just stunned about stuff like that so I do not even bother there. Air Farce is no better – actually it is the crappiest show on TV but no one in the CBC has the guts to admit it.

    That being said PEI ought to and can do better represeting itself (and could start with keeping Nathan Wiley away from the rest of us as well as sharp knives) with telling the real story like, I think it is fair to say, Nova Scotia was able to move to beginning with Helen Creighton in the ’30’s and on through the legitimization of Cape Breton music and south shore folk art. Sooner or later Nils and I will write a good play about the Belfast Riots and that poet (wuzzisname?) who was ran off the Island for writing about it. The real is a much better tale. Tell that and people will believe as they do with Alistair McLeod and the Scots of Cape Breton’s tales. But keep cracking out the LL Monty crap (let’s be honest) and you may find Air Farce will still not be far behind.


  17. C’mon now guys! Aren’t you forgetting something…?
    Edmonton is a Suck-hole too. Most of my evidence is by proxy, though I did have the opportunity to feel by soul being sucked away during a brief visit to shop for some treeplanting gear.


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