Anguillian Language 101
The Anguillian Language, that is to say, our syntax, grammar, pronunciation as well as vocabulary are quite different to that of Standard English – although the Official Language is English.
Below we have rules words and phrases that are common locally. Here are four quick rules when trying to understand Anguillian Language (Dialect).
- Rule 1: Subject Verb Agreement?! There is no need for that! A statement or question might sound odd to the ears at first but once you realise that grammar weighs little in dialect, you’ll get used to it.
- Rule 2: Fewer words and/or letters the better! In dialect, there’s no need to be long-winded so you might notice that a few words or letters are missing from sentences. For example, “You goin’ down dere?” or “I goin’ yes”.
- Rule 3: “Does” does have great importance in Anguillian dialect. It is used to denote actions that are habitual. For example, “He does get on my nerves”. This means that the person in question often times provokes the speaker.
- Rule 4: Knowing the little words is fundamental.
- The = De/Di
- That = Da/Dat
- There = Dere/Dey
- You/Your = Yuh
- It = Ti
- Us = We
- I; A/an; Of = Uh (pronounced like “uh” but it is not always used in the written form”)
- His = He
- Her = She
To get mixed up or confused.
“Chile don’t addle mi brains”
To be annoying.
“You so aggravating, man!”
To get upset. (In standard English, “miffed”)
“Mi dear, she get highly amiffted.”
To excuse or give an apology.
“Please have me apolicated.”
An idiomatic exclamation with a variety of inflections to suit a variety of contexts.
“Aya look wuk” | “Awya look a me wuk” | “Ayer Lawd” | “Awyer look trouble” | “Aya hear wuk”
An overcast sky with dark clouds indicating rain.
“The East bank-up”
To throw stones.
“Don’t battle the fowls!”
Locally grown beans.
“I gine cook some rice and bean peas for lunch.”
“Da your bidness.”
Ground for cultivation/Arable land.
“I goin’ Gaulin Bottom to plant some bean peas”
“You have to go pick up the chirrun from school at 3.”
“I clean forget.”
An Anguillian sweet/candy made from pulled and twisted sugar left to harden.
A traditional, sweet dumpling made of ground corn and flour mixed with spices.
Cut n’ contrive
To make ends meet/to make do with what one has.
Used loosely to denote annoyance or irritation or to describe a troublesome person.
“These mosquitoes too disgustin!”
Dung Long/Dung Along
Faraway. (Traditionally East Enders reference to The Valley)
“She from dung long.”
Source: Dictionary of Anguillian Language (1st Edition) by Ijanya Christian
More words to be added shortly…
#GrannySay Facebook Initiative
#GrannySay, a series of posts about Anguillian lingo as well as common sayings and phrases, encourages the retention of the Anguillian language and the education of locals and those who desire to visit, or have visited, the island in order to be in tuned with its culture/heritage.