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).
  1. 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.
  2. 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”.
  3. 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.
  4. Rule 4: Knowing the little words is fundamental.
    1. The = De/Di
    2. That = Da/Dat
    3. There = Dere/Dey
    4. You/Your = Yuh
    5. It = Ti
    6. Us = We
    7. I; A/an; Of = Uh (pronounced like “uh” but it is not always used in the written form”)
    8. His = He
    9. Her = She

Words

A  

Addle

noun    To get mixed up or confused.    “Chile don’t addle mi brains”

Aggravate

verb    To be annoying.   “You so aggravating, man!”

Alers/Aloes

noun    Aloe vera plant. “Put aloes on yuh hair.”

Amiffted

verb    To get upset. (In standard English, “miffed”)   “Mi dear, she get highly amiffted.”

Anudder

determiner, pronoun    Something in addition to. (In standard English, “another”)   “She gone fuh anudder one.”

Apolicate

verb   To excuse or give an apology.   “Please have me apolicated.”

Apsy-clapse

noun   Difficulty or confusion. “More apsy-clapse fuh us.”

Aya/Awya/Ayer/Awyer

exclamation    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”   B

Baadfeelin

adjective    A sudden feeling of being unwell.  “Uh guh uh baadfeelin.”

Badminded

adjective    Malicious; envious  “Dem too badminded.”

Badtalk

verb    To speak about someone in a negative way; to gossip.    “He does badtalk she.”

Bajang

noun   A mischievous, rude person.  “Look at dah bajang!”

Ball-head

adjective  To be bald.  “He gah a shiny ball-head.”

Bandoo

noun    Bow legs. “Dem mudda gah two bandoo legs.”

Bank-up

adjective    An overcast sky with dark clouds indicating rain.    “The East bank-up”

Barhar

noun    A long curved pipe used as a wind instrument.    “Play dat barhar!”

Barrage

adjective   Plenty. “She come wid uh barrage uh tings.”

Bath-pan

noun   A large metal tub used for washing and bathing.  “Go put dem clothes in de bath-pan.”

Bath-pan (drum)

noun   A bass instrument made using an inverted bath-pan with a string attached to a stick.  “Dah bath-pan sound sweet nuh.”

Battle

verb    To throw stones at an object/thing.   “Don’t battle the fowls!”

Bawl

verb   To cry loudly. “She bawl long tears.”

Bawl out

verb   To shout in anger; to scream.   “Why yuh bawl out at de chile?”

Bean Peas

noun    Locally grown beans.   “I gine cook some rice and bean peas for lunch.”

Bed sac

noun   A sac filled with old clothes and used as a bed on the floor. “Dah bed sac need to wash!”

Belongce

verb   To belong to.   “Dem chirren belongce to de woman from down de road.”

Bidness

verb    Something to attend to; tasks.   “Da yuh bidness.”

Big-up

verb    To praise someone. “Big-up to mi boy from long time.”

Bind

verb    To become constipated from eating too much carbohydrates. “No more bread fuh you cause yuh gonna get bind.”

Bittle

verb    To hit forcefully.   “He bittle him bad.”

Blue Soap

noun    A blue cuboid-shaped bar of soap that is used to wash clothes.    “Rub some blue soap on de clothes.”

Bonja

noun    A banjo.   “He does play de Bonja in de scratch band.”

Booloonjee

noun    An eggplant.   “Put some booloonjee on yuh plate.”

Boot-up

verb    To collide.    “He boot-up in me!”

Borry

verb    To borrow. “I wanna borry dah dere.”

Boung

noun    A boundary; an object that demarcates a division of land based on ownership. “He put down he boung today.”

Bottom

noun    Ground for cultivation/Arable land.    “I goin’ Gaulin Bottom to plant some bean peas”

Brainser

adjective    An intelligent person. “She de brainser in de family.”

Broad paaish

adjective     Behaviour that is not classy.  “She too broad paaish buddy.”

Bubba

noun     A nickname for an older brother.  “Love you too, bubba.”

Buddy

exclamation     A response made when frustated; a sarcastic word used in place of a person’s name. “Wa wrong wid you buddy?!”   C  

Chirrun/Chirren

noun    Children.    “You have to go pick up the chirrun from school at 3.”

Clean

adverb    Completely. “I clean forget.”

Cockeenya

noun    An Anguillian sweet/candy made from pulled and twisted sugar left to harden.

Conkie

noun    A traditional, sweet dumpling made of ground corn and flour mixed with spices.

Cut n’ contrive

verb   To make ends meet/to make do with what one has.   D  

Disgustin

adjective     Used loosely to denote annoyance or irritation or to describe a troublesome person.    “These mosquitoes too disgustin!”

Dung Long/Dung Along

adjective    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.

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