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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


adjective    Malicious; envious  “Dem too badminded.”


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.”


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


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!”


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


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


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


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


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.”


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Broad paaish

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


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


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


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


adverb    Completely. “I clean forget.”


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


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  


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.

Don't forget to share this post!