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!”
Aloe vera plant.
“Put aloes on yuh hair.”
To get upset. (In standard English, “miffed”)
“Mi dear, she get highly amiffted.”
Something in addition to. (In standard English, “another”)
“She gone fuh anudder one.”
To excuse or give an apology.
“Please have me apolicated.”
Difficulty or confusion.
“More apsy-clapse fuh us.”
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”
A sudden feeling of being unwell.
“Uh guh uh baadfeelin.”
“Dem too badminded.”
To speak about someone in a negative way; to gossip.
“He does badtalk she.”
A mischievous, rude person.
“Look at dah bajang!”
To be bald.
“He gah a shiny ball-head.”
“Dem mudda gah two bandoo legs.”
An overcast sky with dark clouds indicating rain.
“The East bank-up”
A long curved pipe used as a wind instrument.
“Play dat barhar!”
“She come wid uh barrage uh tings.”
A large metal tub used for washing and bathing.
“Go put dem clothes in de bath-pan.”
A bass instrument made using an inverted bath-pan with a string attached to a stick.
“Dah bath-pan sound sweet nuh.”
To throw stones at an object/thing.
“Don’t battle the fowls!”
To cry loudly.
“She bawl long tears.”
To shout in anger; to scream.
“Why yuh bawl out at de chile?”
Locally grown beans.
“I gine cook some rice and bean peas for lunch.”
A sac filled with old clothes and used as a bed on the floor.
“Dah bed sac need to wash!”
To belong to.
“Dem chirren belongce to de woman from down de road.”
Something to attend to; tasks.
“Da yuh bidness.”
To praise someone.
“Big-up to mi boy from long time.”
To become constipated from eating too much carbohydrates.
“No more bread fuh you cause yuh gonna get bind.”
To hit forcefully.
“He bittle him bad.”
A blue cuboid-shaped bar of soap that is used to wash clothes.
“Rub some blue soap on de clothes.”
“He does play de Bonja in de scratch band.”
“Put some booloonjee on yuh plate.”
“He boot-up in me!”
“I wanna borry dah dere.”
A boundary; an object that demarcates a division of land based on ownership.
“He put down he boung today.”
Ground for cultivation/Arable land.
“I goin’ Gaulin Bottom to plant some bean peas”
An intelligent person.
“She de brainser in de family.”
Behaviour that is not classy.
“She too broad paaish buddy.”
A nickname for an older brother.
“Love you too, bubba.”
A response made when frustated; a sarcastic word used in place of a person’s name.
“Wa wrong wid you buddy?!”
“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.