Anguilla Local News

Language Lessons for Visitors

[Cove Bay]

The Caribbean island of Anguilla is an English speaking country, but the local dialect of English can be puzzling for new visitors. Here is a short course in the language that was published in the Anguilla Local News.

  1. Directions.
  2. Character.
  3. Greetings, good manners.
  4. Food and agriculture.
  5. Verbs.
  6. Nouns, pronouns and prepositions.

For a jump start on your studies, buy a copy of the Dictionary of the Anguillian Language at the National Book Store in the Social Security Complex. For example, Tief - Thief. E.g. 'You too tief'--You are a thief/You like to steal.

Anguillian Language Lesson #1

This starts a series of six lessons on how to speak Anguillian. Keep in mind that we live at the East end of the island, so the language may be a little different at the West End. In Anguilla you quickly learn what above and below mean. If you don't, you will be totally confused. When you ask for someone and the answer in a one-story building is "She in the room above", look to the East, not Up. And below means toward the West End. Another way to remember this is that above is upwind in sailing.

It is much harder to find out the words for North and South. Since Anguilla is long and skinny, East and West are the more important directions. When asked what they say for "south", an Anguillian replied across, as in "across to St. Martin." When asked what they say for "north", the same person replied across. Getting directions can be difficult when you did not grow up in a place.

Anguillian Language Lesson #2

More tips on speaking Anguillian: North Americans usually think of Scamp as indicating mischevious and playful, while Wicked indicates serious evil. In Anguillian, the terms are exactly reversed in meaning. One of the worst things you can call someone is "a scamp" -- that means they are totally untrustworthy. However, you respond to a mischevious naughty comment by saying "You Wicked", which means they are slightly outrageous and funny. From the Dictionary of the Anguillian Language: Disgustin/Disgusting. Does not mean that the person or circumstance fills one with disgust. The term is used loosely to denote annoyance or irritation or to describe a mischevious or troublesome person.

Anguillian Language Lesson #3

Anguillian manners.

One more tip: strangers will wave to you as you drive around Anguilla. It is polite to way back.

From the Dictionary of the Anguillian Language: Back. - Pertaining to sexual prowess and virility. E.g. 'Sea moss/fish soup/coconut water good for man back'.

Anguillian Language Lesson #4

Agricultural terms.

From the Dictionary of the Anguillian Language: Eat - Used as "taste". Or, to pertain to texture. E.g., "Da pumpkin eat good?"

Anguillian Language Lesson #5

Here are some useful verbs. From the Dictionary of the Anguillian Language: Share out - To serve, as in 'dishin-out' food.

Anguillian Language Lesson #6

Some nouns, pronouns, and prepostions. From the Dictionary of the Anguillian Language: We - Commonly used instead of us. E.g. 'All a da wuk fuh we?'/Is all of that work for us?
Also visit Julian Nile's Local lingo page too.

You should now be able to hold your own in a conversation on Anguilla.

 Revised: January 08, 1998

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Copyright 1998. Bob Green
Anguilla Local News