Understanding Caribbean Creole
The spoken English of the Caribbean people is influenced by the Jamaican, Bahamian, Haitian and Dominican dialects, and many of the locals speak a Creole English with distinct Dominican and French influences.
Caribbean creole is clearly a different language to itself!
French speaking people can't understand the Haitian "Patois" and English-speaking cannot understand creole of the Bahamas, Virgin Islands and Turks & Caicos Islands.
Bahanian creole bears litle resemblence to English
Who Diss or Who Dat?
I was in an office building in the Caribbean and I heard someone ask over the phone “Hoo Diss”?
Caribbean Creole is often heavy contractions. For example, when they answer the telephone they say “Hoo diss?”
Axing “Hoo Diss?” is a contraction for “To whom am I speaking please?”
We also see the variation of "Hoo dat?"
In the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands they have a special English Creole. It’s all English, but it’s been changed so much that it’s not recognizable as English at all!
The Creole varies widely, sometimes by island!
For example, on South Caicos Island, many of the islanders pronounce the “v” sound with a “w” as in:
“We walue our wictory” for “We value our victory”.
Other unique Turks and Caicos Islands Creole words include:
- Ax: You always Ax a question, never “Ask”.
- Buck: To meet/met. Example: “Ya Mon, I buck Joe at Hemingway’s”.
- Ga: Got. Example: “I ga a new shut”.
- Gee: To give, as in “I gee her a new shut”.
- I’een: A contraction for “I am not.” Example: “I’een going to Turtle Cove tonight”.
- Sak Passe: A Haitian greeting literally meaning “What's Up?”
- Shut: Shirt. Example: “Ya Mon, I like your shut”.
- Yeah Man: From the Jamaican “Ya Mon” phrase for “Yes”.
- Tree Man: As in “There are tree man at da store”.
For more on understanding Caribbean Creole, see my book “Turks and Caicos Insider Adventures”.