Learning the Island Slang

Written by: BETH RHIND

 

The longer I live on a rock, the more I come to understand about the lifestyle, the culture, and how to get around. Having been here for almost a year now, the local slang, which stumped me from the start, is finally beginning to click in my brain.

I work at a local school, and I’m the only foreigner. I often find myself stuck in conversations where I only understand about half of what the other person is saying. Some of the teachers have even come to spot when I’m not getting it. I must have a confused look plastered on my face because they’ll kindly stop mid-sentence and say, “She doesn’t get it, talk slower.” I will get the occasional eye roll, like it’s a big chore to repeat themselves, but most are thankfully willing to adjust to my presence.

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I almost feel like I’m learning a whole new language even though they are, in fact, speaking English. I have to concentrate so hard on what everyone is saying (including my students) that by the end of my day, I find that I often just need silence – and maybe some rum punch. (Side note: somehow, take it from me, two drinks does make it easier to understand things though…)

As I’ve started to understand more of what’s being said around me, I’ve picked up some new words and phrases that I enjoy throwing into conversation, much to the amusement of my peers and students. Here are a few of my favorites:

To lime

Translation: to hang out / chill

Vexed

Translation: mad / angry / perturbed

Mash-up

Translation: broken (No, this is not a song mashup!)

Done dress

Translation: I will be dressed and ready to go.

Relish

Translation: meat (This has been the weirdest one for me yet!)

  –   –   –

In my early island days, when someone would say, “Current gone”, my first reaction was a blank stare while I searched for the water current I assumed they were referring to. Now? I know the power is out – and feel pretty proud of that.

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The funniest side effect of me spending my days as I do is that my volume has increased. My husband says I yell like a local, and I have to remind him sometimes that I’m not mad, just talking in a way I now consider normal (almost). I have caught myself saying “yea” or “boy” in the island way and have been surprised to find that when I do throw on an accent unintentionally, people here are often more likely to talk to me and help me out.

My husband doesn’t get nearly as much time to lime around with the locals as I do, so I’ve become his translator. As I continue to adopt the ways of my rock, who knows what’ll be next? Perhaps I’ll go home with some funky dreads, although I’m sure my family would be pretty vexed about that…

What are your favorite island phrases you’ve picked up from your rock?

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Beth Rhind

About Beth Rhind

Beth is a newbie rock girl. She moved to her island in January and is now living the life of a Nevis wife, blogging about her island adventures. When she isn’t cooking or doing dishes, she can be found attacking the hills on her island with running and trying to live a new stress-free life. She hails from the far north and has been glad to escape family drama, snowy winters, and get her tan on – though she is quickly learning her dream of living on an island isn’t all about that tan. She used to spend her summers at a cottage so she figures island living will be a walk in the park… except for more bugs, rolling blackouts, and having monkeys in your backyard.

Keeping up with her master’s degree online and volunteering with children with special needs on the island, she is starting to settle into her new life.She spends her days making nice with the locals, learning the ins and outs of the island, and driving around her rock multiple times a day.

She is here while her husband is attending medical school, and she is quickly learning what it means to be the wife of a med student… on a rock. You can read more about her adventures on her personal blog, www.neviswife.blogspot.com.

CURRENT ROCK OF RESIDENCE: Nevis

ISLAND GIRL SINCE: January 2015

ORIGINALLY HAILS FROM: Ontario, Canada

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23 thoughts on “Learning the Island Slang

  1. You need to add.
    Me arm. Pronounced as on word meaning. I like or I don’t like. I know or I don’t know. It hurts or does not hurt. Just a word that has no meaning but means whatever.
    Eg. Me arm look pon dat. Meaning. Look at what she/he is wearing/carrying/doing.

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