Nevis Local Dialect And Phrases From A “Local Foreigner” [new blog]
People call me the “local foreigner” because I am what some may call seasoned. I’m like a local because I know people, places, understand local dialect and what’s happening on the island. I’ve been visiting Nevis since a baby. However, I’m still a foreigner because I spent the majority of my life in a big metropolitan city, or the ‘first world’ as people in Nevis call it. Here are a few more Nevis local dialect and phrases from Nevis and the Caribbean to share with you, that come up in conversations.
Nevis local dialect is not universal. Other Caribbean islands use similar dialect and phrases such as lime, trance and refer to power outage as ‘current gone’. You can read about this in my first post on this topic, Nevisian local lingo from a ‘local foreigner’ perspective.
Greeting: “Hey! What’s up? Have you spoken to Dominique?”
Response: “I good. Me call she, and she no answer.”
When Nevisians ask what’s up, they aren’t asking in a concerned way. It is more of a greeting that’s asking how are things. Similarly in England where people greet with “you alright?” Nevisians say she instead of the her or her name.
A lady says to a man, why you a barl (cry) in pain so? Maybe you should practice walking up the chuch steps. The letter ‘r’ in church is abandoned.
Boy is a common expression which people use at the beginning of a sentence. It adds a lot of effects when someone is telling a story. It is pronounced ‘bye.’ Boy, I’m just going to squeeze one in before I go home.
Persons. Although it doesn’t make grammatical sense to me, Nevisians use ‘persons‘ to describe more than one person. I was surprised to see sentences such as ‘ethnic groups are persons with divided skin colours’ written in student text books. I was explaining to one of the school children that I support with their homework, that in England we say people. His response was, that explains why teacher talks funny and says things like people (she is from England).
I’m at a bar and someone says that’s a nice shirt. Any form of top is a shirt – a t-shirt, blouse, shirt with collars, is a shirt. After I order my drink, I ask for a straw to go in my (ah hum) rum punch. The bar tender is looking at me like say what? My friend helps me out, she watss a straa. No need pronounce the letter w then. My friends Carib beer is hot, rather than warm because its room temperature. My friend wants a napkin and asks, please to pass me a napkin. Rather than ask ‘can you’ pass me a napkin? Later, my friend says “please to move from me side a me” to the person who is giving them unwanted attention.
When describing family relationships rather than say his mom and my mom are sisters, persons say, his mother and my mother are two sisters.
When you are waiting to pay for your items in the supermarket, you form a line instead of queue. Whilst waiting someone says, ayu (you all/ all of you) love to chat ‘neagra business‘. The person responds, the little ‘pickineagra‘ has no behaviour. The reason the little pickineagra forgot their homework is because ‘they been a idle’ this morning. She wilfully did it.
Most Caribbean people refer to their grandmothers as ‘Mama‘ and nearly everyone has a nickname. We call him [insert] but his right name is [insert government name]. People will say, this person is so and so but I don’t know their right name, rather than real or correct name. During conversations for emphasis you will hear watcha – meaning listen to me, or ya check? – do you understand or agree with what I am saying? A phrase used for emphasis something to express to an extent someone may say I don’t agree tarl = at all/ not at all or just respond “boy tarl”.
The 12 year old who tried to chat me up told me, I like to see you. In other words, I want to get to know you.
“The Local Foreigner”