When guests visit Turks and Caicos for their first time, they are often surprised that English is the official language here. Being as Turks and Caicos is a territory of the United Kingdom, nearly everyone in Turks and Caicos speaks at least some English.
The influx of foreigners from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and some parts of Europe means that you’ll hear many different dialects here.
While there are notable differences between each, when you visit Turks and Caicos, you’ll occasionally hear a mix of Creole dialects used in the common phrases, slang and lingo spoken by many of our locals. Following are a few examples you might hear during your visit:
What Ya Doing?
What da wybe is?: What’s up?
Een nothin: Nothing much
I straight: It’s all good
Ga/Goin/Gern/Gun Go/Goin: Go/going
Wewoise or back-back: To go in reverse (drive in reverse)
Buck: Meet or met
To wok: To work/at work
Mes/Mèsi: Thank you
Bon swé: Good night
Bon jou: Good day
Belonger: A term that native residents of Turks and Caicos use to refer to themselves as
Big eyed: Greed/greedy
Biggety: Bold, pretentious, showy
Big up: Pregnant
Break: No money/broke
Bust up: Intoxicated/drunk
Jam up: Busy
Musse: Must be
Penn on: Depends on
Switcha: Lemonade or limeade beverage
Me Myself and I…
Iyz (pronounced as eyes): I am
I een: I’m not
I gun: I’m going to
Een: Aren’t/is not/isn’t/don’t
Ya: You or Your
Yusse (pronounced as use): You are
Yinna: You all
All a Ya: All of you
Ah own: Ours
Weez: We are
He own: His
Har own: Hers
Dey Own: Their own
While the above isn’t a complete list of commonly used Bahamian and Turks and Caicos Creole, we hope it inspires you to engage with our friendly locals and even have fun using a bit of the local lingo when the opportunity arises (such as ordering a glass of “Switcha”).
Check out these resources for more examples of locally-spoken Creole dialects and Caribbean proverbs and sayings:
Turks and Caicos Creole: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turks_and_Caicos_Creole
Bahamian Creole: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahamian_Creole
Common phrases: http://caribya.com/turks.and.caicos/languages/
Caribbean proverbs and sayings: http://wiwords.com/sayings
Caribbean Dictionary: http://wiwords.com/flavours/turks-caicos
When you visit Turks and Caicos, feel free to use the language you’re most comfortable speaking. Simple etiquette including a warm smile and a friendly “hello” goes a long way with the locals and other visitors alike.
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