English is St Helena’s first language, however, due to our descent from a concoction of nations, our tongue has evolved into a unique way of speaking. English speaking visitors may find it hard to understand parts of our dialect. It may be surprising to hear but even in an island as small as St. Helena there used to be (and perhaps still are) regional dialects between the different districts on the island.
In 2015 a book was published by Creative Saint Helena (with the support of the Saint Helena Community Development Organisation) entitled “Speaking Saint”. Can at it here from Amazon.co.uk –
Speaking Saint: Yarns from the island
‘Proper’ english pronunciation
Canned fizzy drink
Couple (several – can be 2 or more)
Couple (meaning 2)
How are you
Bye/see you later
Who you is?
Who are you?
A bit of
Gorn (“he gorn home”)
How you? (reply: “not too bad luvie”
How are you?
Not it a while
Not for a while yet
Next (next side)
Oh look (Indignant exclamation)
Amazement (‘oww nuff rain!’ or ‘oww how dat?’)
Exasperation (i.e. ‘phew ya, it some hot!’)
Oh go on now