The US island that speaks Elizabethan English

I’d never been called a dingbatter until I went to Ocracoke for the first time. I’ve spent a good part of my life in North Carolina, but I’m still learning how to speak the ‘Hoi Toider’ brogue. The people here just have their own way of speaking: it’s like someone took Elizabethan English, sprinkled in some Irish tones and 1700s Scottish accents, then mixed it all up with pirate slang. But the Hoi Toider dialect is more than a dialect. It’s also a culture, one that’s slowly fading away. With each generation, fewer people play meehonkey, cook the traditional foods or know what it is to be mommucked.

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6 Responses to The US island that speaks Elizabethan English

  1. Edward says:

    Very interesting read

  2. The Jannie says:

    Amongst other warships, the people of Ocracoke, God bless them, regularly commemorate HMS Bedfordshire, a British minesweeper sunk off there during WWII. The lost members of the crew who were found were buried in Ocracoke cemetery.

  3. Williams Botan says:

    I ran into this while I was working a project at the Elizabeth City CG Station about 20+ years ago. Went to a local plumbing (and other) supply company for some pipes, etc. Told the clerk what I needed and couldn’t understand a word he said in reply. Turned to a coworker who knew the area and he acted as a translator. He explained to me that there are parts in costal eastern NC where that is the dialect that is used. Great people but sometimes you have a hard time communicating.
    Much like the “Pineys” in Southern NJ.
    Funny though, the flora and fauna are similar in both areas – low to medium sine trees and very independent people. I have worked in both areas.

  4. SgtBob says:

    My youngest was at a place on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where all, black and white, speak a dialect Casey said he could absolutely not understand. Don’t remember the name of the place.

  5. Jack Russell says:

    Dingbat is still in use colloquially in some parts of Britain. Generally meaning someone who is a bit silly or foolish. I use the word fairly regularly.

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