Leeward Caribbean Creole English

Antiguan English Creole
Antiguan Creole
Saint Kitts Creole
Native toAntigua and Barbuda
Native speakers
150,000 (2001–2011)[1]
English Creole
  • Atlantic
    • Eastern
      • Southern
        • Northern Antilles
          • Antiguan English Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-3aig
Linguasphere52-ABB-apf to -apm
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Leeward Caribbean Creole English, is an English-based creole language consisting of several varieties spoken on the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Nevis, and Saint Kitts.

There are subtle differences in the language's usage by different speakers, and islanders often use it in combination with Standard English. The tendency to switch back and forth from Creole to Standard English often seems to correlate with the class status of the speaker. Persons of higher social status tend to switch between Standard English and Creole more readily, due to their more extensive formal education in the English-language school system. Creole usage is more common, and is less similar to Standard English, as speakers descend the socioeconomic ladder. This is an example of a Creole continuum.

Many Creole words are derived from English or African origins. The creole was formed when slaves owned by English planters imitated the English of their enslavers but pronounced it with their own inflections. This can be easily seen in phrases such as "Me nah go," meaning "I am not going," or in "Ent it?," presumably a cognate of "Ain't it?"


Vocabulary is widely influenced by British vocabulary, due to centuries of association with Great Britain. Examples:

  • Bonnet refers to the hood of a car.
  • Chips refers to French Fries. However, fries is commonly used as well.
  • Form is used instead of the American high school grade. (7th Grade-1st Form; 11th Grade-5th Form)
  • Car park instead of parking lot.
  • Patty for flaky folded pastry, unlike the American patty, meaning hamburger patty.
  • Mongrel is used instead of the US mutt.
  • Biscuit is used instead of the US cookie.

However, in other cases the American form prevails over the British one, due to the islands' close proximity to the United States:

  • Apartment is used instead of the British flat.
  • Elevator instead of the British lift.

Because of the influx of other Caribbean nationals to Antigua, due to natural migration and to the CSME, Antigua's everyday vocabulary is being influenced by Jamaican Creole, Bajan Creole, Guyanese Creole and Trinidadian Creole. This is even more common among the youth. Examples:

  • Yute and star meaning young man.
  • Breda (derived from Brethren and Partner) meaning close friend.
  • Sell off meaning excellent or very good.

Examples of un-derived words and phrases

  1. pickney: child
  2. pickanyegah: children
  3. ahyue: collective address in the manner of "you all" or "y'all"
  4. ah wah mek: why
  5. chupit: stupid
  6. smaddy: somebody
  7. likkle: little
  8. 'ooman: woman
  9. nyam: eat
  10. sudden/subben/leff dee 'ooman sudden/leff dee 'ooman subben: can refer to an object or thing/ leave her things alone
  11. cassy/cassie: a thorn, such as from a rosebush
  12. t'all: no, not me, not at all
  13. ah wah dee/da joke yah tarl/ah wah me ah see ya tarl: what in the world is going on?
  14. leh meh lone: leave me alone
  15. ah good/tek dat/ah baay/inna ya battum ho'al: that's good for you/take that
  16. tap lie: stop lying
  17. tap ya chupitniss: stop being silly
  18. ah true/choo: it's the truth
  19. ahnna true/choo: it's not true
  20. look yah: look here
  21. look day: look there
  22. kum ya: come here
  23. a fu you: Is it yours?
  24. move from dey: get away from there
  25. ah wat a gwaan/ wa gwaan: what's going on?
  26. luk day: look there!
  27. ah huffa daag dat?: whose dog is that?
  28. a fu you ee fah?: is it yours?
  29. e dutty: it's dirty!
  30. dadday: that
  31. day'ya: there
  32. me nuh eeben know way dadday day: I don't know where it is.
  33. gyal: girl
  34. atta: at (Example: me guh laff atta you; I am laughing at you)
  35. naal: not (Me naal do um; I am not doing that)
  36. dung: down (Bredda man, kuum dung fram ahffa pan tappa up day; Hey, get down!)
  37. yaad: (my, her, his) house (She ah go day'ya she yaad; She's going home.)
  38. min: used to indicate the past tense of a verb (example: me min nyam; I ate | Ya min cook; Did you cook? | She min day'ya sleep, She slept.)
  39. dun: strictly used to tell that something has finished (E dun?; Is it finished? | Ya dun?; Are you finished?)
  40. siddung: sit down
  41. git up: get up
  42. tun rung: turn around
  43. tun um ahn: Switch it on (Example: Tun de light ahn; Switch on the lights)
  44. tun um ahf: Switch it off
  45. gwaan/gwaan head: go ahead
  46. innaddy: in (de sudden innaddy bax; it's in the box)
  47. cunchee: countryside (he libba cunchree; He lives in the countryside)
  48. tung: town or city (usually referring to the country's capital; Example: Me ah go tung/Me a go'ah tung; In going into the city)
  49. see you: see you later
  50. jack: used to show annoyance (see you jack: See you later (with an attitude))
  51. bruk: to break, broke (E bruk?; Did it break? | Muh bruk; I'm broke | She bruk um/She min bruk um; She broke it)
  52. muh nuh nuh: I don't know
  53. muh nuh; muh dun nuh: I know; I already know, I knew that already
  54. Mek she nuh go find she own man: why does she not get a man of her own?
  55. Knuckle: cheating ( something widely and frequently discussed on Antiguan Twitter)