As beach season seems to have arrived, I'm copying below something I got via Sue Mathias who got it from Eddie, Alison and Anna of Core Sound Seafood.
"As previewed in last week's email, I wanted to talk a little bit about the unique accent found Downeast. One of our shareholders, Carmine Prioli, is a writer who has written about the heritage of Downeast fishing culture and the challenges fishermen are facing in a beautiful book entitled Hope for a Good Season
. As part of this book, he writes about the Harker's Island dialect and I wanted to share it here.
He writes: 'Many Harkers Islanders believe their distinctive brogue is a variant of the Elizabethan English of Shakespearean times. It is true that aspects of their language, such as pronunciation, vocabulary and grammatical constructions can be traced to the British Isles, especially to eastern and southwestern England. A linguistic study by the North Carolina Language and Life Project has shown, however, that the modern Harkers Island brogue shares features with other regional dialects, including New England and mainland North Carolina. Although it often takes a trained ear to discern the subtle differences in the 'hoi toider' speech of Outer Banks communities, the current version of the Harker's Island dialect "mix" is rich with colourful expressions and vocabulary. Unlike the more widely known village of Ocracoke, where the dialect has long been influenced by tourism and a large number of transplanted residents, Harkers Island has until recently remained semi-isolated, despite the bridge connecting it to the mainland. One linguistic trait that many islanders share is saying the opposite of what they mean: 'Well, you're looking right ugly today! would actually be quite a compliment.' (Prioli, 1998)
Eddie and Alison live on Harker's Island, where Eddie was born and raised, a 4th generation fishermen. They have taught me all sorts of selected Harker's Island vocabulary. A few examples:
"gale"= a high wind, "You can't fry cornbread with a southeast gale." (Means you can't do anything with a southeast wind, not even fry cornbread at home.)
dingbatter" = any visitor or transplanted resident of Harkers Island, "We've been right much plagued with dingbatters lately."
"feesh"= fish, "Eddie's not here. He's a-feeshin' to Core Sound today."
"gadding about"=out on a day trip, visiting someone or shopping, "Alison's been a-gadding about."
"nicket"=a pinch of something when cooking, "A nicket of salt will do."
"prog"=to feel in the mud for clams with your bare feet under water, "When we were kids we used to go over to Shackleford to prog for clams."
Hope that was a bit of an introduction into part of the Harker's Island and larger Downeast culture!"