Curiosity

There’s A U.S. Island That Speaks A Version Of Elizabethan English

Less than 1,000 people actually live there!

America is a country where many languages are spoken — English, of course, as well as Spanish, French, Mandarin, Cantonese and the list goes on and on. Not all our languages or dialects are so well-known, however. One island off the coast of North Carolina has its own unique dialect called Hoi Toider that is quite rare.

Hoi Toider, also called High Tider, is spoken on Ocracoke Island, located on the Outer Banks. Land on the small island is primarily owned by the National Park Service, so less than 1,000 people actually live there (although it blossoms with tourists during the summer). It’s particularly the island’s old-timers who speak the dialect, approximately 150 people in total, according to Babbel magazine.

Ocracoke and Hoi Toider History

According to Ocracoke Island’s official website, the original inhabitants were believed to be a group of Native Americans called the Woccocock. The name “Ocracoke” is thought to be a mispronunciation of “Woccocock,” in fact.

During the mid-1700s, a British sailor purchased the island from another colonist, and a dialect comprising the various languages that different residents spoke was born. Babbel magazine suggests that it sounds the most like Southeastern English regional dialects in the U.K.