How To Speak Caribbean
What marks you as a Caribbean neophyte and wet-behind-the-ears tourist even more than a raging sunburn and sandals worn with socks? Mispronouncing these common regional place names and words. Bone up on the lingo and earn some Caribbean cred with this quick guide.
BARBADOS: I’m always surprised by the Caribbean veterans I hear saying Barba-“does” (like doe, a deer). It’s Barba-DOS, as in “uno, dos, tres …”
CONCH: Pronounced “conk,” with a hard “K” at the end. Trust me, conCH is not an “alternate” name for the meaty mollusk (as someone tried to convince me recently).
OCHO RIOS: I know you think you’re all cool and stuff when you casually refer to Ocho Rios as “Ocho,” but Jamaicans never call it that. It’s “Ochi.” Always.
PLANTAIN: Those big, banana-like fruit are called plant–TENs, not plant-TAYNS. Just sayin’.
ST. LUCIA: If you really know your Pitons from your Pigeon Point, you know that the tiny isle is called Saint LOO-sha, not Loo-SEE-ya
CARIBBEAN: Is it Cari-BEE-an or Ca-RIB-bee-an? OK, this is a trick question. Both are correct, and the word is pronounced either way in different countries in the region. Trinis, for example, pronounce it the latter way; Jamaicans, for the most part, the former.