We are looking forward to bringing our English to a new level and would therefore love to take a sabbatical in the Caribbean (namely on the British Virgin Islands).

Which sort of English is spoken there? Is it American? British? A mixture? (We fell in love with the British accent ;-))

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    The official language in the British Virgin Islands is English, in its British incarnation, of course. The spoken language can be anywhere on a continuum from that to pure Virgin Islands Creole. I'm posting this as a comment rather than an answer because I have no first-hand knowledge of this. I do have first-hand knowledge of native English speakers from other parts of the Caribbean (Jamaica, Trinidad, Grenada, Bahamas), and their speech is neither British nor American in character, but Caribbean. – phoog Jan 26 '16 at 21:54

Caribbean English.

Caribbean English is a broad term for the dialects of the English language spoken in the Caribbean and Liberia, most countries on the Caribbean coast of Central America, and Guyana. Caribbean English is influenced by the English-based Creole varieties spoken in the region, but they are not the same.



Virgin Islands Creole, or Virgin Islands Creole English, is an English-based creole spoken in the Virgin Islands and the nearby SSS islands of Saba, Saint Martin and Sint Eustatius, where it has been known as Netherlands Antilles Creole English.

The term "Virgin Islands Creole" is formal terminology used by scholars and academics, and is rarely used in everyday speech. Informally, the creole is known by the term dialect, as the creole is often perceived by locals as a dialect variety of English instead of an English creole language. However, academic sociohistorical and linguistic research suggests that it is in fact an English creole language.

Because there are various varieties of Virgin Islands Creole, it is also known by the specific island on which it is spoken: Crucian dialect, Thomian dialect, Tortolian dialect, Saint Martin dialect, Saba dialect, Statia dialect.


Like most Caribbean creoles, the use of Virgin Islands Creole can vary depending on socioeconomic class. The middle and upper classes tend to speak it informally among friends and at home, but code switch to Standard English in the professional sphere. The lower socioeconomic classes tend to use the dialect in almost every aspect of daily life.


In this video a native speaker of the BVI version of Caribbean English demonstrates for you how certain words and phrases sound in the BVI versus Standard English.

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