Harbour Island is known to the locals as BRILAND. This word comes from the way English is spoken there… it’s not the English those in the “states” are familiar with… and at times it is almost impossible to understand. Bahamian English is a mixture of the British Queen’s diction, African influence and island dialect. The “h” is often dropped, so it sounds like “ouse” for “house” or “t’anks” for “thanks.” The dialect and idioms were influenced by African slaves, English Puritans and other settlers. Because of this combination, you hear a unique language found only in the Bahamas. Interestingly, most of the British who settled this area were Loyalists who were ousted from the newly-formed Republic after the English lost the American Revolution. Many of those men and their families had been in the Americas for decades and England was no longer home. They were offered homesites in nearby areas still controlled by the British, like the Bahamas. In fact, Harbour Island did not receive independence from Great Britian until 1973!
Therefore, if you say Harbour Island quickly and repeatedly, you can see how the blended words become “Briland.”
Enjoy my photos of this unique blended culture… bright colors, warm people, good food and lots of sunshine!
My next post will be on fishing the local waters… stay tuned.
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