‘Talking Stratian’: New book highlights Montserrat’s unique dialect

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The vibrant and idiosyncratic Montserratian vernacular – which has Antiguan influences – has been encapsulated in a new book.

Montserratian former journalist and producer with the BBC World Service Mike Jarvis and wife Sylvannie, a teacher, recently published ‘Talking Stratian’, now available on Amazon.

“Stratian, the native language of the people of Montserrat in the Caribbean, is a vibrant vernacular of words and phrases that describe and illustrate almost every imaginable situation,” Jarvis, who lives in London, says.

“The Antiguan influences in the language are quite prominent – except for the accent – due to long-standing family ties, travel etc. My background on my mother’s side is Antiguan,” he tells Observer.

Pronounced ‘Stra-shan’, the language continues to evolve.

“It’s live, dynamic and adaptable. New words and phrases continue to emerge and merge into this wonderful mosaic,” a release said.

“It’s a veritable melting pot of locally created, imported, adopted and adapted elements of West African, English, Irish, and liberally sprinkled and seasoned with flavourings of other Caribbean words and phrases, especially from Antigua, Trinidad and Jamaica.

“From an underground language of resistance, Stratian has survived being frowned on by the local elite and has become the foundation of Montserrat’s unique culture.”

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