Visitors to Ocracoke are fascinated by the local dialect...if they have an opportunity to hear it. In the busy summer months many of the clerks and salespeople at local stores are college students on summer holiday, or other folks who have moved here from the mainland. But if you buy shrimp or clams from James Barrie Gaskill out of his truck parked near Albert Styron's store, or meet one of the native fishermen, or chat with an island-bred motel owner you will definitely be introduced to the "Hoi Toide" brogue.
In addition to accent, islanders also use a number of unique words and expressions. One colorful word is "offshore." Besides the obvious definition, it also means "crazy, silly, or outlandish." As Walt Wolfram and Natalie Shilling-Estes explain in Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks, The Story of the Ocracoke Brogue, offshore is "a metaphorical extension of the literal use of the term offshore.... If someone is particularly outlandish, Ocracokers might say 'He's offshore and can't get back in.'"
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of the marine hospital on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092111.htm.