Tuesday, September 20, 2011


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.


  1. Jack and Toni Walls8:34 AM

    Just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know that our recent trip to Ocracoke was the best vacation we have had by far. The show at Deepwater Theater on Monday, You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet! and the 2 Ghost Walks were a huge part of why we enjoyed it so much.
    Amy, Dave and you do such a wonderful job of educating the visitors to the history of the island we love. Thank you for helping us to feel a part of it - if only for a week each year.
    Looking forward to seeing you all next year!
    Jack and Toni Walls

  2. Anonymous11:58 AM

    Where else but OI journal could I discover the real truth...I'm an offshore dingbatter.

  3. Anonymous12:20 PM

    Slow in office, so was checking island webcams. At 12:15PM (9/20/11) - Airport webcam, looks like 3 vintage WWII aircraft or later sitting on tarmac. Philip know what or who’s they are??

  4. Anonymous12:46 PM

    aka, "out to lunch," "off the wall" and out in left field?"

  5. Anonymous2:37 PM

    This Core Sounder understands the meaning of "offshore". Love this blog "pal".

  6. Re. the WWII aircraft: I never saw them...don't know anything about them. Maybe someone else does.

  7. Jack & Toni, thank you for the kind words. We all appreciate visitors like you who take an interest in our community and our heritage. See you next year!

  8. Julie S.9:11 AM

    Will be on the island last week of October. Will you and Amy still be entertaining? Loved the Ghost/History Walk last year. Thanks.

  9. All shows at Deepwater Theater will be over at the end of September. Amy & I will be doing Ghost & History Walks in the fall most Tuesdays & Fridays if we have a minimum of 8 people. When you arrive on the island, please check at Village Craftsmen on Howard Street for the latest information.

  10. Anonymous8:29 AM

    I cherish the genuine Hoi Toide brogue when I hear it on the island. It's as much a part of Ocracoke as the Lighthouse. Such deep roots.....hope my ears will always be delighted with this unique and authentic Ocracoke dialect whenever I'm blessed to be there in person.