Falkland Islands English

Falkland Islands English
Native to United Kingdom
Region Falkland Islands
Ethnicity 1,700 (2012 census)[1]
Native speakers
(presumably close to the ethnic population) 
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
A "Camp" settlement.

Falkland Islands English is mainly British in character. However, as a result of the isolation of the islands, the small population has developed and retains its own accent/dialect, which persists despite a large number of immigrants from the United Kingdom in recent years. In rural areas (i.e. anywhere outside Stanley), known as ‘Camp’ (from Spanish campo or ‘countryside’),[2] the Falkland accent tends to be stronger. The dialect has resemblances to Australian, New Zealand, West Country and Norfolk dialects of English, as well as Lowland Scots.

Two notable Falkland Island terms are ‘kelper’ meaning a Falkland Islander, from the kelp surrounding the islands (sometimes used pejoratively in Argentina)[3] and ‘smoko’, for a smoking break (as in Australia and New Zealand).

The word ‘yomp’ was used by the British armed forces during the Falklands War but is passing out of usage.

In recent years, a substantial Saint Helenian population has arrived, mainly to do low-paid work, and they too have a distinct form of English.

Spanish loanwords

The Falklands English vernacular has a fair amount of borrowed Spanish words (often modified or corrupted). These include colloquialisms such as ‘che’, also encountered in Rioplatense Spanish, and ‘poocha’ equivalent to 'damn’.[4] or ‘damn’,[5] (from pucha, a euphemism for damn or ‘wow’).[6]

They are particularly numerous, indeed dominant in the local horse-related terminology. For instance, the Islanders use ‘alizan’, ‘colorao’, ‘negro’, ‘blanco’, ‘gotiao’, ‘picasso’, ‘sarco’, ‘rabincana’ etc. for certain horse colours and looks, or ‘bosal’, ‘cabresta’, ‘bastos’, ‘cinch’, ‘conjinilla’, ‘meletas’, ‘tientas’, ‘manares’ etc. for various items of horse gear.[7]

Unlike the older English, French and Spanish place names given by mariners, which refer mainly to islands, rocks, bays, coves, and capes (points), the post-1833 Spanish names usually identify inland geographical locations and features, reflecting the new practical necessity for orientation, land delimitation and management in the cattle and sheep farming. Among the typical such names or descriptive and generic parts of names are ‘Rincon Grande’, ‘Ceritos’, ‘Campito’, ‘Cantera’, ‘Terra Motas’, ‘Malo River’, ‘Brasse Mar’, ‘Dos Lomas’, ‘Torcida Point’, ‘Pioja Point’, ‘Estancia’, ‘Oroqueta’, ‘Piedra Sola’, ‘Laguna Seco’, ‘Manada’, etc.[7]


  1. Falkland Islands Government - Census 2012: Statistics & Data Tables
  2. Stay with us » Camping: Falkland Islands Tourist Board
  3. ‘Second Class Citizens: The Argentine View of the Falkland Islanders’, P.J. Pepper, Falkland Islands Newsletter, November 1992
  4. Are there places more British than the UK?, BBC News, 8 March 2013
  5. Concise Oxford Spanish Dictionary: Spanish-English/English-Spanish
  6. El gaucho Martín Fierro, José Hernández Editorial Pampa, 1963, page 247
  7. 1 2 Spruce, Joan. Corrals and Gauchos: Some of the people and places involved in the cattle industry. Falklands Conservation Publication. Bangor: Peregrine Publishing, 1992. 48 pp.
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