Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks

The Story of the Ocracoke Brogue

By Walt Wolfram, Natalie Schilling

184 pp., 5.83 x 8.27, 20 illus., 3 tables, 5 maps, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4626-1
    Published: April 1997
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6637-5
    Published: November 2000

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As many visitors to Ocracoke will attest, the island's vibrant dialect is one of its most distinctive cultural features. In Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks, Walt Wolfram and Natalie Schilling-Estes present a fascinating account of the Ocracoke brogue. They trace its development, identify the elements of pronunciation, vocabulary, and syntax that make it unique, and even provide a glossary and quiz to enhance the reader's knowledge of 'Ocracokisms.' In the process, they offer an intriguing look at the role language plays in a culture's efforts to define and maintain itself. But Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks is more than a linguistic study. Based on extensive interviews with more than seventy Ocracoke residents of all ages and illustrated with captivating photographs by Ann Ehringhaus and Herman Lankford, the book offers valuable insight on what makes Ocracoke special. In short, by tracing the history of island speech, the authors succeed in opening a window on the history of the islanders themselves.

About the Authors

Walt Wolfram is William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of English at North Carolina State University and founder of the North Carolina Language and Life Project.
For more information about Walt Wolfram, visit the Author Page.

Natalie Schilling-Estes, who holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the project's coordinator.

For more information about Natalie Schilling, visit the Author Page.


“This book is an inspiring effort for those interested in the preservation of culture, for not only does it provide the most comprehensive record to date of the Ocracoke language and culture, but it will also serve as a guide for those who undertake comparable preservation projects.”--Southern Cultures

"Eminently readable and unfailingly interesting, the book is accessible to general readers as well as language specialists."--Choice

"A work of learning animated by a sense of fun."--Islands

"A welcome treatise on the culture of one of the state's most distinctive regional legacies."--North Carolina Historical Review

"[A] truly informative and enjoyable book."--North Carolina Libraries