The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke, along with over fifty other smaller islands and cays. Approximately fifteen of the islands are inhabited. The largest island, Tortola, is approximately 20 km (approx. 12 mi) long and 5 km (approx. 3 mi) wide. The islands have a total population of about 22,000, of whom approximately 18,000 live on Tortola. Road Town, the capital, is situated on Tortola.
Virgin Islands Creole does not have the status of an official language. It is strictly an informal form of communication and is a constantly changing dialect filled with various slang terms and idioms. The language of government, education and the media is American English in the U.S. Virgin Islands and British English in the British Virgin Islands. In the Virgin Islands, standard English and Virgin Islands Creole both function in a fairly diglossic relationship with English as the language of high prestige and formality and Virgin Islands Creole as the spoken vernacular. Native Virgin Islanders can easily switch from English to Virgin Islands Creole depending on their mood, subject matter, or the person they are speaking to. (more...)