- The English they speak 5. The island’s traditions
- The tracks of the other world 6. A safe place for disappearing animals
- Traces of ancient wildlife 7. A multi-coloured place
- A place between Europe and Britain 8. It is not about the colour!
A. The Isle of Wight is considered to be the largest island of England. The island measures about 380 square km, of which about half is an area of outstanding natural beauty. This paradise is located in the English Channel which separates the continent and Great Britain. About 140,000 people live on the island and, due to its beauty and convenient location, several million people visit it each year.
B. The accent of the Isle of Wight is similar to the traditional dialect of southern England. While speaking, the natives of the island drop some consonants and put an emphasis on longer vowels. The Isle of Wight has its own local and regional words. Some of their words (e.g. grockle – visitor, tourist and nipper – a younger male person) are used in the neighbouring areas of the mainland too.
C. There are many red squirrels which are the only squirrel native to the British Isles. However, there are few of them left on the mainland now. Red squirrels are being replaced by American grey squirrels. The grey squirrels carry the deadly para pox virus, which is fatal to the reds. The strait between the island and the mainland provides a barrier to grey squirrels. It is illegal to bring a grey squirrel onto the island, with a penalty of two-year’s imprisonment.
D. The Isle of Wight is often said to be the most ghostly island in the world. There you can find everything – from ghost monks and grey ladies to ghost murderers and their victims on the island! There are ghost-ships out at sea, and even a ghost-train still running on long vanished rails. It’s no wonder that it attracts thousands of ghost hunters every year.
E. The Isle of Wight is not large, but it has lots of sights to see. One of the most well-known places is Alum Bay which is famous for the sand on its beach. The sand is of different colours – from red to purple, from brown to white. Tourists usually buy a glass paperweight with stripes of coloured sand, and take it back home as a souvenir. From Alum Bay you can also see The Needles, the legendary chalk rocks that rise up from the ocean floor.
F. The Isle of Wight has recently been declared the Dinosaur capital of the UK! The land which forms the island was once the perfect home for dinosaurs. More than 25 different species were found on the small island including the largest British dinosaur, the Sauropod. In 2009, five-year-old Daisy Morris discovered the remains of an undiscovered species on the beach, which has been named after her – the Vectidraco (Dragon of the Wight) Daisymorrisae!
G. The correct spelling of the island’s name is Wight not White. Wight is a Middle English word that was used to describe a creature or living being. There are many stories about how and why the island got its name, most of them seem reasonable. The experts, however, do not have a common opinion. The only thing that can be said with any degree of certainty is that it has nothing to do with the colour of the chalk cliff and the island should not be spelt the Isle of White!