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You say tomorrow, I say ‘tomar’

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Lady in red: Shi-Vaughn Lee was a member of Howard University’s “Showtime” Marching Band while a student there (Photograph supplied)

Bermudians have always been able to laugh at themselves.

Or so Shi-Vaughn Lee hopes.

She’s behind a series of videos gaining traction on Facebook and Instagram that poke fun at Bermudian “words”.

“Tomar”, her take on the pronunciation of tomorrow, was posted last month. Within three days it had 10,000 views and 140-plus shares.

“Basically I’m making videos of different characters enunciating Bermudian words, words that are unique to us,” said Ms Lee, a law student in London, England. “It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. My friends were over my house on a university break and we were talking about how people from school would say we’d say words differently. Somehow I ended up in the different outfits and the first video was recorded in my house.”

“Wer neen”, the Bermudian way of saying “wasn’t even” was her first attempt.

“That was so me growing up: How come ya teachers called me from school today? What mama? That wer neen me!

“I posted it on Instagram in 2015. The comments were crazy and so unexpected I decided to keep making them.”

The 21-year-old gets her ideas by listening to Bermudians — including herself — speak. Friends pitch in but she’s the star of each 30-second skit; each is shot using the video feature on a Canon camera.

“We do one clip and it’d be angled in a way so the camera is looking at me, and then we piece it together,” Ms Lee said. “It doesn’t take much time to record, 30 minutes max, and editing is usually another 30 minutes on top of that. I then send it to a few friends for approval and change things if they suggest I should.

“I usually have one friend who I talk to about what to do and that’s usually the friend who records it. I ask, ‘How do Bermudians use this? And in what context?’ We put the word in context then edit and piece it together so it looks like I’m talking to myself.”

Appropriate Bermuda scenes are used as backdrops.

“[If it’s in a public place], we try to do it when nobody is around. We don’t stop people from what they’re doing. We filmed one at Phoenix. I asked one of the people working there if I could borrow his sweater. While he didn’t ask any questions, he did look at me sceptically. I assured him I would be quick.

“I did one or two while [studying at Howard University] in DC but friends complained they didn’t look like Bermuda so now I only do them when I go home. It actually makes it more funny because people recognise the places: ‘Oh my gosh, she went there and did that!’”

Aside from a minor role in a play while a student at Somersfield Academy, she’d never really acted before. However, Ms Lee admits, she was “often the class clown”.

“I am actually shy but I was always the child with all the mouth,” she said. “It got me in a lot of trouble. Eventually, teachers [understood] I was just being Shi-Vaughn.”

Look for the videos on Instagram @bermudiansbelike or on her Facebook page.