a recent meeting of a Statutory Commission, the conversation
turned to the differences between UK English and the mangling
thereof, which is referred to on computers as US English,
and then the discussion turned to the marvellous and wonderful
creativity of the way we speak as Trinbagonians, which is
actually referred to on some computers as Trinidad and Tobago
To find it, you open your Microsoft Word program and pull
down the tools menu and go to the language option and look
under English, scroll down and voila, there it
is, Trinidad and Tobago English.
What exactly is Trinidad and Tobago English? The English language
is such a living dynamic thing, in a constant state of evolution
that it is a testament to our ingenuity that Microsoft has
designated a special category for us. And it is a great thing,
this vernacular of ours.
While of course we must always be able to speak the Queens
English, there are times when the occasion demands or we just
love to revel in the richness, beauty and quaintness of the
colloquial, which contains some words and phrases that are
so uniquely Trinbagonian that we are in effect crafting our
One is not quite sure how the good folks at Microsoft compiled
their information but lets explore in the form of a
fictional narrative, some of the words and sayings that make
us undoubtedly Trinidadian.
Readers are invited to respond and send me their own lists
of words and phrases of Trini lingo,.
At the concession stand at the movies, John says, yes,
ah want a Cokes to go with that order. He then turns
to Jerry and says, boy them chips real cripsy yuh know.
Ah wonder if de flim start as yet? Jerry responds, I
aint really sure. I worrying about de old man, he went
for he x-tray this morning and things looking real bad with
John: Like is one ting after another wid your
family. Is not just last week yuh mudder had to take out she
Jerry: Yes and dat was just after she come from Court
where she went to help me brudder apply for a reducement of
he bail, but dey didnt bring him down from de Raymond
Yard. An I has race down de road to make sure we reach
to Court on time, boy it was X to board all de way. An
when ah reach dey ah had to reverse back up St Vincent Street
to get a park. I aint sure why dey holding him so long,
but de lawyer say he go show me what charge dey have on de
John: Huh boy, dat is stress yes. Ah wonder what time
dis kick-up go start?
Jerry: You only worried about time, time, time. How
you in ah rush so? Like you is a Russhian?
John: No boy ah hear dis flim real good. Dey say one
ah de Chinee man try to kick down tree men and end up making
ah belly flop in ah pool. An it wasnt no star
like Jackie Chang it was a big fat bobooloops man.
Jerry: But where dem two pushing going up to de head
ah de line? Like dem feel dey is two big sawatee? Dem always
doing dat, pushing deyself in between like Wednesday.
John: Dat is when dey have no broughtupsy. Dey feel
de rest ah we foolish like we born in de last shower of rain.
Talking bout rain, look how it raining bucket-a-drop
Jerry: How you eating dat hot dog chirrup-chirrip like
dat? Like you aint have no appetite?
John: Well de way you quaff down yours like you have
ah appe-slack, you know how you lickrish?
Jerry: Loook, look, look, across dey, dat is not Fredo
dey trying to look bouge? An he dey posing wid de outside
ting. Oh gosh dont stare down de man so, yuh have
to kinda look sideways.
John: Well you looking sideways so much you go end up
wid ah coki-eye. De man come out for ah evening wid his doux
doux an he making style. He so sharp he could cut butter.
Jerry: The man trying to look sharp and he have dat
big zug in he haed an he shirt ramfle so? He better
hope he wife aint home sharpening ah 3-canal waiting
on him. You know how she like to use ah guilpin. She graduate
from beating him wid de bilna, and de coceyea broom, now she
does planass him wid de cutlass.
John: Boy ah find something smelling ah lil bit
funny in dis line. Like somebody vamping.
Jerry: Oh gorm is true. Ah now get ah whiff. It smelling
pugnacious and hibunctious.
John: You using big words like you feel yuh talking
on ah suspicious occasion. Ah feel is dat obzokee looking
woman up in front.
Jerry: Buh like you is a macumere man or what? Why yuh
so mauvais lange? If she was thin and marasmie looking yuh
would ah never say dat.
John: You know dem fellas always in some ruction and
kang katang. Ah tink dey did get some Court order and
ah Bayleef did go in with police and ramsack de place. Dem
fellas was complaining about dey renumeration.
Jerry: Now is who trying to use big words? Aint
Sprangalang used to be wid dem?
John: Ah not sure, but talking bout dat, it have
some sprangers up by me, dey real distressing everybody. If
ah ketch one ah dem pipers in me yard, ah have a piece ah
two by four soaking dey for dem. Ah go cross one on he back.
He go get it vups, waddap, baps. He go bawl like ten Tarzan.
Yuh know how dem fellas does move vike vie, well when ah done
wid him, he go be sober like ah judge.
Jerry: As yuh say Judge, mih brudder have to go back
before de Judge on Monday.
John: Judge, yuh mean de Magistreet?
Jerry: Yuh know wat ah mean, all ah dem is de same ting,
dem is part ah de judication. Ah feel we go have to get Israel
Khan or one ah dem high falutin lawyers for de matter. Remember
he did do de case wid de zaboca teif? Ah mean, I aint
saying meh brudder is a tief. He just get ketch in a
lil small ting down in one ah dem stores on Frederick
Street but he tell me he learn he lesson, because he say he
thought de guard was looking de odder way.
John: So wha lesson he learn?
Jerry: Never to trust ah cokey-eye guard.
John: Boy all yuh is real tears yes, anyway turn off
yuh fone, and stop de conversating, de show going and start,
we goin an talk Chinee talk now in dis kick up,
enough ah dis Trini talk.