Sunday 29th October, 2006

Martin George
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Trini talk

At 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 English.

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 Queen’s 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 own language.

One is not quite sure how the good folks at Microsoft compiled their information but let’s 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 ain’t really sure. I worrying about de old man, he went for he x-tray this morning and things looking real bad with he prostrate.

John: “Like is one t’ing after another wid your family. Is not just last week yuh mudder had to take out she fire broids?”

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 didn’t 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 ain’t sure why dey holding him so long, but de lawyer say he go show me what charge dey have on de incitement.”

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 wasn’t 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 outside?”

Jerry: “How you eating dat hot dog chirrup-chirrip like dat? Like you ain’t 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 t’ing. Oh gosh don’t 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 ain’t 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 li’l 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 t’ink 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? Ain’t 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 t’ing, 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 t’eif? Ah mean, I ain’t saying meh brudder is a t’ief. He just get ketch in a l’il small t’ing 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.”

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