Writing Trini Talk

While the natives speak easily dialect, it is far from being organized into a standard written form. "Proper English" remains the "first language" to the majority of people when communicating formally in speech or writing. Newspapers, as the main source of communicating the written word, rarely resort to dialect unless the words have become indigenised to the point that they're generally accepted as parts of speech.

"Mas", "lime", "scrunt" and "fete" are examples of words that have been adopted as acceptable words with precise meanings. As such, local writers have come around to standardising many of the dialect words, often putting an apostrophe for dropped prefixes or suffixes, as in "Ah comin' now to hunt de 'gouti". Words like "gyul", "nex", and "jes", along with "ah", "mih" and "yuh" are accepted as such.

While there remain differing viewpoints on the spelling of many dialects words, such as "calloloo" and "dhalpuri", time will no doubt determine which way the standard will be set as more students of language formalize the study.

How To Pronounce Trini Words

The best way to learn to talk "Trini", the street language of Trinidad and Tobago, is to listen to a native complete with his/her inflections and intonations in order to capture the correct accents. The end result is a delightful sing-song that is the country's own unique musical form.

Here are some examples of "Trini"- expressions:

Good bless mih eye-sight...

it's so good to see you, it's been so long..I'm so happy!

Ah better chalk yuh foot..

a display of welcome for the first-time visitor to a home or building

God wear pyjamas but He don't sleep..

someone is taking stock of all the foolishness, so take heart or beware.

God is not a Bajan..

there is justice after all, God does not have a nationality.

Dat and God face you will never see..

A curse that relegates the offender to the worst possible future.

You cyar chook down God with bamboo..

God is not there at your beck and call nor does he exist to fulfill your whims.

When cock get teet..

Something that is impossible and will never happen.

One day, one day, congotay..

Sooner or later, the day of reckoning will arrive and then you'll know.

Dat doh change de price of cocoa..

Nothing makes a difference to the state of affairs as it is.

Is trouble make monkey eat pepper..

Watch that you do not get yourself in hot water by looking for problems.

Words are wind, blows are unkind...

Ole talk does not matter. It is not tangible. Getting physical, however, is another matter.

De eyes of de Master fatten de calf...

People working with you will respond or perform stronger than people who are not related in that way.

Jigger foot clear de way, rockstone comin' down...

Be careful if you are vulnerable. You can be harmed, so watch out.

Who de cap fit, pull string...

If what is taking place is of relevance to you, do something about it and take warning.

Making track for 'gouti to run on..

Making it easy for someone else to take advantage of your hard work and claim all the reward.

Spit in the sky, it go fall back in yuh eye...

Wrong deeds will return to confront you.

And finally a word list examples:

Skylark - to fool around

Commess - confusion

Bobolee - someone who is taken advantage of

Coskel - to describe someone who wears brightly colored clothing that does not match

Boobooloops - a fat/overweighted person

Dingolay - to dance

Bazodie - stupid, crazy

Maga - skinny, thin

Obzokee - a very ugly/fat person

Chinkey - a very tiny/small person

Tabanca - a state of depression that occurs when a relationship has been terminated

Locho - a lazy or lame person

Maco - inquisitive

Patois - dialect of a combination of French and English

Doux doux/dotish- stupid

Maljo - superstitios belief or curse

Gobar - word to describe a stupid sentence, phrase or paragraph

Vex - angry

Boldface - greedy, selfish

Kunumunu - idiot

Backside - bottom

Lime - "hang out"/ go out with your friends

Bacchanal - confusion

Fête - party

Juk/chook - poke

Cuss - to curse someone/talk bad of someone

Wining - oscillation of waist and lower body

Grining - slow oscillation of the waist and lower body

Licks/whopping - beat

Gyal - girl

Cyah - cannot

Bèbè - dumb

Blah - plain looking

Woo papa - an exclamation when something grand has happened

Dougla - of the Indian race and the Negro race

Gimmeh sweet eye- wink your eye

Pips - flirt

Set meh up on de ting- someone to make an introduction

Tired/lame - stupid boy

Creole - Negro, black

Sed man - fair skin color

Bosodee - stupid, confused

Dry - skinny

Source: Marte Kristiansen and friends from El Dorado Secondary Comprehensive School