Trini Dialect

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Standing with a smile and a confused look on his face, the nice English guy from upstairs asked “What?”
I replied, “I’ll organise to suit”.
He asked, “You’ll wear a suit?”
I laughed and said “No, I’ll organise to suit”
He asked, “Organise to suit?”
I said “Yes, organise to suit”
He laughed and asked again “What?”
I asked “Ya’ll don’t say that in England?”
He replied, “No, I don’t think so.”
I said “It means that I’ll plan accordingly”
He laughed and said “Yeah, we don’t say that (organise to suit) in England”

It’s moments like the above that remind me that Trini English is not British English. So, in honour of Trininess, and in the absence of a copy of Côté ci Côté la, I’ve compiled a short list of Trini slangs, things and phrases. Please feel free to suggest more or correct me.
Thanks! 🙂

Waz de scene jed?
How are things going?

Buh wham to you boy?
Is something wrong with you?

Steups (referred to by foreigners as kissing one’s own lips)
Sign of disapproval/Kiss my ass

Yuh dotish awah?
Are you stupid?

Dan/Hoss
Friend

To Lime (verb. -no relation to ‘lemon’ or ‘orange’)
To hang out

Scene/Zeene
Okay

Dungo/Chupid
Stupid

How yuh go see a bess darkie/reds/ting like dat and not hail de woman out?
How can you see a hot woman and not call her?

A rell mad scene.
A crazy event.

Tong
Port-of-Spain

Buss a good__________
Do ___________ enthusiastically.

I cyah take he dotishness nah/oui.
I cannot cope with his stupidity.

Buh wah de jail is dis?
What stupid/crazy thing are you engaging in/is happening?

Macoin
Eavesdropping

Tanks
Cheers (if I reach back to Trinidad and anyone hears me say ‘cheers’ instead of ‘tanks’ then I’ll have to give you permission to tap me on the head and steups)

Bus
Bus (pictured) or Big Maxi

Organise to suit
Plan accordingly

Potung/pothound
Dog of no specific breed

Maxi
Transportation van with two coloured stripes reflective of region (north, west, Tobago, central, etc)

Ways!/Way sah!
OMG!
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Additions based on comments. 🙂
you nuh fer real- Are you serious?
is diss yuh dissing me or wah- Are you trying to insult me?
I doh know na- I don’t know.
wha de jail is dis – What manner of nonsense is happening here?
well look at dis bachannal here- Notice the drama that’s unfolding.
yuh too wotless -You are too lazy/nasty/perverted/bad (usually said in a positive way/not as an insult)
None ah dat! -I will not accept that response.
relax yuhself nah-Calm down!
padna-pal
dat ting rell dread- That’s really cool!
I dey, wham boss- I’m okay. What’s up with you?

Blond people

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I actually wrote quite a long note some time ago about things Europeans asked or said to me that I didn’t know how to respond to without disagreeing. I never posted it. However, one of those things that pops up often enough, as said to me by Europeans and non-Europeans here alike, is the typical description of beautiful people. People would talk about these awesome people who are “blond, tall, with blue eyes that everyone would fall for (as opposed to other ‘plain’, non-blond folk)”. My usual reaction is to smile, say nothing, or say “Yeah…I’m sure”; but running through my mind would be “Umm, no eh… I have nothing against blond people with blue eyes, but I honestly can’t identify with your objectification of them as some special group of hotness. They look just as pretty/plain as everyone else does” 

It’s different because, having gone to an all-girls secondary school, I’ve heard many girls talk about beautiful girls and guys. Whilst the hot, blond, white dude from a movie may factor into a conversation, the description of a beautiful girl never involved blondness or blue eyes…it instead might have involved fair skin and long hair. This wasn’t because blondness isn’t ‘beautiful’, it’s just because people in Trinidad generally don’t go through life swooning over and thinking about blond folk. I think that of all the Trini black/brown people I’ve met who have a ‘thing’ for white people, they just have a ‘thing’ for white people…they couldn’t care less what colour their hair was. So it’s really strange to hear people in England make this special distinction between ‘blonds’ and ‘everyone else’. I’ve seen many a good looking blond person here, but try as I might, I can’t begin to grasp why they’re any ‘hotter’ than brown-headed, black-headed or red-headed white folk. Maybe if I had lived here longer I would be seeing things differently. 

Either way, I generally never fit into any description of ‘beauty’ that people tell me; so for very selfish reasons it often goes in one ear and out the other. I still find the subject fascinating though… I wonder if people in the US also hold blond people up on some higher level.

No one warned me about this.

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Skin. The only thing that I heard when I was back in Trinidad, about skin changing in cold countries, is that it might become slightly lighter because of the lack of sun. I could deal with that if it happened. It’s not painful. It’s not irritating; and I could easily get back to my lovely, sun-kissed full-chocolateness when I get back to sunny Trinidad and Tobago.

But no-one told me about the itchiness, the dryness, or the flakiness.

At first I assumed that it was the water…maybe because the water is chalkier in the UK it was doing some bizarre thing to my skin (?).

Then (based on what someone said) I figured it was the bar soap I used…maybe shower cream or gel will be less harsh on my skin (?)

Then I figured it was my clothes….maybe I should wash my pants after one wear (?)

Neither of the above was the issue.

So, what causes the problem?

Well, turns out it’s that good old cold weather. I already mentioned that it hates me, but never did I think that its vengeance was so far reaching. The weather doesn’t only make you feel cold, but it makes your skin itch, and can have you scratching as though you went a week without bathing after rolling around naked in grass.

Apparently it achieves this by drying your skin until it becomes flaky, at which point it begins to itch….sometimes mildly, sometimes like crazy. My thighs tend to itch the most, followed by the sides of my belly and lower back. I don’t know why those specific areas.

Now, this probably doesn’t happen to everyone, but in the event that you are planning a trip to one of these cold countries, I’d say to be prepared to intensify your moisturizing routine. Moisturized skin infuriates the cold weather.

Partially related mention: I also watch my body in amazement after I take off a piece of clothing and the hairs on my arm stand up at complete attention. I’ve seen my hair rise before, but never like this…hair rises dramatically here (exciting stuff!).

***The accompanying piece was inspired by Orchid’s and Mark Gellineau’s work together.***

the giant hummingbird in the sky!

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I’ve watched her for so long (years) from maxi windows on the Southern Main Road and Saturday last I finally got to fly with the giant hummingbird in the sky! She flew me through timezones toward a dawn at 2:30am, up over the clouds…oceans of tightly bunched white cotton balls and sky blue islands of atmosphere. Gracefully she landed in the UK and we said goodbye. It’s been quite a long journey getting here, filled with many disappointments along the way; but thanks to God, family, friends, wonderful lecturers, mentors and teachers, well wishers, various others and a bit of personal dedication I’m finally getting to do the MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge.