Triniglish - What Did The Trini Say?

The English language spoken on the streets of Trinidad and Tobago will be quite difficult to understand for tourists visiting the island. I like to term the language 'Triniglish'. Foreigners visiting the Republic will need someone who understands the culture and has spent time on the islands speaking the language to truly understand the slangs used and to explain why the grammar is so misused/abused regarding subject/verb mismatch (all due to the conflicts of the past and the changing of ownership of the islands during the early settlement period).

The original spoken language of Trinidad was French Creole. When the English took control of the islands the French Creole gradually began to fade. Calypsos moved from the French Creole format to a crude English format. The influence of original French Creole that was spoken by my grandparents (when they did not want us to understand the conversation) obviously had some influence on the English language.

Eventually the influences of the African slaves and the indentured East Indians influenced the spoken language. In the end, French Creole, Spanish, African terms, Hindi and Bhojpuri all influenced the English spoken in Trinidad and Tobago today. Trinbagonians are proud of ‘we Trini’ chat and we make no excuses for that which was done to the Queen’s English! You can follow my "Yuh is ah Trini" postings where I attempt to unravel the raw usage of Triniglish (Trinidad English Vernacular) at this link: "Yuh is ah Trini".

Listed underneath are a few very popular Trini sayings & words:

All skin teeth eh laugh - Do not be deceived by friendly appearances.
Bacchanal - Rowdy or scandalous behavior. However, Trinidadians really mean a good slamming party!
Behind back is 'Dog', before face is "Mr. Dog" - people will say bad things when your back is turned.
Cockroach 'have' no right in fowl party - people should stay where they belong.
Commesse - Confusion/Controversy
Corbeau can't eat sponge cake - people with no class cannot appreciate certain things.
Cutarse - A good/sound beating
Dingolay - To dance with joyful exuberance
Ent? - Is that not so? That's true, isn't it?
'Foeday Morning' - Day Break
Gopaul luck eh Seepaul luck - not everyone has the same luck or chances.
Horn - To Cheat on a significant other
I dey or Ah dey dey - I’m fine.
Jamet - A Prostitute
Lagniappe - a little extra/a bonus
Lime - When a small group of people engage in a sometimes pre-arranged activity; in other words to hang out with friends.
Maco - Someone who minds another person's business
Mamaguy - False praise
Monkey say "cool breeze" - to act unaffected by something.
Monkey 'know' what tree to climb - people who are up to no good know who to interfere with.
Moon does run until daylight catch up with him - people who do wrong will eventually meet justice.
Never see come see - someone who is unaccustomed to certain things.
O'Gyard/O'Goud - exclamation/"Oh my God"
Ol'talk - Nonsense/empty talk/meaning less uttering.
Sampat - an unfair and or unexpected attack
Stone fall in your garden - to be guilty about something.
Tabanca - A case of the blues, love hurts
To get horrors - to become upset over something.
Yampee - mucus at the corners of ones eyes
You cyar (can't) play sailor (mas) and ‘fraid’ powder - you must face the consequences of your actions.

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