Cantonese in Trinidad and Tobago

Cantonese in Trinidad and Tobago by  Stefan Poon Ying Cantonese is a language that originated in the old city of Canton which is now modern day Guangzho. Guangzho is the largest city and the capital of the Guangdong province of China (formerly known as Kwangtung) in South East China.  Map showing the location of the […]

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A Plug for Patois (Part 2)

by Guest Blogger/Blagger Unlike what exists for other languages, reference works for Trini Patois* (which have been around since 1869) are sometimes not so easily accessible. Or so we think. To help editors, authors and the interested reader, here is a list of 7 tips on how to use Patois, written and spoken, as promised […]

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A Plug for Patois (Part 1)

by Guest Blogger/Blagger Ever so often, Trini Patois* names, words, phrases and expressions make their way into our printed media. Writers may or may not confuse meanings, try out their own spellings, guess at origins, and sometimes even use other Caribbean varieties of Patois.  Meanings Sometimes, Patois words or phrases are not used quite correctly. Sometimes […]

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Signed Xhosa, double doubles, and other problems for sign language interpreters

Since my last post about the pseudo sign language that appeared and rapidly disappeared at Piarco Airport, an even more shocking story emerged about the fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. You can watch him in action here. Predictably, there have been unfunny jokes (the joke being essentially: “sign language looks funny, lol!”), and hasty apologies. There have been […]

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A linguis’ unwines

Look at enough signs, classified advertisements and student essays in Trinidad and Tobago, and you’re bound to notice funny things happening with the letters <t> and <d>.* In fact, there’s no great mystery here: any Trini will tell you that the English words “unwind,” “child” and “last” are frequently pronounced without the [t]/[d] sounds at […]

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‘D’ Day

I wrote this recently, and was a little disappointed to see that, in the published version, ‘deaf’ had a lowercase ‘d’ throughout, despite the fact that I referred directly (though, perhaps not sufficiently clearly) to the significance of using a capital ‘D’. There are plenty of good discussions of this online, so, rather than rehashing them […]

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Language matters, and so do people

Following on from the last (first) post, here’s a piece that we wrote for the same newspaper earlier this year. Not long after this was published, one of the people to whom it was responding, Clive Borely, died.  Clive’s contribution to public debate, research and policy on language in the Caribbean, and above all in education, […]

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