Miguel Browne, a history teacher at St. Mary's College in Trinidad and Tobago,
began writing and performing his own dialect poetry while he was an
undergraduate at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.
As a member of the resident drama group, UWI
Players, his works made him a regular feature at Faculty concerts
and campus shows. However, it was as a member of the Talk Tent under
the direction of Paul Keens-Douglas that his talent as a dialect poet
and story teller came to the fore. His poems and stories delivered
with his own special rhythm and rhyme have been well received by audiences. "Trini
Talk" is a compilation of twelve of his works over the five years
that he has worked with Talk Tent. They range from the purely light
and humourous "Newspaper Vendor " to the more insightful " Jumbies"
and the thought provoking "Jungle fever". The local vernacular is
used to describe the picturesque landscape, to recount everyday experiences
or simply to celebrate the colour of the language, itself. More importantly,
the wit and humour that is characteristic of the West Indian oral
tradition is used as a medium to convey serious messages spanning
societal ills, the environment and the Trinidadian psyche, itself.
52 Roberts Str.
Trinidad and Tobago, W.I.
868 622 4902
books "Trini Talk "and "Talk Dat Talk" are available at all
leading book stores in Trinidad and Tobago and the audio cassette,
"Jumbies" , with the poem Trini Talk, you can buy at all leading
are a special people of dat there is no doubt,
Doh care what odders say of how dey run dey mouth.
But of all de special talents dat we Trinis possess,
Is de way we talk dat ranks us among de best.
At de street corners, in de shop or at work on any given day,
Is to hear us speak and carry on in our own special way.
De colourful words, de antics and de accent all combine,
To create a whole language dat has stood de test of time.
De way we express ourselves and de way we converse,
Is truly an art of which every Trini can boast. Look
at de many words dat we Trinis create,
Just to make it easier for us to communicate.
Words like bobbol, skylark, commess and bobolee,
Are words dat yuh cyah find in any English dictionary.
Coskel, boobooloops, lahay and dingolay,
Mou Mou, bazodie, jagabat and tootoolbay.
So when yuh thin and frail, we say yuh maga or merasme.
And when yuh fat or overweight, we say yuh obzokee.
And when something small, we say chinkey instead.
And we say tabanca when a woman tie up a man head.
And a person who lazy, we call dem a locho.
And an inquisitive person is simply a maco. Is our
colourful history, yes our glorious past,
Dat give us a language dat very few could surpass,
So many Trinis doh speak patois again.
But we use words like doux doux and langniappe all de same.
So mauvais langue is when yuh bad talk people yuh doh even know.
And a flaming torch we still call a flambeau.
Maljo is when yuh put bad eye on everything yuh see.
And when yuh shake and shiver, we call dat malkadee.
And patois give us so much place names like Blanchisseusse and La
And left over food from de night before we call macafoucette. And East
Indian words yuh could guess so easy.
Listen to doolahin, beta, bap and dhoti.
And we love dalporee, bodi and khumar,
Baigan, barra, sahina and kuchela.
Jadoo is magic dat women does use to get dey husband house and car.
And if yuh talking nonsense it so easy to say gobar. And for
animals and fruits look at de names we does use.
De pronunciation and spelling is enough to get yuh confused.
Chenette, pommecythere, pomerac and sour sop.
Pewah, dongs, balata and mammie seepot.
And Trini does hunt for tatoo, agouti and lappe.
And instead of ants, we does say batchac.
Trinis fraid macajuel, batimamselle and crapaud.
And de big black vultures we call corbeaux.
Trini mouth does water for crab and callaloo.
Doh talk 'bout cavindajh, pelau, pastelle and cascadoux.
For seasoning, shadow beni beat back all de rest.
While veti-vere does make de clothes smell nice and fresh. And when
we talking is like to a special rhythm dat others doh know.
We have to move de whole body from we head to we toe.
Watch how de hands does move as if we killing flies.
And when we vex is cuya mouth or roll up de eyes.
And sometimes is de mouth alone dat does all de work.
Is to hear us laugh out loud when we hear a good joke.
And when we laughing de mouth does open wider dan a carite.
And when it come out with "Oui Foute" or "Mama Yo" it does soun' real
So doh laugh at we and think we antics funny.
Is what we need and use to talk more effectively.
But watching us talking and moving from right to left,
Yuh swear is sign language to talk to de deaf. And we
have a communication network dat is one of the greatest around.
It beat back any newspaper, TV or computer dat dey have in town.
So Maxie does tell Jane a secret story or a story.
And in two seconds Jane does run and tell she boyfriend Gary.
And den Gary does tell he partners liming on de corner,
So de whole ah town would know 'bout two hours later.
But when de story reach back to de original source,
Is never de same, it always off course.
Yes, gossip does change a story from a dongs to a grapefruit just
Where de new story come from nobody doh know.
So always be careful who yuh liming with and what yuh speak,
'Cause before yuh look good all yuh business on de street. And when
we start to argue is trouble in de gang,
'cause we does argue everything except de issue at hand.
We Trinis does start off on one particular topic,
And in no time at all we does stray from it.
We does go round in circles, yes vikey vi.
And end up giving picong and mamaguy.
But when things get heated, den de real trouble does start.
Words harder dan rock stone does pass in de brew.
And if yuh only take sides, yuh go get a good 'buse-ing too.
And some does use de poor ancestors to make dey attack.
Dey would trace de whole family tree from yuh mudder go back.
And when dat doh work, some does turn to the anatomy,
Talking 'bout parts of yuh body dat dey never even see. And telling
stories is a special talent we got.
Trinis could make up a story right dere on de spot.
Listen to a husband when he reach home late,
He would never say dat wid de outside woman he had a date.
He go tell his wife 'bout parang or late night class.
How he working overtime and de car run out of gas.
And when de cocaine disappear from de police station without a trace.
It easy to blame de greedy rats and done de case.
And dats why we does have Commission of Enquiry every odder day.
So each one could tell de same story in a different way.
But when it come to stories, politicians are de very best.
Promising brighter days and a better life and nothing less.
Yes, Trinis smart and it is little wonder den.
Dat up de islands dey does say Trickydadian;
for we Trinis is a way of life.
Is how we assume ourselves and deal wid strife.
Listen to de sweet-talk of a true Trini male,
Dat could win de heart of any Trini female.
And every spectator does turn a coach at a cricket or football match.
Shouting out advice for bad play or dropping a catch.
Man we know how to talk before we could creep.
We could out talk all odders in one clean sweep.
A Trini who cyah talk will laugh instead.
And if he cah do dat, he better off dead.
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