The languages of T&T reflect its history and ethnic blend. English is the official language. Some East Indians, Chinese and Lebanese continue to speak their languages. All T & T nationals, however, share Creole. It is important to note that there is a difference between the Creole spoken on Trinidad and that spoken on Tobago.

Many years ago a French-based Creole was spoken; now it is almost non-existent, but traces of French vocabulary are still recognizable. At times English words are used with a French grammatical construction.

Several French, Spanish and Hindi words are commonly used in T & T. Generally, non-English words show up as names of places, such as Tunapuna, Blanchisseuse or Rio Claro, or as names for food, such as pelau, pastelle, or coocoo. Hindi words related to food, clothing, family and religion are often used and sometimes replace English words. In some rural communities Hindi words are used and understood by non-Indians.

Did you know?

Whether people from T & T are speaking English or some form of Creole, they do so with intonations that make it distinct from all other Caribbean accents.

Some Trinidadian Expressions:

Trinidadian English
bacchanal scandalous behaviour
commesse confusion, controversy
dead-out very tired and exausted
doo doo sweetheart, darling; a term of endearment that can be used for anyone especially children
free up relax, shed inhibitions, let your hair down
jump-up dancing
licks spanking given to a child when he or she misbbehaves
mamaguy tease, confuse or manipulate in the context of relationships
tabanka grieving the end of a relationship
wine gyrating the hips while dancing