Spelling duz nut matter… part for (4)


Well, who could dare laugh at a pun more than me? I am all for creativity and playing on words so you had me at ‘ Trini flava’, you know….. flavour —> flava (flav).


However, allow your eyes to drift a bit further and you stumble upon the confusing ‘Savory Tambran Glaze’. Let’s take it word by word. I know that ‘savory’ is the American spelling of the word ‘savoury’ and I am aware that we all still get confused with the American vs. British spelling at times but how you gone be talking about Trini flava and hit me with American spelling? Or perhaps you are referring to the other meaning of the word savory stated here in the Oxford dictionary. I doubt it.

giphy (1)

Maybe tambran is the variation of Raisin Bran made with tam that never caught on or maybe it’s one of those weird made up words that some celebrity will joyfully bestow on their newborn under the guise of ‘ first name’. So what’s tambran? Well that will really have to be ‘tamarind’ which to be honest is yet another example of the fact that the English language has many words which are not pronounced as they are spelled or maybe we as Trinidadians are pronouncing it incorrectly which is also very likely. Feel free to torture yourself with a few courses in Linguistics to delve into the intricacies of this phenomenon or just have a great time researching it on Google.


But let’s be honest, while that piping hot barra makes it way to your expectant lips, as you bite into a soft aloo pie, when you stare in delight at the seasoned pholourie you get at the Farmer’s Market, Santa Cruz and WHEN you wait for an eternity and a half in a line on Maracas beach and finally sink your teeth into a hefty bake and shark (*catfish) trust me when I say that the last thing on your mind is the spelling of that brown fruit used to make that ‘bess sauce’. If versatile is a word that can be used to describe fruit then it definitely hits the nail on the head when it comes to tamarind.

I know I said word by word but we’ll let the word ‘glaze’ slide for now although we’d much prefer the all encompassing term ‘sauce’ as we know that a true true Trini loves all types of sauces…garlic sauce,pepper sauce, bbq sauce (or should I say babecue: see related post) and the classic ‘fling-in-a-bit-of-everything-in-the-fridge-and-some-herbs’ sauce. All things considered, we allow intentional spelling ‘errors’ which are really a play on words to achieve some greater goal whether it’s to make a joke or encourage creative advertising and branding. In these cases the correct dictionary approved spelling of the word does not matter but please, some are really just errors that ought to be corrected.

Anyway, gotta go! There’s a doubles with slight, laced with a savory tambran glaze that has my name on it.


Spelling duz nut matter…part tree (3)

I once knew someone from Cuba who spent a great deal of time thinking that garden slaw was really written as ‘garden’s law’.Given the fact that English would not have been her first language, we can safely say that it’s a mistake which can be excused and laughed off even a few years later. In these cases of overlap with foreign languages we tend to be more understanding so I was really taken aback when I stumbled upon the following sign a few weeks ago. Funny enough, the picture I’m about to draw reference to is also slaw related hmmm…. very suspicious indeed *insert out of context reference to Illuminati conspiracy theory here*.


Firstly, I would like to know why the ‘&’ sign is imitating a one legged dollar sign, but as you will soon realise, this is the least of our worries. I was then tempted to give this blog the title of ‘Artistic Representation of a Dumb Blonde’ but my conscience stepped in somewhere to remind me of a few words and phrases such as care,morals, tact and of course the need to always be polite so as not to offend.

download-2However, my biggest concern is that I would like to know from whence cometh the spelling ‘coldslaw’. It is slaw and it is cold so why not right? Wrong! Even the pronunciation of that ‘d’ is highly unnatural,  (say it with me slowly….. colllDslaw, now laugh at how retarded you sound having said it more than once) it just takes too much effort and if it’s one thing we specialise in here in Trinidad and Tobago is using the least effort possible. Can I get an amen?

  • Paving roads?… least effort possible
  • Giving back pay…least effort possible
  • Any government related business….least effort possible
  • Customer service…..ERROR 404: NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER

Also, is that spelling of barbeque (BABEcue) supposed to be some sort of sick reference to the pig in the movie Babe? because…. #bbqpork #bbqpigtail #dohsaydat. If not then what is so great about it for it to be called not just BABEcue but ‘special BABEcue’ hmmmm. Now, being the person that I am, I purposefully passed back a few days later to see if there was anything special on the menu and by anything special I mean any incorrectly spelt words. I was not disappointed; see for yourselves.


Well, well, well, what do we have here? There was absolutely no indication that this was a Chinese restaurant and yet they are serving ‘butterfly BARKED chicken’. hhahahahaha Then they want to say that Chinee people don’t sell dog but when you look at the sign, survey says…… BARKED! Who let the dogs out?? Definitely not these people because apparently they were on the menu that day lol.

Or maybe this is just a long lost nursery rhyme that we never learnt, because if the cow could jump over the moon and the dish could run away with the spoon then who’s to say that the butterfly can’t bark the word chicken or that chicken can’t be butterfly barked? Absolutely no one, but have no fear because if your taste buds have yet to acquire the taste for man’s best friend you can always have the BABEcue special for $25. It changed from special babecue to babecue special, kudos for the variation in word order now work on that spelling. Needless to say, I won’t be able to blog about these things if everyone spelt every word correctly, if everyone took those apparently long and excruciatingly painful 60 seconds to simply review and correct their signs before putting them on display. Thank you to all my unsuspecting providers of blogging material.

Stay tuned for part four of this series!

Spelling duz nut matter… part too (2)


The moment we have all been waiting for, this is part two of the ‘Spelling duz nut matter’ series. This one is special because it was sent to me by one my friends (thanks Mich) so I’m glad to see that people do take an interest in my blog. Moving along… I mentioned in one of my earlier photo opinion posts that Trinis are known for not reading instructions and this sign of rules is no exception. Maybe this is the reason why we are so bad at giving directions, because we can’t even follow simple instructions :/

See video: Taking directions from a Trini

Please draw your eyes to the third ‘NO’ which states that there should be no picknicking  or coolers allowed around the pool area and as I finish this sentence the red squiggly line has already appeared to identify and signal the culprit.

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Because what exactly is picKnicking? It amazes me that someone would have invested time into designing this, it would have been sent to print, placed in its current location and proudly reviewed by those in charge after which many visitors would have passed by it. So from its inception to now why has this spelling gone unnoticed? Maybe we are so used to how it is actually spelt that we don’t even notice. Or do they know and are just too lazy to print a new sign? (see relevant photo opinion post Slow down) Well I am drawing attention to it NOW once and for all. The sign is being covered by leaves, whether or not this is part of the whole natural ambience and design or just neglect by the groundsmen I don’t know, the white letters are turning brown to slowly camouflage with the already green background of the sign and by extension the surroundings. I would say it has served its time and therefore it should not be a problem to have a new one done with the correct spelling.

Another message for management is that they have no need to worry  about persons not adhering to such as this activity technically does not exist. Lawyers benefit a lot from similar technicalities and if I were bold enough I would toat the biggest picnic basket I could find and lay out my nicest blanket and if I were reprimanded I would smile and lift my sign that would read, ‘Do not disturb, currently picnicking not to be confused with picknicking. Kindly refer to the list of rules posted. Thank you. By my management.’ However I have yet to master this level of bravery and fearlessness so I’ll stick to blogging.

So we’re back to square one of asking ourselves if spelling really does matter and if so then to what extent. Surely on legal documents accurate spelling is a must but take a look at the linguistic masterpiece below and you will find that it may not be such a big deal in other instances.


With or without the extra ‘b’ we all know what it is and this would hardly likely affect our decision of whether or not to purchase food here. Especially with the added bonus of the smiley reassuring you of just how tasty it is. So decide for yourself how important spelling is but for the sake of us all, in public places that require longstanding signs such as the first example, ensure that your sign has accurate spelling please and thank you.

By management.

Is ah rankin’ ting


Unless you are living under a rock, you would know of the brawl that took place recently between local ‘celebrities’ Ian Alleyne and Inspector Alexander. Staying true to our Trini culture, we have successfully managed to maximise on this incident turning it into a comedic masterpiece. This ranges from jokes, memes, videos, cartoons and even merchandise. Language is never out of the loop and as a passion of mine I have to admit that my favourite result is the new slang that has emerged i.e. “Is ah rankin’ ting?’ or ‘Is ah rankin’ ting with you or wha?’ It is so appropriate, so useful, so direct and I love it. How would you even begin to explain this phrase to a foreigner? Given the complexity of the relationship of the two men involved, the easily forgotten but more important case of alleged domestic abuse and of course the phrase itself, well you’d have your work cut out for you.

Anyway, moving right along. One morning as I arrived to work, dropped my things, counted down the days to vacation, grumbled at my having to be there and so early ‘to boot’ I then decided to make a cup of coffee. Among the choices was a box with packets of hot chocolate mix. I decided to read the box and was hit with two pictures for my next photo opinion post. Voilà!

Firstly, the manufacturers of this product wish to make it clear that they in fact use real milk  and I thought to myself if there was even such a thing as fake milk. As far as I know the only and without a doubt the coolest fake milk was the one that you fed your doll when you were younger; the one that ‘disappeared’ as you tipped the bottle over. *nostalgic childhood memory* If that is not enough to convince you then rest assured that there’s more because this REAL milk comes from Wisconsin. Excuse my ignorance but I would feel just as comfortable even if I didn’t know which country the milk came from.

By the time I read what is seen in the second picture I really had to blurt out a “buh what d jail is this, is a rankin’ ting with you or wha *brand that I dare not mention in order to protect myself*” They so boldface and boastful that they feel the need to say they have 4 more than Nestle’s box. I wonder if that means they have 10 for the price of the same 6 which Nestle offers although I highly doubt it. Talk bout marketing strategy and advertising! If you are not convinced by now then you are probably an advocate for brand loyalty, the same brand loyalty that compels us to buss our bank accounts to purchase brand name products when other brands work just as well or even better.

Well, if I walked around with the confidence and conviction of this box I would be invisible, untouchable and maybe even a bit delusional but it’s a good point to consider. As much as I joke around, I also reflect so bare with me a while longer. It may be a far fetched comparison but sometimes we try to be this box in order to stand out and appear more attractive to others but there’s a limit. As upright individuals, we ought to be just and see ourselves as we truly are and also treat others as they ought to be treated. I believe that on a deeper level this phrase (is ah ranking ting with you?) arose from the virtue of justice which seems to be lacking these days. What gives you privileges that I will never have? Why am I looked down upon? etc etc. Therefore, while it is used as a joke in informal settings there may be more to it at times. The next time the phrase is hurled at you, laugh it off and have a quick comeback but also think objectively, ‘Am I truly being just?’

I done talk!


A few things caught my attention when I first saw this sign at a doubles stand and it was actually what inspired me to have this section as part of my blog. I won’t say that I’m a linguist so i apologise in advance for my terminology or lack thereof but having done a minor in Linguistics counts for something. In the first place, the syntax (word order) of the first phrase is quite interesting. The verb ‘are’ comes all the way at the end as very often Trinidadian English Creole (TEC) does not care much for the SVO (subject, verb, object) word order of English. Then, of course no question mark is needed as we all know that the difference in ‘she coming later’ (statement) and ‘she coming later’ (question) in TEC can be done through intonation. Why complicate life?

Anyway, back to the sign. Another classic element of our speech is the evident repetition or redundancy as some may say.  ‘Drinking’ would have been fine or even ‘taking drinks’ but ‘drinking the drinks’ surely drives the point home because let’s admit ‘Is fall she fall in the big drain?’ is not the same as asking ‘Did she fall into the drain?’. No no no emphasis and repetition are key in this case! You can almost hear the words as if they were being shouted out in response to the question ‘What would you like printed on the sign sir?’ I’m laughing just imagining how that went down….unless it was done by the vendor himself of course.

Lastly….oh the IRONY. You forced us into some harsh introspection (what kind of person am I? what is the meaning of life? why am I here?) well maybe not so far but you get my point. Then, after scolding our bad actions you proceed to threaten and shame us in a way that effectively makes us feel like we’re on the receiving end of the phone in ‘Taken’ *cue clip*


What really is ironic though is that maybe we aren’t the ones meant to be ashamed. What I’m trying to say is don’t let ME embarrass you with that wrong spelling of the word ’embarrass’. Who am I kidding? I understand, it happens to the best of us and even more so when we are wrongfully robbed of the money owed to us. Sometimes I still double check when I write the word receive (yes i just checked haha) or constantly remind myself that to spell the name of that little voice inside my head it’s as easy as writing a school subject with a carefully placed prefix…..yup you guessed it con-SCIENCE.

I love doubles. I love my country. I love Trinidadian English Creole and accept it as a legitimate language. It’s one of the things that makes us so unique. Just to end….oh gosh next time yuh stop to eat yuh lil doubles with slight and drink yuh drink (red solo preferably?) pay the doubles vendor what is due to him plzzzz 🙂

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