Book Highlight:Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad

I found this text recently in the library (UWI) and I thought it was an interesting text, very useful and insightful. It really adds depth to our everyday language. I spent about 30 minutes browsing and reading a select few pages, at the end of it I felt proud of or Trinbagonian dialect…it’s rich and fascinating. needless to say  I ordered a copy last night on amazon. Trinis check local stores….  

Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago  

A review by:Mc Gill – Queen’s University Press  

The first comprehensive, historical, scholarly dictionary of the English and English Creole languages of Trinidad & Tobago.  

Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago The twin-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago has a complex history that has resulted in a unique English language, shaped by all members of its multi-ethnic community: the original Amerindian inhabitants, the European colonizers, the Africans – enslaved, free, and indentured – as well as the peoples of India, Portugal, and China. Migration from many Caribbean areas has created both similarities and differences between the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago and the varieties spoken elsewhere.  

Using the historical principles of the Oxford English Dictionary, Lise Winer presents the first scholarly dictionary of this unique language. The dictionary comprises over 12,200 entries, including over 4500 for flora and fauna alone, with numerous cross-references. Entries include definitions, alternative spellings, pronunciations, etymologies, grammatical information, and illustrative citations of usage. Winer draws from a wide range of sources – newspapers, literature, scientific reports, sound recordings of songs and interviews, spoken language – to provide a wealth and depth of language, clearly situated within a historical, cultural, and social context.  

An essential reference for all Trinbagonians, this dictionary will also prove a fascinating volume to all who are interested in their language – linguists, literary scholars and students, translators, researchers, historians, scientists, and travelers.  

Review quotes

” This dictionary is an admirably comprehensive study of the vocabulary of Trinidad and Tobago, recognizing the country’s Creole as a linguistic variety in its own right, and celebrating its remarkable linguistic heritage. It authoritatively displays the multifarious language of everyday domestic and social life and documents the rich terminology of the country’s plants and animals. A major feature is its coverage of the wide range of sources from which the country’s words are derived. It is well worthy of a place among the established dictionaries of World English.”
Edmund Weiner, Deputy Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionary

“The appearance of the Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago is a landmark event in the public life of this Caribbean nation. It invites mature exploration of a fascinating culture and it will bring delight to all those who have tasted Caribbean experience. I expect it to become as well a major linguistic reference for future dictionaries of other Caribbean societies.”
Lawrence D. Carrington, emeritus professor of Creole Linguistics, The University of the West Indies

“Even more than a dictionary, this magnificent book is also something of an encyclopedia.” SHE Caribbean 


Lise Winer is associate professor in the Faculty of Education, McGill University, the author of Badjohns, Bhaaji & Banknote Blue: Essays on the Social History of Language in Trinidad & Tobago, and editor of a series of early Trinidadian novels.  

Mc Gill – Queen’s University Press  




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