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Words and phrases to know before you visit Tobago

Posted Jan 28, 2021

One of the most memorable features of the people of Tobago is how they speak!  From the time you arrive, you'll be surrounded by warm voices and a dialect comprised of a unique blend of sounds from around the world. 

Although English is the primary language in Tobago, it's heavily influenced by other countries including French, Spanish, and even Dutch. If you want to live like a local during your visit, understanding Tobago twang is definitely one way to do it!

As in every society the people frame their sayings based on tales of their ancestors and the experiences of day-to-day life, bringing them to life through metaphoric expressions. Tobago is no different and our dialect and coded utterings are an intimate part of our people, culture and heritage

Here are some must-know words and phrases to get familiar with ahead of your next trip to Tobago.

Aye -- Hello  

Ah  -- Substitute for “I” 

'ow yuh do? -- How are you (doing)? 

Mi good enuh -- I’m good/ok/fine thanks 

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Poke ah poke, no beef -- Everything is still the same/The situation remains the same 

Allyuh or Alla-All-Yah -- All of you people 

Bacchanal -- Scandal, heavy quarreling, drama, confusion. Can also be used to refer to a big party

Blue food -- Any Creole dish comprised up of ground provisions, dasheen, eddoes, cassava, etc 


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Eh? -- “What?” or “Come again?” /  Sometimes also used at the end of a plea: “Save some for me, eh” 
Used in place of did not or is not: “He eh come” / “That eh true” 

Eh heh? -- A surprised reaction to a piece of news. “Are you serious?”  

Lime -- When a small group of persons engage in a sometimes pre-arranged hang out.  

A lime -- an any-location, any-event pleasure occasion (beach lime, house lime, bar lime, etc.)  


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Maco -- A person who minds other people’s business; a gossip 

Parang -- Old Spanish genre of music typically heard and performed during the Christmas season 

Steups/Chups -- Suck teeth. A sound of annoyance, contempt.  

Tabanca --  A forlorn feeling that one gets when a love affair is over 

Tobago Love -- When people who like each other engage in play-fighting in an effort to disguise their feelings 


Discover even more things to do, see and experience here and check out our blog for more ideas on how to plan your trip to Tobago.