Languages

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Languages in Trinidad and Tobago

English is the official language. Words are spelled with British spellings (e.g. colour, labour, tyre, etc.). English is spoken with a strong accent in Trinidad and Tobago, so it can take some getting used to understanding the locals. English Creole (though it's not referred to by locals by that name) is very frequently used for informal communication among locals. It's mostly an oral language, and is seldom written (and then just by ad-lib). A Trinidadian Dictionary, "Cote Ci Cote La" can be found at one of the many bookstores in the country and is an excellent souvenir to remember your vacation to Trinidad and Tobago. Here's an example of just one of those many words that have radically different meanings from American English:

liming ; meaning to hang out in public with your friends

Also, Hindi, French (mostly Creole or Patois), Spanish, and Chinese are occasionally heard. It may seem, at times, you are in a country that only speaks a foreign language. However, since virtually everyone knows standard (British) English, there's no need to ask. Of course, if someone does suddenly start talking in standard English -- take notice. They may very well be talking to you!

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