Trini Phrase: Reds


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They say red ting to sweet for dey own good! Red woman and red man are affectionately known as reds in Trinidad. Depending on the context used, this could be a neutral or negative term.

  • Reds (n) – A formal form of address for a RED-SKIN person usually friendly.
    • Hey reds, leh we take a drive up Maracas nuh?
  • RED-SKIN (adj) – Light-coloured in complexion, brown, light brown, reddish-brown or reddish-white; usually a mixture of European (White) and Africans (Black).
    • Anyway, buxom, brown-skinned Cecilia and her red-skinned daughter, Barbara, were in trouble today.

Caribbean Usage

A High Yellow Bahamian is sometimes classified as red or a Conchy Joe except that this is more coloured.

Barbadians often speak about red people alluding to persons of fair skin complexion. Even though the word red is used here to denote a certain colour, it carries strong connotations, namely that the persons involved are the end products of cross-breeding between Caucasians and Negroes.

Dominica, Saint Lucia, Grenada the word for reds is Béké. The people of Martinique are descended from white creoles or békés, Africans, orientals from India, Chian and Annam and Europeans.

Trini Phrases

The various words and phrases from Trinidad & Tobago can be traced back to English, French and Spanish origins. Mother-giver is one such word that has its roots in the English language. Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago is interesting because the slangs can change over time. I have lived in the United States for 20 years now, and every time I travel back to Trinidad and Tobago, I have to reacquaint myself with the words and phrases that have evolved.

Oral Traditions

Trini folklore such as Papa Bois is an oral tradition meant to pass on the stories to the next generation. Other Trini phrases in the vernacular are Santimanitay, Obzocky, Mama De-Leau.

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