LCM's Site Map

LCM's Site Map

How to find your
way around LCM

Learning the Language, by Alister Hughes

Home ] Up ]

Most Requested Links

Gospel Of Jesus Christ ] MP3 Audio Sermons and Messages ] Windward Bible Church ] What We Believe ] Leave Comments ] View Visitor Comments ] Hurricane Ivan Damage to Carriacou Photos - Pictures ] Relief Efforts for Carriacou, Grenada ] ] About Carriacou, Grenada ] Carriacou Tourist Information ] Virtual Tour of Carriacou ] Report Broken Links ]
This site is best viewed at a minimum screen resolution of  1024 X 768

LCM's  primary domain is at and It is also copied on another server at  We also have sub webs at and

Sponsored Links
Please click here to to report any inappropriate ads.

All material posted on LCM is free for your information!

I hope you
njoy your visit!

Click here to ...
Click here to make a donation to help support the Robinsons and LCM
if you wish to help LCM

Click here
to contact Us
Send LCM email

Please pray for LCM's web ministry daily.

Who was and is Jesus Christ?

Who was and is Jesus Christ?

The Gospel of
Jesus Christ ...

God's Simple Plan Of Salvation In Many Different Languages
(30 languages so far)

How To Be
Born Again ...

Albanian - Shqip
Arabic - Arabic
Simplified Chinese - Simple Chinese
Deutsch - German
Français - French
Hellenica - Greek
Hebrew - Hebrew
Hindi - Hindi
Telegu - Indian
Bahasa Indonesian
Tagalog Indonesian
Japanese - Japanese
Korean - Korean
Lithuanian - Lithuanian
Macedonian- Macedonian
Pohnpeian Micronesian
New Guinean
Philippines - Cebuano
Philippines - Ilonggo
Russian - Russian
Español - Spanish

Ukrainian - Ukrainian
Vietnamese - Vietnamese

Free MP3 sermons, Bible teaching, and other audio messages on LCM

Free MP3 sermons, Bible teaching, and other audio messages on LCM

Other Popular

Currently highlighted on LCM

Currently highlighted on LCM

Click here to learn the latest about our work at Windward Bible Church

Learning more about Windward Bible Church

View comments left by visitors from all over the world

Click here to view our Visitors' Journal to read comments from 2002 through the present.

To make your own entry, click on the "Visitors' Journal" link here or under our top banner on any page.

Learn more about Carriacou, Grenada, including the current
time and weather


Liming by the sea

You can even take
a virtual tour!


Tourist Information
About Carriacou, Grenada

Sunny beaches on Carriacou

LCM's Primary
 site is hosted on:

Godaddy Hosting and Domains

LCM is copied
and Hosted on:

Click here to ...
Click here to make a donation to help support the Robinsons and LCM
if you wish to help LCM


Learning The Language

Copyright (C) by Alister Hughes
Used by Permission

English is not always quite
English in the Caribbean.
Alister Hughes guides
you through the region’s
special way with the language



nglish is not the natural language of Trinidad and Tobago. Nor is it the native tongue of Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Dominica and a lot of other so-called English-speaking Caribbean islands. Guide books may tell you otherwise but, believe me, they’re wrong.

Don’t misunderstand me. English is the official language of these former British colonies. That’s what you’ll hear spoken in the hotels and shops. You’ll have no problem communicating with the islanders. But don’t make the mistake of believing that English is their native tongue.

For these islands have a special vocabulary. It’s a vivid collection of expressive words and phrases used by people in these parts when they don’t have to be on their best linguistic behavior. Its origins are intriguing, and these unusual words and phrases have become so interwoven with Standard English that a unique Caribbean English has emerged.

However, it’s not considered “respectable.” Caribbean English is banned from classrooms where “proper” English is taught. Little boys and girls can get their knuckles rapped for using it. Nevertheless, it flourishes. It’s used by all sectors of the society as, if you listen carefully, you will hear.



ake for example, the insights you get from the interesting and unusual use of the word foot. A regional newspaper once reported tat a man had been charged in the Magistrate’s court with wounding someone in the foot, “six inches above the knee”. That sounds quite impossible. As everyone knows, the foot is not above the knee, it is below the ankle.

But this seemingly ridiculous charge didn’t surprise the Magistrate or anybody else. In these islands, you see, the foot is the whole limb from the hip to the toes. Just as hand is the whole limb from the shoulder to the fingers.

And here’s the surprise. These are Old English meanings. Three hundred years ago, when Britain was carrying out her empire, English colonist in these islands used the words hand and foot with exactly the same meanings as these words have in Caribbean English today.

The French, too, left footprints on the tongues of Caribbean people. An interesting example is the French word démêler, “to disentangle”, which came into Caribbean English as daymaylay. A person competent to extricate himself from a difficult situation was said to be able to daymaylay himself.

A man or woman head-over-heels in love was said to be tootoolbay. Derived from totalement bête, “a completely stupid creature”, tootoolbay perfectly describes the apparent disappearance of all common sense in the love-sick.

Caribbean English also created original words of its own. One example is the verb to lime, which originally meant to stand in the street outside somebody’s party to which one was not invited. That was “liming the fête.” Today, lime also means to sit around idly and enjoy yourself.



n the mythology of the islands, the Lajabless is a terrifying supernatural female. Deriving her name from the French la diabless, “a female devil”, the Lajabless has a beautiful figure. Abroad at night, she wears a wide-brimmed, floppy hat which masks her face, and her long skirt hides the fact that, while one of her feet is normal, the other is a cloven hoof.

Undoubtedly, lonely wives created this myth. The story goes that some half-drunk husband, staggering home late at night, is proposition by this seductive lady. Hand in hand, they stroll to a secluded spot at the brink of a precipice where the Lajabless lifts the brim of her hat disclosing a skull beneath. Terrified, the husband falls over the precipice and dies.

Another fearsome mythological figure in Caribbean English is the Lougarou or Lagahou. This name is derived from the French loup-garou, “a werewolf”, but the Caribbean version has special powers. The lougarou is a human who, at night, can shed his or her skin and assume the ability to fly. To get at the victim, this being can enter a room through a key-hole. But there is a sure-fire way to protect oneself. Spread a cupful of sand on your doorstep. No lougarou can get past without counting every grain. The counting will certainly take until daylight and, at that time, lougarous must re-enter their skins.



 dictionary of Caribbean English would run to several thousand words. Not to worry. Ask about words you hear but don’t understand — you’ll be sure to get explanations.

In the meantime, enjoy your lime in the Caribbean. I’m certain you’ll get tootoolbay over the islands. Don’t forget my tips about the Lajabless and the lougarou, and savour [sic] Caribbean English. It may help you to daymaylay yourself. ■

Hit Counter

Visitors have viewed this page since April 1, 2004

(NOTE: All preexisting page counters were reset to
 zero when my server  crashed in March of 2004.
It took until April 1, 2004 to get them working again.)

Copyright © 2000 Last Chance Ministries. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 02, 2006.

Sponsored Links

NOTE: The presence of any sponsored ads does not indicate our endorsement of any website, group, individual, or product.

Free Tools and
Software From Google

Use this Link to report any
inappropriate ads you see on LCM.

Note: There Are More Links Further Down The Page Beyond the Ads

Use this Link to report any
inappropriate ads you see on LCM.

Please Be Partners With Us By Praying For Us!

If you wish, you may make a simple, safe, and secure Voluntary Donation.

Use the following button to go to the page to effortlessly leave your gift. Nothing is too small:

Click here to ...
Click here to make a donation to help support the Robinsons and LCM
if you wish to help support LCM

Completely Safe Using
SSL Strong Encryption (128bit)

Thanks a head of time!

Hate spam?


LCM Specific Search Tools

LCM's Specific
In-depth Search Tools

LCM has had
Visitors &


Page Views Since
 June 11, 2001


Click here to learn more
about LCM's website.

For the safety and assurance of our visitors, LCM is rated by and registered with the Internet Content Rating Association

Click here to check out our ICRA rating.