Mar 27, 2013

Yuh Eh Know That? | Written by Sandopc | Yuh Is Ah Trini

This is a guest post from a friend who frequently visits the Wack Radio chat box. We were chatting about expressions used in the homeland one night and from that conversation he wrote the following article. Today I present the post done by a gentleman who likes to be called Sandopc.

In Trinidad and Tobago we have a unique way of saying something when we want to express how we feel about a given subject. That expression can take several forms that will surely be misunderstood by someone who is not familiar with the culture especially how we apply our triniidions while conversing with a friend, acquaintance or family member.

Non Trinidadians will be utterly confused. As an example, I have three sayings that we regularly use on a daily basis. Here they are:
  • You think he wicked (in joke)?
  • They mad like Hell
  • You eh know that ?
I know they are simple phrases but when used in conversation they take on meanings that would confuse a foreigner but make a Trini smile or sometimes cringe during the conversation. Today I only want to try and explain and poke holes in the last one. The rest of my 'Trini' friends (citizens of Trinidad and Tobago are called Trinis) can go ahead and explain the first two expressions in the post. So what do we really mean when we say... "Yuh eh know dat?" (You eh know that)? Let's 'tawk ah tawk' and discover the sweetness of one of our Trini Idioms.

In any discussion between two or more Trinidadians you will certainly hear the following expression one or more times..."You eh know that?" This common expression is used when the person speaking wants to express a personal  point of view, a general understanding of an accepted “fact”. As an example they could be engrossed in a discussion about steriods and cover the subject from A to Z after which someone would utter a statement that would cause the other to remark, "you eh know that?" It is said in such a manner that it is a statement and a question all wrapped in one tight rebuke because the topic was thoroughly discussed and did not warrant the statement made by one party in the conversation.

In short, the facts in the conversation are spoken with confidence but the statements made are said without any factual evidence. Evidence is usually written or documented somewhere or accepted from a reputable source or a qualified professional. Not in the eh know that...crowd. We use the expression strictly as evidence, everybody should know that already. And this brings up another point...we trinis have a tendency of not committing anything to paper to properly document the facts or process around any generally 'accepted things'. Here is a good and very common example: “This “bush tea” good for you sickness, yuh hear, now drink de damn ting”.

Right there and then you are puzzled but cannot show that you are while thinking... How do I know that? What is the process? You sure you remember the correct dose? Like the Black Stalin said in song... what is the right temperature to “sink” a pan? What is the right thickness. Where is the document for making a pan? Of course the answer is ... 'you eh know that'! However, in this case it is a factual statement.

Sometimes when you hear the expression you stop and think... maybe I am the only one who eh know that! As a result you pretend and accept the statement without fact or even asking a question. How sweet it would be if we document the things that we all take for granted. Explain why it is and how it is and the origin of what it is. Now that would be just right - Sweet. How about a book illustrating these things and ensuring that the children have a good understanding how these terms are used. The school system should come in play and ensure that these Trini Idioms are taught and that the children can properly disciminate the statements when used in conversation.

Long ago,our people passed on acquired knowledge through word of mouth. Generally the elders would remember and pass the “history” down to the children. Today's world with an ever expanding radius takes away the closeness that we enjoyed back then. So,we know the “history” in vague terms and when we try to explain it to someone we stumble and then we eh know that?

I hope that this posting was helpful and that you enjoyed reading the article. Please don't hesitate to leave your remarks via the comment feature of this blog post - Sando/Santiwah.


dorrick nurse on March 27, 2013 at 5:44 PM said...

Well done sando. i luv it.





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