Arabic in Trinidad and Tobago

Interesting article on migration of Syrians and Lebanese to the Caribbean.

Language Blag

Arabic in Trinidad and Tobago


Ramón Mansoor


The major waves of immigrants from Syria and Lebanon to the island of Trinidad took place in the 1930s. Although Arabic first appeared in Trinidad in the 19th century, with Islamicized West African Savannah peoples, Arabic as a home and vernacular language probably first came with the Middle Eastern Arabs of Syria and Lebanon. In spite of the difficulties involved in establishing precise dates, one can say that the first generation of Trinidadian-born Syrians and Lebanese appeared in the late thirties up to the late forties and early fifties.

This first Trinidadian-born generation was exposed to the simultaneous presence at home of both Arabic and English. These two languages impacted their view of the world—their perceiving, remembering, comprehending and thinking.

As a heritage language, Arabic is a language of personal connection, of family intimacy, love and solidarity. The grammatical structures and…

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