If you ever visit St. Vincent and happen to hear any of the following five expressions being uttered, you’re bound to be confused.
It is misplaced to tell people what and what not to say as it relates to their culture, but let’s be real, 2019 is already here and some things we can leave behind in 2018.
Here are five (5) confusing expressions used in St. Vincent to mean other things and why we should consider dropping them from our folk-linguistic lexicon:
1. Nothing beats a trial but a failure: As a way of trying to encourage someone not to give up, this statement might be made. It is, however, often mixed up or jumbled up. What is often meant is: “Nothing beats a failure but a try: if you fail, try again”.
2. You hit the hammer on the head: In conversation, you might hear someone saying “you hit the hammer on the head”. What is really meant is: “You hit the nail on the head” or you hit the Hammer on the nail”. Overall, the saying is one which means you are on point or precise with what you are saying.
3. Reverse back the car: This one is a redundancy, but perhaps excusable. “Reverse the car” will suffice, however.
4. Low up the Radio: As funny and unbelievable as this one is, yes, people still, in 2018 say “low up the Radio”, really meaning turn up the volume of the radio.
5. Go down Rose place or go down North Leeward: The north-western part of capital city Kingstown can never be downtown or ‘Bottom Town’. It is uptown. Leaving Rose place and headed to Ottley Hall will only take you further into the north-western part of St. Vincent.
Leaving Kingstown and headed towards Calliaqua will only take you further to the south-eastern side of mainland St. Vincent.
Additionally, it is not cool to say you are going down North Leeward. If you think it’s okay, imagine being on the mainland and saying you’re going up South to Union Island or you’re going up south to Trinidad. See?
NB: This article in no way seeks to be condescending to Vincentians who may use the above-mentioned terms from time to time. Our culture is what it is, but perhaps, we can consider a little upgrade with the times when it comes to certain expressions.
If not, people will just have to embrace the expressions are they are and that’s totally fine.
By: Demion McTair
Editor – Secrets of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Updated 17:51 AST