1014 Islands Apart


CleAnn talks about how Trinidad AND Tabago are the same country but two unique places.

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Todd: So what island do you live on?

CleAnn: I live in Trinidad, on the island of Trinidad. I’m happy that I live in Trinidad, I’m very proud of it because Trinidad is beautiful. Although it’s not known for beaches, we have a lot of wetlands like swamps and natural savannah. I think we are the only island in the Caribbean that has savannah. People usually think that an island is too small to have savannah ‘cause...we have savannah in Trinidad, mangrove forests also. They are also an important part of the ecosystem. But if you meet somebody from Tobago, they will tell you that they are from Tobago and maybe not necessarily from Trinidad and Tobago because they are extremely proud.

Todd: Yeah.

CleAnn: Because Tobago, although we’re one country, they have somewhat of a unique history in that in the colonial days when we were colonized by pretty much everyone from the British, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese -- Tobago has a very strong Dutch history also. So actually most of the whites who live in Tobago are still of a Dutch or German ancestry. So they are very proud that they have something unique that sets them apart from Trinidad and actually the accent is different. You may not be able to tell the difference but we in Trinidad can hear when somebody is from Tobago.

Todd: Oh, interesting.

CleAnn: It’s very distinct, yes.

Todd: And now but the official language is English, right?

CleAnn: English is... We speak English. But now in schools French is being taught compulsory I think for at least the first two to three years depending on which school you go to and Spanish.

Todd: And actually, I’m sorry, it’s not even an official language, it’s the native language, correct?

CleAnn: Native language. We don’t know any other language but English. It’s native. And we have what we call some Creole languages which are mixtures of English and French. And in Trinidad the Creole language is called Patois and I can’t speak it because it’s very French -- shortened French words and grammar mixed in with some English...what do you call it...the structures of the sentences. It’s extremely interesting if you can ever get a chance to meet someone who speaks Patois and for someone who speaks French. You will never be able to understand them even if you speak French.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

known for

imageAlthough it’s not known for beaches, Trinidad has a lot of wetlands.

“Known for” describes what something is famous for or what people normally think of when they hear a person or place talked about. Notice the two examples below:

  1. Brazil is known for its great soccer players.
  2. She is well known for her gourmet cooking.

swamps

imageWe have a lot of wetlands like swamps.

A swamp is an area where water collects. It is different from a pond or a lake because the water is not deep and plants stick out above the water. See the following examples:

  1. I wouldn’t try to walk through that swamp, because sometimes there are alligators.
  2. It has been raining so much for the last few days that my yard has turned into a swamp!

savanna

imageWe have a lot of natural savanna.

A savannah is a large area of grassland without many trees. Africa is known for its savanna where many large animals such as lions and giraffes live. See the examples below:

  1. I wouldn’t want to work in the savanna because there is no protection from the sun.
  2. Lions are the kings of the savanna.

sets them apart

imageThey are proud that they have something unique that sets them apart.

Something that makes someone or something different. In the example above, people from Tobago feel proud that they have something special that makes them different from Trinidad. See the examples below:

  1. Her eyes are blue which sets her apart from her friends who all have brown eyes.
  2. He spends many hours studying every day which sets him apart from the other students.

official language

imageThe official language is English, right?

An official language is a language that is used in the schools, courts and government of a country or state. Sometimes the official language is not the first language of the majority of the people in the area. Study the following examples:

  1. In Ireland, only a small minority of people speak Irish, but it is the official language.
  2. The United Nations has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
known for • swamp • savannah
set them apart • official language
  1. French is the of the government.
  2. Lots of birds and fish live in the .
  3. Lions like to live in the .
  4. Their food is what .
  5. They are their music.