Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Wednesday, February 05, 2003  

So Yugoslavia, officially, is no more.

The country that was always more of an abstraction than a real nation and gave the English language the term "balkanisation" is, after all those years of all those troubles, now to be called Serbia-and-Montenegro. (I'm not 100% sure about the dashes; I've seen it written both with and without.)

Not that it'll last; in a few years they'll both tire of the marriage of convenience and go their separate ways, hopefully without any fuss. Until then they'll have to lug around that clumsy name, and I doubt very much they'll care to call themselves S&M.

It's a problem that I have always had in this twin-island republic. To the average Trinidadian (I can't speak for Tobagonians) Tobago is a weekend getaway destination, and serves no other function. When we talk or write about this nation, we almost always mean Trinidad alone, so we use the adjective "Trinidadian". We should, of course, be inclusive and PC say "Trinidadian & Tobagonian" but no one does.

Some use the term "Trinbagonian", and call the country "Trinbago". I don't; I've somehow never liked the idea of doing so, particularly in my writing. So I try and write around the issue if I can; if I can't, and I'm writing about Trinidad alone I say Trinidad or Trinidadian and give the explanation above. If I mean both islands, then I say both, as long-winded as it might sound.

For that reason alone, I don't think I'd have a problem if Tobago ever decided to secede.

posted by Jonathan | 8:22 AM 0 comments


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