Thursday 26 November, 2020

'Ramajay', 'Dingolay' among the stars

Trinidad and Tobago's culture has now been immortalised among the stars with the naming of a star and exoplanet with the words 'Dingolay' and 'Ramajay'.

According to a statement issued by the University of the West Indies, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) hosted a global press conference on December 17 to announce the official results of the NameExoWorlds competition. 

The winning entry was submitted by Dr Jo-Anne Ferreira, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at The UWI St. Augustine Campus.

Dr Shirin Haque, Senior Lecturer in Astronomy at The UWI St. Augustine Campus and National Outreach Coordinator of the IAU extended her congratulations to Dr Ferreira and also thanked the public for participating in the competition.

"This is truly a Christmas gift to the nation, and an historic moment for Trinidad and Tobago as this is the first time ever a celestial object has been named locally.  We are proud to have our culture and lingo immortalized among the stars," she said.

An elated Dr Ferreira said, “This is a win for Patois in a year already significant for Patois! The year, 2019, is the 150th anniversary of the first Patois grammar, Prof Emeritus Lawrence Carrington’s Chaconia Gold for Patois language development, and the 10th anniversary of the Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago, by a UWI PhD graduate, Lise Winer. Patois is now endangered here, though not elsewhere in the Caribbean or the rest of the world, but our variety of it now has two lexical representatives in the stars!”

Dr Ferreira, who is also President of the Society for Caribbean Linguistics, will receive the grand prize of a telescope for her winning entrant.

“I entered the competition because I love our language and our languages and Caribbean linguistics. I made sure to check Lise Winer’s dictionary for the etymologies and meanings. Everyone should have one at their desk,” she said.

"Dingolay means to dance, twist and turn in elaborate movements, symbolising the culture and language of the ancestors of the people of Trinidad and Tobago."

"Ramajay means to sing and make music in a steelpan style, representing the love of culture and languages of the ancestors of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. The lingo is associated with music and carnival festivities of Trinidad and Tobago," the UWI said. 

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