Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2014 Contents A31
Friday, May 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Last Friday, in sympathy with
T&T s prepubescent who,
two weeks ago, sat the Sec-
ondary Entrance Assessment
examination (formerly the 11-
Plus), the single morning of their
childhood lives that decides their
adulthood with a dreadful finali-
ty, I began my own 51-Plus
Using a recent T&T Guardian
practice test, I failed the maths
section as spectacularly as a
PNM party leadership challenger.
Today, I will do what used to
be called "English," back when
we thought we spoke it, but is
now called, "Language Arts," to
make us feel better about not
being able to speak (or write)
English any more. (Eef it come
from we-self, like we dialeck, it
bong to be more better than eef
it come from the language of the
oppressor, ent it? Axe Derek
Next week, if I can find out
what they were, I ll attempt all
the actual SEA essay topics com-
Language Arts. Section IA.
Grammar Skills. (Which, once
upon a time, would have been
simply, "Grammar.") Choose one
of the answers in brackets.
Q1. Neither the plums nor the
bunch of bananas (is; are) ripe.
Hmmm. At tertiary level, you
could make a case for either, and
Fowler declares it a mistake to
assume "none" is singular only;
at Trinidad primary level, howev-
er, it would have to be "are,"
becaw is two t ing it have in the
question, y un stan ?
Q3. A few areas in Trinidad
(continue; continues) to be flood-
ed.Trick question: ALL of
Trinidad continues be flooded;
and after only a slight drizzle, to
Q4. The deer along with her
young ones (was; were) asleep in
What I like is the panache with
which the examiner sidestepped
having to find out young deer are
called, "fawn," "havier" or
"calves"; I imagine him scratch-
ing his chin: "Hmmm. Cyar be
calf, becaw them is young cow;
look, just put down young one
and go through hard, yeah, oui." I
like, too, the very Trinidadian
notion that the as-yet undomes-
ticated deer are in a pen.
Section IB. Write in the sin-
gular form of the word in
Q7. Jasmine used a pair of
sharp (scissors) to cut the cloth.
Trouble in Town. All of
Trinidad knows it s one scissor,
two scissors, just like it s one
licen, two licence, but the intro-
duction of the "a pair" might
just do enough to persuade the
less-well-educated (ie, more
proudly Trinidadian) children to
retain the correct singular form,
because they suspect it s really
two of them.
Section IC. Insert a word to
replace the words in brackets.
Q9. Each day, Dennis feeds (his
four dogs) at five o clock.
Answer: Each day, Dennis feeds
them pit bull and them at five
Q12. (All our neighbours) are
very kind to us.
Answer: You have to be living
in Sweden. There is not one
neighbourhood in Trinidad where
some of your neighbours
wouldn t fire a gun, kick or insult
at you upon sight; check any
Trini video on YouTube, if in
Section ID. Write "Trans"
(Transitive) or "Intrans"
(Intransitive) to describe the
Q16. Rover romped playfully at
his master s side.
Definitely a "Trans"; assuming,
of course, Rover is a down-low
brother and not a dog, which is
very likely in Trinidad, and
increasingly so as you move up
the socioeconomic ladder.
Section IE. Fill in the blank
in each sentence with one of
the following phrases: "con-
tented with"; "hindered from."
Q18. The police officer was
"contented with" making " no"
further enquiries on account of
A Trinidadian police would be
content with any excuse that
allowed him to avoid work; the
"no" required by my answer was
inserted into the question to
demonstrate I have some gram-
Section IF. Each sentence
below contains an error. Write
Q22. Each one of the girls will
receive their award during the
Hmm. At tertiary/Fowler level,
the mistake would be capitalising
the non-proper noun "gradua-
tion"; at Trinidad primary level,
the mistake is that neither of
them five gyul really going and
get they cer-fitty-kate in truth,
becaw alla them dunce.
Section IIA. Underline the
King Arthur thought, "It is near
time for me to dye. I must have
an ear, but my successer must be
able to remove the sword from the
stone." Then a splendid idea came
to him: he could remove the sword
late at night when no one could
sea him and give it to his brother.
The mistakes are obvious but
there is no one in Trinidad who
would see anything wrong with
the idea itself; especially in Par-
liament; and the sword would be
Section IIC. Insert the
missing commas to correct
Q11. Raj the captain of our
school s cricket team lives on my
Most Trini children would see
nothing wrong with this, except
possibly that the captain should
really be Boyo.
Q12. Rena led us through a long
dark narrow passageway.
The mistake is "Rena"; it
should be "Kamla."
Q14. The Nile Niger Orinoco
and Amazon rivers are among the
largest in the world.
Another trick question, to weed
out the large segment of Trini
gangsta youth who will think the
word "Niger" has been mis-
Q15. Father closed the windows
lowered the shade turned off the
lights and then went to bed.
Is this a Trinidad or a Holly-
wood movie practice question?
What "shade" do Trinidad win-
dows have to lower? Correct it to
read, "Pa close the window dust
off the burglar-proof turn on the
bright security light then take
five Xanax with a shot of pun-
cheon and pass out in front the
TV" and we might have a ques-
tion to answer.
That s enough Language Art-
Next week, we take a
shot at the essay.
BC Pires (is; are) asking answers.
E-mail your botched SEAs to him
THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY
UP THE SEA WITHOUT A LANGUAGE ART
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