Stephon Felmine, whom people commonly call “Trini Alphabet Guy” or “That fella from TikTok who used to do Trini letters of the day,” has teamed up with the local organisers of this year’s International Creole Month celebrations to teach patois phrases.
Creole Month is celebrated in October in Trinidad and Tobago.
Last year, Felmine became a local and regional internet sensation with his Letter of the Day video series. In the videos, he introduced a letter of the alphabet, gave a local word or phrase beginning with it, defined it and then explained how to use it.
Newsday featured him last year, when he said he wanted the series to be funny but also educating.
Earlier this year, patois teacher Michelle Mora-Foderinghman contacted him and proposed the idea of a patois (French Creole) video series.
She told Newsday after seeing his initial series, she thought, “He’d be perfect for this. I need to get in contact with him.”
Felmine told Newsday he was immediately interested, admitting that he did not know much about patois, so he was excited to learn.
“I said, ‘This is perfect,’ because I could teach, learn and help revitalise patois. I told her organise the letters, help me with the pronunciation – so she would send voice notes pronouncing the phrases.
“It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me, because we use all these words in our everyday life, not knowing where it coming from. So for some of the words, it’s like, ‘Yo, this is patois? I didn’t know.’”
He said he did not grow up in a household in which patois was spoken.
“Doing this alphabet, we can help people who use these words (and their variants) learn where they originated.”
Thus far, he has taught words/phrases such as afòs (expression to show intensity, equivalent to Trinidadian English Creole 'fuss'), bravé danjé (foolish in the face of danger), chaplé (rosary) dingolé (fall/gyrate) and djèp (wasp).
He said the feedback from the public, including patois speakers, has been great.
“I’m really hoping we get to the younger generation,” he said.