Does it matter how you say it?
As an expat living in a Thai town that gets a fair number of foreign visitors every year, I’m exposed to quite a few English accents – from the native speaking Brits, Americans and Australians to the Northern European/Scandinavian accents and, of course, many Asian versions of English.
My strike rate in guessing where people are from, based upon how they speak English, wouldn’t be too bad. I’d willingly challenge most to a duel with that!
/ Tags: accent
, english language
It’s National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines! Generally, it is a day of commemoration of all the heroes that gave their lives to the fight for Philippine freedom from the300-year rule of the Spanish Colonizers. But little is known about why, of all the 365 days of the year, it was chosen to celebrate their heroism on the last days of August.
Shuffling through my papers from my Philippine Studies subjects way back in college, I discovered that the National Heroes Day was actually a tribute to The Cry of Balintawak, a turning-point event in the history of the Philippines that happened in Balintawak in the north of the Philippines, led by Andres Bonifacio. No, this is not a story like The Boy Who Cried Wolf. This is a story of how Andres Bonifacio led Philippine revolutionary society, Katipunan, in a series of physical revolutions fighting for Philippine Independence.
Growing up as a typical Filipino kid in the 90’s meant playing on the streets with your neighbors until sundown. I used to walk to my schoolmate’s house a few streets away from mine, just so we could play all sorts of games – from the typical taya-tayaan (tag) in variations of Langit, Lupa and Monkey-Monkey-Anabel to playing bahay-bahayan where we pretend running a household and “cooking” sand and soil as our “food”.
Langit, Lupa – literally “heaven, earth”, is short for Langit, Lupa, Impyerno, or “heaven, earth, hell”. This game is played like the typical tag, except that when you are on elevated places (langit/heaven) like the sidewalk or a bench, you are safe or immune from being tagged. Monkey-Monkey-Anabel is also a variation of the game tag, where tagged players are supposed to stay put and shake their hips in place until everybody else is tagged and shaking. The name of the game comes from the chant we sing when we determine who’s going to be it (we sing this while pointing at each player until the song ends. When the song ends, the last player pointed to with the word unggoy, is the it):
Monkey, monkey, Anabel
Sinong matalo siyang unggoy!
(Whoever loses is the monkey (it)!)
The books I have been using
In my entry last week, I mentioned that I discovered two ways of learning Spanish – by memorizing phrase books or by understanding grammar books. I guess it applies not only to learning Spanish but also to any language.
Now to explain it, let me make things clearer first. A phrase book will normally be divided into chapters for each occasion that needs a conversation – eating, shopping at the mall, taking the public transport, being sick, asking for directions, etc. Inside each chapter will be a list of commonly used phrases and expressions. It doesn’t include unexpected events or elaborate conversations. In a phrase book, you’d probably see translations of the line:
In 2008, we went up north of the Philippines to visit my grandmother, whom I fondly call Grandma. One night, I decided to spend some loving time with her and lay down in bed beside her. Before we went to sleep, she invited me to pray. I grew up in a devout Catholic family, so I thought it would just be a normal prayer or maybe the rosary. I agreed, sat back up and waited for her to lead.
Listen to me, I’ll teach you. she said. And then she started praying: