Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pardon My English . . .

Seven years ago, I came to Dubai with my Philippine English which is based on North American English.

English is taught as a major subject in the Philippines from first grade to college and mostly our textbooks are in English language than Filipino. Though we follow American standards our pronunciation is fucked up because English is taught by non-native English speakers and they, the older generation, were mostly exposed to the Spanish language (it was our official language for more than 3 centuries) and so used to the Spanish system.

English words are normally pronounced the same way we pronounced our native language. Most Filipinos have strong accent, especially, those who were raised and studied in the province (outside Manila, the PH capital city), because aside from our national language Tagalog, they have their own ethnic language (there are more than 150 languages spoken all over the PH) and it's affecting their speech pattern.

In Dubai, or should I say in the UAE , English is overshadowed by Indian English because majority of the population here are Indians, they are about 50% of the total population. While Emiratis (UAE nationals) are less than 20%, other Arabs and Iranians are about 20% and the rest 10% are Westerns, Asians, etc. 

I believe Indian English is patterned to British English, so imagine my confusion, LOL.

Here are few of them..

The stressed in pronouncing the O in box (here they say it bOx, in the PH we say it like bUx), sOcks (we say sUx), cOpy (we say cUpy) etc. Plus the word schedule (they say shejool, in the PH we say skejool), singer (they say it sing-Ger, we say si-nger), film (they say fLim???), mixed (they say mik-Zed, we say mikst), fixed (they say fik-Zed, we say fikst) and a lot more.

The spelling of legalise, authorise, colour, favour and the likes.

Phrases such as "Dear Sirs", "Respected Sir", "Thanking you", "I remain", "Please do the needful", "You will be intimated shortly", "Send me the same", "Kindly" etc in business letters are very common. 

"up to" "along with" and "in spite" became one word "upto" "alongwith" and "inspite"

The way they say a phone number: 3332244 (triple three, double two, double four) or 34-56-102 (three-four, five-six, one-zero-two), in the PH we always say three-three-three, two-two, four-four (333-22-44) or three-four-five, six-one, zero-two (345-61-02)

Writing the date is always day/month/year = 7/4/2011 (in the PH we write it 4/7/2011, it's kinda tricky sometime)

(Hole) Punch — is Puncher to us (One time, my Indian colleague asked me to give him a punch, I asked him "where in the face or in the stomach?" LOL)

Rubber — pencil eraser

Scale — ruler the measuring stick

Ruler — is the sheikh or the one who rules

Take away/parcel means to take out

A4 paper — is coupon bond or bond paper or white paper

Sello tape — is Scotch tape for us

Permanent marker — is always a pentel pen

Pen — we call it ball pen.

Closet / cupboard — is cabinet to us.

Visiting card — is business card/calling card

The middle name — is the first name of their father (in the PH, our middle name is our mother's maiden surname).

Flat — apartment

Lift  — elevator

To let — means for rent / for hire

Out of station — out of town

Timepass — to kill time

Timewaste — waste of time

Expire — die (when someone dies, they expire, lol)

In tension — when you're having time pressure, or you are nervous, e.g. "Don't disturb me, I'm in tension today."

The use of too much is really too much. Too much cold, too much hot, too much traffic, too much work, too much busy, too much tired... LOL

Car-lift is not about jacking up the car to change tyre, it's about getting in a private car and sharing it with strangers (as your co-passengers) for a cheaper price instead of getting a taxi.

Cousin-brother / cousin-sister — for first cousins

Office timings — for office hours

Hero — means a movie star, a lead actor

Paining — instead of hurting or aching, e.g. My stomach is paining.

Evening  here they say "good evening" at 4pm even if the sun is still up (I know, right?). In the PH, we only say good evening from 6 onwards and 4pm or even 5pm is still considered afternoon.

Take and bring are two different words to them, to take something when they are moving away from you and to bring something is when they are moving towards you, it's like to take is to go and to bring is to come. In the PH, we use the words interchangeably, take or bring this means the same.

WC (water closet) — for toilet/bathroom/rest room (in the PH, it is commonly called CR or comfort room/washroom/restroom)

Rest Room is waiting room (guess where I went when our Indian receptionist  told me that our lady guest  is in the rest room ... yes, I went to the toilet to check her out, LOL)