August 14, 2008

English - Love it or Hate it

The other day, I was telling my husband how the English language sucks sometimes. No offense to native english speaking people but to me it does. Notice I said "to me" because there's a valid reason for this. Read along and see if you agree with me.

We have friends named Carolyn and Carolene. Are you getting some sort of hint here? well if not, see if this would spell it for you.

During lunch, Me and hubby were talking about Carolyn at this particular chit-chat. Hubby was telling me how she managed to lock herself out of her apartment while sightseeing from her balcony. Well of course, that was totally hilarious! so I was laughing and blurted out her name to say something.

I went like: Gosh, Carolene...prrtt! hubby pulled the stop sign on me in mid-sentence. Unbelievable! - Whaaatttt???

He went on to say: "Honey, Carolyn with a lyn not lene. See, it's lyn and not lene...we're talking about Carol-lyn not Caro-lene."

Me: "Ok ok...Carolin, lyn, leyn, liyn..did I say that right?"

Hubby: "no. try again.."

Me: "Carolin, leyn,lin...aaacckk, you know what? I give up! Heck with Carolene, Carolyn, Carolin - they're the same Carolene! From now on, they're just her and she OK?!"

See!? What's with all that? And that's not the first time it had happened either. My tongue sure got some huge issues particularly with those english names. It's totally absurd. My tongue get all twisted and tongue-tied everytime. Like twisted tootsie roll! Not fun at all!

In retrospect, if you look at it, in spite of my Carolene , Carolyn handicap, I'm better off than most average Jane Doe or Juana or Marias. I'm originally from the Philippines and English is my second language. ESL as most, refers to it. With due respect, I'm fluent in all aspect of the language, orally and written. I'm blessed that way. My fluency of the english language has even fooled a lot of people into thinking I was born here - or lived her since forever. But not, and that makes me proud.

My first Language is, wait a minute, I speak 3 dialects and a bit of Arabic. I guess that makes English my 5th Language ? I speak Tagalog, which is the universal language, Ilocano and Pangasinan - and I can hold 4 conversations at the same time. It's a fit but I enjoy it. It always makes other peoples' jaw drop. Just imagine the look on their faces! They're like looking at a bird clucking like a mad chicken!

Living in Charlotte for 5 years and surrounded by English-speaking tongues has more so honed, if not enhanced my tonal accent. But if it makes you feel better, I have no intention of picking up the southern drawl. That would have just killed off my tongue right there and then - for good!

And in spite of the ocassional bantering I have with hubby about my pronounciations, I love the fact that he patiently corrects me and teaches me the proper pronounciations or proper term everytime I default to something else not even akin to english. Well...5 languages hanging on your can't be helped - but it always is relevantly educational for me. I make progress.

Here are some of my "English you just gotta love it moments" :

a sign on the road near the border of SC and NC -
By law you are required to burn your headlights - duh?

Guy walking with a limp and asking us to -
"walk this way please..." - huh?

So, do you agree with me now? Now most of you, I can only assume, speaks only english. If you will, would you learn another language and what will it be?

On the flipside, does this post even makes sense to you or just a waste of time and blogspace and I should just go see an ESL expert?

*Fun Facts : Philippines have 154 language/dialects


  1. Your right, I olnly speak English. I do envy people that can speak more than one Language. If I could learn a new language I would learn spanish, because where i live(california) we have a lot of mexicans (I am one too just don't speak spanish), and I could get a job much easier if I could speak spanish.You are also right about how confusing our lanuage is, some times I don't understand english!

  2. What's exasperating, besides speaking English, is that the youth of today is test messaging, twittering, IM'ing and breaking down the written word to something akin to ... not even Morris Code! And as a Mom, I've had to learn to translate it all if I wanted to know what they were up to! Congrats to you on your fluency ~ it's wonderful.

  3. I speak English and Spanish. I here you on the southern language. I am from Alaaaaaabaammmma. I have worked my entire life to NOT have the southern drag. I was born here. Most that hear me speak think not. I just work at it.

    I am impressed at the languages you speak. Wow.

    Thank you for going by and telling Elle Happy Anniversary. She is new to blogging and I love her to death.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Oh my goodness..your posts are never a waste because if anything they are a crack's good to laugh at the end of a long day!

    I speak only boring english..I wish I could speak more. Even Tagalog because so many here speak that!

    As far as the Carolyn and Carolene..I've never heard of the second name..I have only heard Carolyn. But because I speak English..I suppose I understand correctly when seeing it written how it's to be said. And probably it's not even an English's probably french or something..names never seem liek they are actually english..we get stuff from everywhere else.

  5. I love this post! I get what you're saying about English... I've heard that it's a very difficult language to learn and full of rules and exceptions to rules that have no rhyme nor reason...
    I've always been fascinated by language and have tried to learn some other than English. I took a few years of Spanish and could sort of get by if I had to. I took Scottish Gaelic in college and it was so incredibly hard... the only thing I remember is how to ask for Whiskey!

    Now we're learning American Sign Language and I'm amazed by it. It really is an actual language with grammar that's totally different then English... it's a lot of fun.

  6. This is such a funny post! I totally understand! I grew up speaking pigeon in Hawaii (extremely broken English), and still get it mixed up sometimes. Its especially hard because of the many ways to spell, pronounce and define things. Ugh!

  7. Hi make some really good points. I don't speak any languages but English...and "southern" English to boot. I would love to learn Spanish. I am and educator and find myself frequently needing to communicate with parents of our Hispanic students. By the way...I really appreciated your comment this morning and am flattered that you'd like to put me on your blogroll. Absolutely, please do....and I'll be more than happy to return the favor by putting Zen Ventures on mine. Thanks so much...

  8. This is a great post. Totally hear you.....and I only speak ONE language. Kudos to you for knowing 5! I always wanted to be polylingual. Guess I should have set my sights on bilingual? :)

  9. thanks for stopping by! hope you'll visit again soon!

  10. I would LOVE to be added to your blog roll. I'm adding you to mine as well.

  11. Hey there - great post! I've always admired people who move to and live in a place where their native tongue isn't the main language! And heck, I've grown up with English as my first language (I studied Spanish, Latin and Italian in school; used to be fluent in Spanish but am really rusty now, never got past basically conversational in Italian and no one speaks Latin!) and I think English is a crazy language sometimes myself!

    Anyhow, thanks for popping by my blog - I'm off to poke around yours some more now! :)

    Cheers, SITSta!

  12. Interesting to know that Philippines have so many languages! I've only heard of Tagalog though.. And I can only converse in English, Chinese and a little bit of Malay. =)

  13. What a coincidence this post hit me tonight. I was thinking to write a post about how learning a new language affects the languages you learned to speak fluently. Since I learned Swedish, I noticed that my English is no longer an active language that I can easily use in writing or speaking. I even blend and mix tagalog and bisaya with swedish.

    But there's actually a difference between Carolyn and Carolene in the Swedish way of saying it. But I'm sorry I can't explain it here and I can't leave a voice message. :-)

  14. Thankyou for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment! I agree with you - the English language can be so annoying. I was working with some kids at work yesterday on literacy and just explaining why 'came' isn't spelled 'caem' even though 'ae' makes the correct middle vowel sound was so hard! And this is supposed to be a 'regular' word!

  15. As an English teacher, I completely agree! It's not even an issue that relates to ESL, really. I think the English language is just ridiculously tricky. Trying to teach grammar rules can be so frustrating at times, because when kids ask why something is the way it is...I can't say much more than "because it is" and shrug my shoulders.

    And yes, I would love for you to add me to your blogroll. I'll add you to mine!:) (also, I love Target way WAY more than Walmart, even with the obnoxious coupon lady!)

  16. Yah, I didn't live there very long, just 'till I was almost eight, but it was enough time to pick up the Pigeon! Thanks for adding me to your blog roll; I added you to mine!

  17. Hi again! Yes please feel free to add me to your blog roll and I will do the same as I really like your blog! My husband does the same thing, he will correct the way I pronounce certain words. Apparently, my southern drawl (I grew up outside of Charleston, SC) is more pronounced than his (he grew up in Winston-Salem, NC) so that makes him an "expert" LOL. I keep telling him I will say them however I please as long as they are technically correct!

  18. Hey there! I'm glad you stumbled onto my blog so that I could find yours. :)

    As to languages, I speak only English fluently, but I am proud (albeit failing) student of Mandarin Chinese and I speak some Southern. I've always heard Mandarin is the most difficult language to learn, with English a close second. As I am currently teaching my daughter to read, I have to agree. What is UP with all of our grammar oddities, idioms, weirdly spelled words and our huge vocabulary filled with words stolen from around the world?!?!

    Although Southern is also Quite Difficult to learn. Thank goodness it reads easier.

  19. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I agree totally with you that English makes no sense. I am a native speaker of English, but learned to speak Spanish fluently. Spanish is way more consistent grammatically than English. Learning Spanish helped me realize how ridiculously hard English really is.

  20. oh come on...learn that southern draw and southern slang and you can count it as another language you being southern I can say :)

  21. I'm from Davao so I speak at least 4 with a bit of Spanish. It's hard sometimes when you try to pronounce a word correctly but can't get rid of the accent. It's worth a try though.

  22. I had experience that a lot even. Even if we say English is our second language my native tongue still rules sometimes specially when you speaks panggasinan.I had a presentation in my Facilities Management exam and my teacher commented that I'm better than my Chinese co presentors but still it's not equal with the European classmates. But they not that good either but I realized maybe my pangasinan tongue strikes again. To add I also speak danish so that makes 4 languages.
    Have a nice day..


We're not mind readers. We appreciate our lurkers but we also LOVE comments! If you've got something in mind, please give us a holler or just SHARE us in your favorite Social Media channels - we'll take that too! :-)