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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Lisp

I'm not really fastidious when it comes to grammar or pronounsheyshen. After all, English is the language of our American colonizers who simply supplanted the Spaniards who came before them. We simply embraced it as our own. As such we have developed our own brand of Philippine English, which may or may not sound strange when compared to the Queen's English (who say's "blimey!" or "lorry" or "knackered" in this part of the world, anyway?). Chief among these differences is diction. Sometimes when Filipinos speak English it is difficult for an American to grasp it because of the different sound. One good example would be the P and F syndrome which can easily sow confusion. I know a lot of people who keep interchanging their p's and f's. Remember pamily size fefferoni fizza?

I used to give Johnny Bravo tongue twisters to cure him of his lisp (this is a lisp, right?). Professor-fropessor, froposal-proposal, priend-friend, farish priest-parish friest- the choices are endless. He'd end up cursing me a lot of times, though for being a smart-ass.

It's not exactly the same with the B and V syndrome, however. I haven't heard anybody say "vanana" yet or "voy" for "boy", but I've heard "banilla" and "behicle" plenty of times.

There are variations, too. Like my former office colleage HeartThrob, who couldn't pronounce "th" properly, it always sounded like a hard "d". "The" sounds like "Da"; "There" is "Der". I once knew a dormmate whose "s" simply flew out the window, replaced by "th". His name was Denis, or more precisely, "Denith". Try to ignore listening to him say "thomtimes" or "today is thunday".

I do not know if the problem is biological (like tongue position, etc, Jun the scientist may want to explain this), I'm not sure if it's cultural either (this seems pretty common among Tagalog speakers, but since I grew up speaking Cebuano and disliking Tagalog, I may be biased).

Which is not to say that I take a better-than-thou attitude because I don't have those diction problems. Far from it. I have a strong Cebuano accent, very evident when I speak Tagalog. In addition, Cebuanos and other Visayans are notorious for interchanging the vowel sounds of "e" and "i". Listening to that classic declamation piece, "Give me Leberty, or give me Deeth," could easily make one wish for Deeth, I mean Death, for the speaker, instead. It irritates me a lot when somebody immediately inquires from which province I come from. I grew up reading and speaking English, speaking Cebuano at home and hating Tagalog (my lowest grades in grade school and high school were Pilipino subjects). Maybe because I use English a lot that's why my p's and f's remain crisp bweheheh. Ppppo-vvvver-ty! Ppppro-ffffi-cient! Pppper-fffect! See?

Who am I kidding. :)

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