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16 July 2010

Eddie, Larry Et. Al.: A Case of Batangueño Pronunciation

Back when I was a small kid going home with my family to my mother’s home town of Nasugbu, we had a relative who everyone simply referred to as Ka Osiang. She had two sons whom she used to holler at as Jee-reh and Poo-leh.

And, of course, being a small kid, I thought those were really their names…

It was years later, and only after I had acquainted myself with the nuances and correct phonetics of Her Royal Highness’ language, that I realized that Ka Osiang’s sons’ names were, in fact, Gerry and Polly.

I don’t really know how recall works, but this bit of memory was triggered by a couple of elfish young ladies I overheard yesterday at the mall’s supermarket loudly gossiping about a neighbor they referred to as Ee-deh. That would be Eddie to you and me, of course…

What a couple of women who would be more at home in a barangay talipapâ were doing shopping in a supermarket, I shall not even dwell on. But I do see all sorts along the supermarket aisles these days…

And while one went on about Ee-deh, the other spoke loudly about La-reh… That would be Larry, of course! Amorous, these two ladies were, but as I had a few more things to get from the other shelves, I left the two to their gossip.

We Tagalogs often get tickled when, say, an Ilonggo gets mixed up with his phonetic interpretation of the English language’s vowels. Not only do we often forget that the mix-ups only ever happen with words not native to the Ilonggos’ own dialect; we also tend to forget that, linguistically, we are no different.

The more sophisticated among us, of course, trained as we were by our Speech tutors, carefully enunciate our English vowels and are ever so careful not to get them mixed up. But go on a flying visit to the unfashionable little towns around the province, or even just to the bukir-bukir suburban barangays of this city, and one will still find simple folks who pronounce Letty as Lee-teh; Joey as Joo-weh; or Jimmy as Jee-meh.

These are the same folks who are most likely to clip syllables of certain words, so that buto is pronounced as boot-oh; sipon as sip-on; or puson as poos-on. And op kors, seven is seben and forty-five is portipayb…

Just like one of the supermarket ladies I was telling you about earlier was telling the other as I walked away from them, “Regaluhan mo na si Ee-deh ng matam-es na kindeh, ‘pag hindî pa naman nakahalatâ iyo’y pakyu na talaga siya…!!!”

Was I ever so glad when I had moved out of hearing distance… I would have died had I heard more…

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