Thursday, May 15, 2008

Losing my conjunctions

The past months I’ve been living and working here in Dubai I have observed that to communicate effectively in a country where multiple nationalities merge into one population one must bear in mind to use simple words.

Most of my career as a designer I’ve worked with different nationalities and I try my best to choose the right words and speak correct grammar. Maybe I have the inclination of being a perfectionist or maybe it’s just plain old Filipino pride - the pride that we must speak correct grammar because we are the largest English-speaking nation in Asia, or so they say. I spend time practicing correct pronunciation and developing fluency in speaking my second language. And then I arrived here – in a place where I am fast losing my conjunctions.

Imagine people from almost all corners of the globe speaking English in different levels of proficiency, different accents and different tones. It can drive one crazy. An Indian greeted me hello once and I thought he was angry at me. It’s the way he delivered the word – it sounded like “Hello, my goodness! What kind of a person are you?!” tone. Good thing I see him smiling with his moustache with flyaway tips curling upward.

Having that experience, I try my best to communicate effectively. I use the simplest sentences, almost refraining from using all the conjunctions, simplifying participles and just using plain root words. So instead of saying “Hello there! Have you eaten your lunch? What are you working on right now?” I just say “Helo. Lunch olredy yes? What wurrk you do now?” Oh yeah and prounouncing them without American accents helps.

The problem is I get used to doing it, the simplest but incorrect version, I mean, that when I talk to English native speakers it feels awkward because I have to switch to correct grammar mode again. It’s as if I’m repenting from my sins after backsliding for a few days. Kidding!

I am awed by cultural variety and I love to interact with different nationalities. In fact I am fascinated at how the different languages evolved and are now are so rich in terms of culture and diversity. On a good day I just smile and let my amazement take over me. But it gets difficult sometimes when you get bombarded with different languages and you drown in your own effort to understand.

On days like that I just sigh and say “Hay nako! Ewan ko sa’yo koya. Somasaket olo ko!!!


Jayred said...

Hay salamat...may update na (LOL).

Ghie, di ko alam na Bisaya ka pala.

Ako sira sira na ang Ingles dito. Kasi binabagalan ko magsalita ng Ingles tapos I speak it with a German or French accent (minsan Chinese accent pa pag kausap ko yung mga Chinese dito) para maintindihan ako. Sa sobrang kaka-adjust, ang Ingles ko ang nag-susuffer.

Buti nakita mo yung ngiti ng Indian despite the thick moustache. Nakatulong siguro na flyaway yun bigote nya, hahaha.

Don ka na lang sa mga native English speakers makipag-mingle para di masira Ingles mo. :-)

Pinoy Pan de Sal said...

Jayred! Alam mo na-miss kita lalo nung nagkausap tayo - miss ko ang kakulitan mo hehe...

Nakakapagod din kasi kapag laging mga native speakers kasama. Sakit sa panga kaka english :-D

Di ako maka update kasi wala pa kaming internet sa bahay. Dito sa office panakaw na sandali lang ang internet moments ko ;-)


China said...

i miss dropping by here in your site since ive change my blog name..

your in dubai..? wow i am to..

hay naku ive been here 5 yrs. naku indian accent, nakakaloka sya hahaha...

Jay-Ann said...

Hi, Ghie.

Kamusta na ba ang Dubai?
I miss Pinoy pan de sal!

Anonymous said...

China, yeah I know. Nakakaloka na nakakatuwa at the same time. Language is a wonderful thing - but confusing din! Hehe


shing said...

lol, naku, baka yumaman ako dyan bilang English teacher, ahahaha.