Quirky Talk

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Recently I read from a fellow Filipino blogger about how hard it is to learn Mandarin due to different intonations. She also mentioned that our own language has similar quirkiness. So I am re-posting a story I concocted 5 years ago. Besides, it is “Buwan ng Wika.”


A foreigner arrived in the Philippines and was observing how the locals talk.

After she checked-in in her hotel room, she planned to go outside, so she headed to the elevator. While waiting, a mother and her toddler son were also waiting for the elevator.

The toddler tugged on his mother and said:

Child: Dede!

Mother: Dedede?

Child: Dede.

Then the mother handed his son the milk bottle.

When the elevator door opened the mother asked the lady inside the elevator:

Mother: Bababa ba?

Lady: Bababa.

So the mother and her child hopped inside the elevator. The foreigner hopped in too.

The mother marveled at the lady’s colorful manicured nails in the elevator and wondered if it’s real. The lady seemed to understand her inquisitive look, and said with a smile:

Lady: Kuko ko.

The mother smiled back and replied: Oh, oo.

After a couple of floors down, the elevator stopped and the doors opened. A man outside asked:

Man: Bababa ba?

Bababa.” The two ladies inside chimed.

What a fascinating language these locals speak, the foreigner thought to herself. How can they communicate with each other by just repeating one syllable?

As the elevator doors closed, the toddler tugged again on his mother and whispered:

Son: Pupupu po.

Mother: Pupupu?

Son: Pupu.

Soon a certain smell reeked inside the elevator, luckily it reached the ground floor and the passengers hurried to go out. As the elevator door opened the foreigner tried to break the ice with the locals. She said to them with an amusing grin:

Foreigner: Dadadada.

The locals looked at her baffled? Of course they did not understand her. They just shook their heads and under their breath they uttered: Gaga.


(*image from the net)


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