children-related, motherhood

My Nightmare is Happening

If there is something I am very particular about with my son’s development, it is his language skills. He speaks straight English, not Taglish, not Korean-English.

Today, while I was about to close the door in the toilet, he said, “Mommy, don’t close the door, ha.”


Imagine my dismay!

I know, I know! My parents, my relatives and his nanny all try their very best to communicate with him. They communicate with him in their own way, their own English. So far, they have been doing very well. My son understands them, they understand him. I just cringe every time I hear a sentence spoken in mixed English and Tagalog and… in our case here, it is also most often mixed with Hiligaynon words.

Mid-October, we are going back to Manila. It will be another nightmare. Just thinking about, “Where ba?“, “Why ba?“, “It’s like this kasi…” Whoaaa!!!

At least here in Iloilo, I have the temerity to immediately tell my son, “No ‘Ha’! Just say, Mommy, don’t close the door” without being conscious if I offend or not. My family has been so used to my lack of tact. But, in front of my in-laws? Grrrr!

For my son’s sake, I am actually tempted to put my plan into action. Before coming home for vacation, I planned to tell my son’s nanny to speak to him in straight Hiligaynon and my in-laws in Manila to speak to him in straight Tagalog. I read and I believe that that’s the best way to learn a language. A child just needs to identify the source of a particular language and he will have the capacity to relate to that identified source in a particular language. That would greatly benefit him, not to mention speed up his language-learning skills, and I could relax knowing that he wouldn’t have to learn to speak the Kris-Aquino way. But hubby protested! He might have been thinking, I would offend his parents and his brothers and sisters-in-law. But much as I adore his beautiful nieces, I really, really hate listening to them speak in Tag-lish! I know they are children. But, that’s how their parents speak to them. Of course, it follows that’s how they would speak, too.

Oh, spare me! My Ilonggo-diction may sometimes come out whenever I speak, but I do consciously try to avoid sounding pa-sosyal. And diction is not my issue.  If I have my way, I try to speak in straight Ilonggo or in straight Tagalog or in straight English… at least, in so far, as my sentences are structured.

Obviously, I have this obsession when it comes to my son’s speaking skills. Imagine a man trying to sound pa-sosyal in his Tag-lish sentences! A Fil-Am with a twang surely sounds amusing. But a Filipino who was born and who grew up in the Philippines? Stop the pretensions!!! Gretchen Barretto? Ughh!

This ranting has gone too far. LOL. Anyway, this just shows how particular I am with language. Language is one of the two things I notice in children. The other one being, a toddler carrying his feeding-bottle everywhere. I silently cringe whenever I see an almost 2-year old toddler drinking his milk, and worse! his water, from a feeding bottle. It’s going too far if I see a toddler accessorized by his feeding bottle in playgrounds and malls. But hey, this is just me!

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8 thoughts on “My Nightmare is Happening

  1. halu ate wendy! it’s possible. it is scientifically proven. you expose your child to the languages you want him to learn and he won’t get them confused, until the age of 8 (or 10)… my 3 year old niece can speak straight in english, tagalog and ilocano. possible po ate… they learned how to speak in tagalog because of their nannies from bacolod yata. narinig ko pa nga yung first niece ko non nagsasalita na rin ng few bisayan words. nagmumura pa in bisaya.. i just told her not to say that again. she was asking me why and i just said they were bad words.

  2. hi jehan – thanks! i would love for my son to learn to speak different languages (who wouldn’t? hehehe). i just hope he doesn’t mix dialects or languages in his sentences. i would love to see the day when i can converse with him in straight ilonggo… or straight tagalog (would this be possible? i can’t speak straight tagalog hahaha)… or straight english.

  3. hi giselle, well, i guess it can’t be avoided:-)

    hi arvinsign, i hear the same comments all the time about the Ilonggo diction. but when i’m angry, my husband could only protest about that common perception. LOL.

    hi klyte, thanks for visiting my blog.

    hi thess, it’s hard to tolerate both hahaha.

  4. don’t worry ate wendy, i think he just talks to the elders or his companions the way they talk to him. maybe he was just so scared you’d close the door so he also said “ha?”… because my nieces were also raised speaking in english but they surprisingly learned how to talk in tagalog and ilocano. when we speak to them in english, they answer us in straight english. when they speak to their nannies, they speak in tagalog or taglish and when they speak to their other friends, they speak in ilocano (trying hard pa)… we also don’t talk to them unless they speak in english…

  5. oh dear!!!.. it kind of reminds me when my sister was here and she advised me to speak to my daughter in ilonggo. she said it would help my Khloe learn ilonggo fast.

    i also have the same dilemma. mine is worst. it’s kind of connected as to which school she’s going to when she grows up. and even which country to live. aside from the fact that my daughter has to learn ilonggo and tagalog, i also have to consider which second language she should learn: (french in canada or spanish here in the US).

    but if im in your shoes, i can tolerate a bit of kris aquino ‘taglish’ instead of the “me” or “you”. like “tapos na me, mommy” or “kain na you, mommy”. that irritates the heck out of me!

  6. hi, i enjoy reading your blog. there’s a lot of things here i can relate to when it comes to parenting.

    you’re so funny and i understand your frustrations. don’t worry, once he goes back to school , it’ll all come back. i assume he goes to an all english speaking school in korea. he may be talking taglish right now because that’s what he hears all the time but you shouldn’t worry about it. your son is very smart. as long as you’re around him, he’ll be fine. i was the same way with my kids, i get hard on them sometimes because i always want them to speak proper english and not get used to “the american slang”. you’re not alone.

  7. “My Ilonggo-diction may sometimes come out whenever I speak”

    Seriously Wendy, im in love with this Ilonggo diction…so malambing and pleasing to the ears 🙂 (at least from the point of view of a pure tagalog person like myself)

  8. you have the same dilemma as my aunt. My cousin used to speak in straight English as well. she started speaking Taglish when she started school. To keep it from getting worse, my aunt decided not to answer her when she doesn’t speak proper English. It didn’t work the way she planned it though. My cousin talks to her in straight English and uses Taglish with her friends.

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