Twisted Tongue

In a birthday party Zoe attended last Saturday, Zoe shyly joined the other kids and fell in line to get a goodie bag. Knowing how shy Zoe can be, I was so happy and proud that she tried to overcome her fear and shyness enough to go to the front without me. It helped that Sam, my friend’s daughter, went with her. When the host asked Zoe (in Tagalog) what she would like to say to Cassie, the adorable birthday girl, she answered “Zoe”. The host tried a second time, and Zoe again said her name, this time with a little more emphasis. I had a feeling she was clueless to what the host was saying, as Tagalog might actually sound so foreign to her. So when we got home, I commended her for going to the front and falling in line without me, then I praised her for answering the host. I prodded further to know what the host asked her and Zoe said, “he was asking for my name, so I said ‘Zoe’.” My hunch was confirmed, she didn’t comprehend the question at all, but assumed one thing. I have been trying to teach her a few tagalog questions and one of it is asking her name in Tagalog. Uh-oh, looks like she needs a translator!

Can’t blame her. I used to have a hard time with Tagalog myself. I also grew up with English as our means of communicating at home. When we transferred to our new home in a different place, all the neighborhood kids were speaking in Tagalog. They thought I came from the States because I was speaking in English, when in fact I came from Taft, Manila, hehehe, where all my friends were “English spokening” too. My mom would recall how I tried my best to fit in and talk to my new playmates, even if it meant getting the Tagalog language all wrong (“Halika, Cathy, pasok ka, walang hiya ka, walang hiya,” as I invited a playmate over our house, convincing her not to be shy; this is just to give you an example). Well, with a little help from my neighborhood friends and by watching the old Tagalog movies (was it PPP?) during the afternoons, I was speaking the language in no time. I never did get that good at it and I would still have my occasional misuse of words here and there, but at least I went through school and passed my Filipino subjects without any problem. It’s not anymore foreign to me and it’s not as if I talk “coniotic” like some collegiala girls, haha. Although it helps sometimes that Taglish is acceptable.

I’m not sure how or when Zoe will learn to speak Tagalog, but she will have to. After all, she is Filipino. I’m sure her first few tries will be hilarious, too, but she’ll get the hang of it. I  just hope I’ll get to teach her right : )


September 4, 2008. Tags: , , . General, Zoe stories.


  1. kg replied:

    Buti na lang di ka naaway nung kalaro when you sain “Pasok ka, walang hiya ka, walang hiya.” So FUNNY!

    Anyway, I strongly agree that Zoe (or any other Filipino kid for that matter) should learn our native language. I don’t mean to sound so patriotic, but we ARE Filipinos and learning to speak Filipino is at least one thing we should do as Filipinos. (Actually, Wendy’s lowest grade in school is in Filipino. She is having a hard time in this subject, and I am getting frustrated. So were giving this subject double the effort. Ayoko namang dun pa sya madali.)

    Sige na Mam Trish, get that tongue untwisted na.:)

  2. Rico replied:

    I almost fell from my seat laughing!
    She really should learn Tagalog! My friend’s nephew who also speaks twisted Tagalog is also having a hard time in his Filipino subjects.

  3. mandy replied:

    hi tricia, my daughter naman, weird ang words nya, she can understand but not so on conjugation or malalim na tagalog, she’s a little better now that she’s in gradeschool.:) i’m adding you to my blog roll. 😉

  4. eks replied:

    binibining trisha,

    ako po ay mahusay mag-filipino. sa mababang halaga na ating mapagkakasunduan, maaari kong turuan si zoe ng ating pambansang wika. promise. 🙂

    nakakatawa ang pangyayari na iyong binanggit. 🙂

  5. jose rizal replied:

    Ginang Tricia,

    “Ang hindi magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa ang amoy sa malansang isda”. Ako naman, libre kong tuturuan ang anak mo pati na rin ikaw ng ating pambansang salita. Game ka ba? 😉 Ako nga kung saan-saang bansa napadpad ay di ko nalimutan magsalita ng Pilipino. Kung kaya ko, kaya n’yo rin 🙂

  6. jenny replied:

    Funny girl ka pa la dati! Your post got me to thinking, we are teaching Belle English, but we shouldn’t forget Tagalog too. And there’s our Chinese language too. Our elders will berate us if we don’t teach our kid Chinese. Kids today should be multi-lingual. 🙂

  7. nicemorning replied:

    You can teach her Filipino easily…and it’s good that you’re starting early. Mas mahihirapan sha pag older na.


  8. baduday replied:

    Hi all,

    I agree. Zoe will eventually have to learn Filipino. Hindi talaga pwedeng hindi, pero mahirap talaga ang language natin no?
    kg, rico, nice: i promise to get that tongue untwisted, haha. Although I bet it will take a long time. Perhaps if she has more playmates she’ll be learning a word or two.
    Mandy: I’ll add you too to my blogroll : )
    Eks and Jose Rizal: Salamat sa inyong offer (hay, wala na akong maisip na salita para dito!). Sisikapin ko sa lubos ng aking makakaya na maturuan ang anak ko ng salitang Filipino. Alam ko nararapat lang na alam nya ito kahit anong bansa pa sya mapunta.
    Jenny: Oo nga no, harder pa for you kasi pati Chinese dapat matutunan ni Belle. Alam mo ba I told myself I also want Zoe to learn Mandarin. Wala lang, tingin ko plu kasi sya. Good luck sa atin!

  9. ven replied:

    hi ma’am trish and to the rest of the readers,
    i was one of the hosts of cassie’s birthday. pasensya na di ko naalala na hindi masyadong marunong si zoe ng wikang filipino. i was too much focused on the program flow that it totally slipped my mind.

    and ma’am trish, you’re right about zoe’s answer being the most unique. hehehe. she should have taken the toy kitchen set. bawi na lang next time 😉

  10. josephine gementera replied:

    hahaha! wag mo tuturo ke Zoe yung walang hiya ha! 🙂 Cute nga ni Zoe eh, sumagot pa din kahit di nya naiintindihan! 🙂

  11. baduday replied:

    Hi Ven!It’s okay! I’ve been thinking nga, baka if you asked her pa rin in English, baka Zoe pa rin ang isasagot nya, haha!

    Hi Jo! Congrats on Cassie’s successful first bday party! Naku, kahit super shy ang anak ko the whole time, she really enjoyed the party. Can’t wait to hear her speak barok tagalog!

  12. ree replied:

    hey tricia. i’m like that too; my hubby says my tagalog is “pang-comics” whatever that means. and i have a tendency to mix up words, like saying i got my cool retro dress from my lola’s ataul instead of baul! hehe

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