Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Losing My Language

Richard beating it until it's dead.

Once upon a time I could speak the language of my people. Sort of.

Years ago, when my trips away were measured in quarters rather than weeks, I used to spend months at a time in Manila living The Good Life. Fast living, fast women, not too fast cars and the necessity to actually speak the language in order to work the bars and clubs.

Sadly, it's been years since I've been to Manila and lived that life. Which also means that my ability to speak the language has waned along with my extended stays at home in Maryland.

I relate this because I recently asked Richard to come and do some work for me and his Tagalog is better than his English, which means that I've been struggling to speak the language of my people once again in order to communicate my wishes. The difficult part has been remembering the vocabulary and not mixing it too much with the crazy language I pretend that is Spanish. It's tubig instead of agua, and bumalik ako instead of yo regreso, something that I'm still struggling to translate instead of "beat it until it's dead!!!"

In the end, there's a lot of English, a modicum of Tagalog, a sneaking bit of Spanish and TONS of hand gestures, but the work is getting done.

Sort of.

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