6 English Words Almost Always Mispronounced by Pinoys

So people do this thing where they make fun of others who speak English in heavy Filipino accents. They hear “bejtebol” and start howling in laughter. Which is mean, I think. And also kinda silly. English is not our first language, no matter how hard you’ve convinced yourself that three months training for a call center agent job means you’re a native English speaker. And of course we have an accent. Everyone does, except maybe the British. But then they have the Cockney non-accent, the Yorkshire non-accent, the Manchester non-accent. You get get what I mean.

Furthermore, why make fun of people who say “Der are plenty op pish in da sea” when you’re probably pronouncing a bunch of common English words wrong anyway:

  1. Organization/Documentary/Hippopotamus/etc. That’s ORganization, docuMENtary and hippoPOtamus. We say orGANIzation, documenTARY, and hippopoTAmus. I think that when we encounter words longer than four syllables, we just put the accent wherever it feels natural.
  2. Scarcity. That’s SCARE city, not SCAR city. Also, scarce is pronounced “skeyrs”. I have never met an economics teacher who could say this word right. Or even the word mortgage, for that matter.
  3. Mortgage. It’s MOR-gij, not MORT-gaje. The “t” is silent. And not silent the way idiots tell you (wrongly) to drop the “t” when saying words like “pretty” and “forty-one” so you’ll sound Emereyken. I mean it’s completely silent. It’s taken from French — you know, the language with a lot of silent “t”s?
  4. Gross. No, it’s not “gros”. It’s pronounced “grow s”, the way you say, “Ough, gross!” Even when you’re using it in the context of business/accounting/finance, such as “gross income” and “gross profit”.

There, see. We’re almost all of us guilty of mispronouncing common English words. (I myself do not give a flying bleep; I just posted the list above to make a point.) So try to be a little kinder when you’re unable to connect your iPad to the cafĂ© wifi because you have difficulty understanding the waiter who tried to dictate the password to you. Just ask him to write it down, keeping in mind that you’ve been saying resumĂ© wrong for years (it’s rezoomay, not reshoomay).

By Tania Arpa

Thinker, writer, skeptic, spy. Geek. I do my own stunts. Follow me on Twitter at @TaniaArpa.

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