I am married to a most wonderful young lady who just so happens to be from the Philippines. She is smart, hard working, and pleasingly feminine. This last trait is something that our current American culture seems determined to beat out of young women, which is a tragedy for the majority of us who have to live with the consequences of this social experimentation.
But lamenting the foolishness of radical cultural programming is not my purpose here. Rather I wish to, in a good hearted way, relay some of her fumblings with the English language.
English is not my wife's first language. She grew up speaking Bisaya, a dialect common to the southern islands of the Philippine archipelago. (Yes, I had to look up the word "archipelago" to ensure it really meant what I thought it did, and to see how to spell it. English is hard!) Bisaya is spoken on the island of Cebu, where it is called Cebuano. The people from the island of Bohol speak a variant of the language called Boholese. As my wife is from Mindanao, she refers to her language as Bisaya.
More Filipinos speak Bisaya than Tagalog, but since the folks who live in the areas of Luzon around Manila speak Tagalog, the "official language" of the Philippines, ("Filipino", I believe), is based on Tagalog, not Bisaya. So my wife also speaks Tagalog.
English is therefore her third language. Considering this, she speaks it quite well. (In comparison, my feeble attempts to speak Bisaya are met with confused stares and/or shrugged shoulders.) However, there are times when her internal translator seems to fail her, most notably dealing with directions or gender.
Apparently Bisaya doesn't have gender specific pronouns such as "he" or "she", or "his" or "hers". The inability to use the correct pronoun is common amongst her friends too, leading to the mother often being corrected by a child saying, "No Mom, it's "HE" not "SHE"!" While I suppose advocates of multiple genders and "gender fluidity", (whatever the heck that is!), would welcome such a linguistic concept, to me it is just a minor quirk we all have learned to live with.
"Right" and "left" are often interchanged, many times leading to my snarky comment, "Oh, you meant the OTHER right?" This is usually just another linguistic quirk we overlook, except when I am driving and asking for directions. Then it can become irritating. (Or, as my wife would say, I become needlessly upset over nothing.)
Finally, I would like to relate two specific examples of my wife's "Filipina English" that I find particularly amusing.
1. Positive Smelly Thing. One day soon after my wife had arrived in the USA, and she was still adapting to speaking English instead of Bisaya, we were out walking and she said to me, "You're a smelly thing." I was taken aback by this, and asked her why she said that. She then explained to me that I was a "positive smelly thing", meaning she liked the way I smelled.
2. Rabbits aren't mammals; they're rodents. Although wrong on BOTH counts, (rabbits are NOT rodents, but they most certainly are mammals), the intent of this statement was not to deny that rabbits are mammals, but rather clarify that they are rodents.
Interestingly rabbits were in fact once considered rodents. It wasn't until the early 20th century that scientists decided to classify them as something else. Who knows ..... maybe in the future they'll be lumped back in with rats, mice, and squirrels into one big happy group of furry little animals.
P.S. In Mindanao frogs make the sound, "Kokak", whereas here in America they go, "Ribbit". The reason why our American frogs don't croak, "Kokak" is obvious, if you think about it. American frogs don't know Bisaya!