Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Perils of Learning a New Language

Just after we started dating, I invited my boyfriend, blonde, blue-eyed 6'2 cutie of German descent, to attend a family reunion.  I warned him that he would probably be one of three or four non-Pinoys, but I assured him that I would be his personal interpreter and that I would never leave his side lest the elder aunts converge upon him...

Before the reunion, said boyfriend asked me to teach him some appropriate Tagalog phrases, as the ones he had learned from neighborhood Pinoy friends might have been a tad sketchy.  So, I taught him the basics:

Magandang uMAga = Good morning.
Magandang HApon = Good afternoon.
Magandang gaBI = Good evening.

He proudly pointed out that they all began with MAG and would not be too hard to remember.

I also emphasized the importance of adding PO after every greeting to signify a sign of honor and respect.

On the day of the reunion, the aunts and female cousins were gathered in the living room, ready to meet the new boyfriend, who stood there confidently while I made introductions.  I held my breath as he began his well rehearsed greeting; I assumed his momentary hesitation was due to his trying to remember which one he needed to use for the time of day, which was a little after noon.

"Mag..." he began, "Mag...mag..." he slowly recited...and then suddenly with a bright smile, "Maghubad ka!" he beamed.  I gasped, and he turned and saw the look of horror on my face.

"Po!" He immediately recalled.  "Maghubad ka PO!"  He corrected.

Thereupon the aunts and cousins exploded into raucus laughter and advised me to hang on to this one.

He had just told one of them to take her clothes off.  Po.