In every region in the world that speaks English, you’ll notice unique slang and quirky usage. These different ways of using English add to the language, make it stay alive and keep it evolving.

While Filipinos generally regard American English conventions and rules as their frame of reference for “correct” English, who’s to say the way(s) we use English isn’t (also) correct?

Depending on the way you see it, it’s either a bastardization of a language or an indigenization of it. Now, now, it’s not as if we’re not guilty of doing the same to our own Filipino languages. See how broadcast journalists have been using the Tagalog word kaganapan (fulfillment or consummation) to mean pangyayari (event).

The linguists and dictionary-makers can decide whether some of our more unique Filipino English terms and usage are (already) considered correct or not. Meanwhile, the rest of us non-experts just use them in daily life.

Here are 8 instances of Filipino English terms/usage that may elicit much gnashing of teeth and knotted eyebrows or knowing nods and flat out laughs.

8. Stuck-up / Stuck

Pinoys have been heard saying “Na stuck-up yung gulong ng sasakyan sa putik.”

Don’t let your eyebrows get stuck-up together (tee hee), but “stuck-up” means arrogant.

7. Nothing to worry / Nothing to worry about

Pinoys have been heard saying “Nakahanda na lahat. You have nothing to worry.”

The line is usually with an “about” at the end, but if you’re in the Philippines and you forget the “about,” hey, no worries!

6. Pull a chair / Pull up a chair

Pinoys have been heard saying “Pull a chair.”

If you simply pull a chair, you could end up pulling it all over the place. If you add the word “up” after “pull,” it will mean to bring a chair close to where you are and to sit on it.

5. Simplier or Simply-er / Simpler

Speaking of “simply,” Pinoys have been heard pronouncing “simpler” as “simplier.”

If you’re having a fight with a pronunciation-Nazi, better not pronounce “simpler” incorrectly, or things could get uglier.

4. Last (date) / In (date)

Pinoys have been heard saying “Last 2013.” (Or any other date in the past.)

Usually, the “correct” way is to say “In (date),” and to use “last” only to refer to the most recent occurence. For example, when you say “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,” it would mean you are referring to last year’s Christmas and not the one in 1982.

Bonus: Pinoys also are used to saying “last last (date)” to mean “the (date) before last.” For example, “Last last Christmas” in other English-speaking regions would be said as “The Christmas before last,” or “The Christmas two years ago.”

3. Home buddy / Homebody

Pinoys have been seen spelling “homebody” as “home buddy.”

Perhaps it’s not surprising that one of the friendliest people in the world have ascribed a context of friendship into the term “homebody,” transforming it into “home buddy” and making it mean, ostensibly, “a friend who likes to hang out at home”?

That said, homebody means “a person whose life and interests are centred on the home.” It may or may not be one of the characteristics of being an introvert.

2. (Verb) already / Already (verb)

Pinoys have been heard saying “I (verb in past tense) already.”

Since we usually append “na” to Tagalog statements that denote actions done in the past, that may be where the “already” counterpart in English comes from.

Just so you know, the “usual” way to say it is “I already (verb in past tense).” Perhaps you knew that already?

1. Good morning Ma’amsir / Good morning

Pinoys have been heard saying “Good morning ma’amsir.”

Unless you’re going for the androgynous look, it can be pretty annoying sometimes when you certainly know you look like the gender you’re supposed to be and then to have someone call you a ma’amsir.

However, life is too short to constantly hate on this little quirk. After all, if you put yourself in the shoes of the person greeting you, you can well imagine that it’s no joke to work in the service industry. It can get pretty stressful when you’re up on your feet the whole day on the receiving end of instructions from stressed out (and sometimes rude) customers.

What if we look at “ma’amsir” as a word generated out of a need for efficiency? What if we just look at ma’amsir as a quintessentially Pinoy way of expressing our world-famous courtesy and hospitality (and even gender-equality!)? Onli in da Pilipins!

What other Filipino English terms or usage gets your goat or makes you laugh? Share in the Comments Section.

P.S. Check out 8 Foreigners Who Will Wow You With Their Tagalog Speaking Skills.

Walter Ang

Walter Ang has interests in science (the ones that don't need too much math), theater, yoga (vinyasa and ashtanga), Star Trek, astrology and general tomfoolery and shenanigans.

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