“Ano” is What

“Mama, ‘Ano’ is What!” This is what he proudly announced after having spoken the phrase “ano is what” to himself a couple of times. He was so thrilled to have realized that translation. When he was sure about it, he caught my attention, as if I was not listening all along. Sometimes I try to help it because he gets conscious and stops talking in Filipino/Tagalog altogether. The very few times he does, people around him can’t help but chuckle with his slang Tagalog. This is a puzzle to us, because we definitely speak straight Tagalog to each other around the house, how could it be that our little boy speaks slang Tagalog? Our theory is that the dynamics of how the tongue moves around the mouth to pronounce words is so different when one speaks in English compared to when one speaks in Tagalog.

Our son’s primary language is English. But even if this was so, he was never a snob. He almost always initiates, without thought on the language barrier with kids who only speak Tagalog. No parent would probably label him as a snob.

These past few weeks the hubby and I are teaching him how to talk in Tagalog and construct sentences. He understands Tagalog all right, but it has always been a struggle for him to speak it. You can talk to him in Tagalog and he can carry a conversation, but he is going to answer in English. At least he will not give you anymore, “what are you talking about?” questions, like he used to.

It is fun to see the kids from the church be amused over how Jed tries to talk with them in the vernacular, despite the struggle. Kids sometimes would ask him to talk in Tagalog instead, because this little guy talks a whole lot and they just cannot keep up. There was this one time in McDonald’s play area, when Jed was trying to make friends with a couple of kids and one of the kids said, “Di ka maiintindihan niyan, Hapon yan eh!” (He won’t understand you, he’s Japanese!) I could not help but chuckle in my seat as I write with one of the stores promotional pens while I watch them play. 😀

This is yet again another milestone for our son. This little chatterbox is already bilingual at three years old. It thrills him to hear himself speak in Tagalog/Filipino and that he is able to communicate in our native tongue. It amuses both me and his father that he is learning all these things. 😀

“Ano” is What

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