Top 5 Confusing Filipino-English phrases

Confusing Filipino-English phrasesYou’ve moved to Aus­tralia and you’re thank­ful that Eng­lish is your sec­ond lan­guage or your oth­er first lan­guage. You, how­ev­er, have noticed that there are some words that, even if they’re in Eng­lish, aren’t under­stood by native Eng­lish speak­ers. (I used to say ‘open line’ until I found out that it’s not a term used in Aus­tralia. Ha!) Read the list of con­fus­ing Fil­ipino-Eng­lish phras­es that Aussies may not under­stand, so you’ll know what I’m talk­ing about.

Confusing Filipino-English phrasesTop 1 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: Comfort room, more specifically C.R.

In oth­er coun­tries, a com­fort room or C.R. is called pub­lic toi­let, restroom, bath­room, or wash­room. If you say ‘C.R.’, there’s a 1% chance Aussies will under­stand you. You have a bet­ter chance of get­ting direc­tions to the near­est toi­lets if you say ‘com­fort room’.

Top 2 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: Open the light or open the computer

Instead of ‘open’, say ‘turn on’ or ‘switch on’ the light or the com­put­er. I under­stand that the con­fu­sion stems from the trans­la­tion into Taga­log or Fil­ipino of ‘turn on’, ‘switch on’ and ‘open’ which is ‘bukas’. Because ‘open’ is a more com­mon word, it’s so easy for us Fil­ipinos to make the mis­take of say­ing ‘open’ even if we mean ‘turn on’ or ‘switch on’. If you say ‘open the light or com­put­er’, you’ll be under­stood any­where in the world, but it’s best to use the cor­rect verb phrase to be a bet­ter communicator.

Confusing Filipino-English phrasesTop 3 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: Open line

I remem­ber going to a mobile phone and acces­sories shop telling a sales assis­tant I’d like to get an ‘open line’ phone, so I can change telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vice providers and not wor­ry. I’ll nev­er for­get the look of con­fu­sion on the poor guy’s face. Thank­ful­ly, my friend man­aged to deci­pher the code and feed me the cor­rect ter­mi­nol­o­gy — unlocked phone. Haha! She said the guy prob­a­bly thought I want­ed help set­ting up a phone dat­ing account.

Top 4 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: Copy furnish

Copy fur­nish sounds so pro­fes­sion­al but archa­ic. Aussies will under­stand you, but you’ll be noticed in a way that peo­ple who come in with a portable CD play­er get noticed. Instead of say­ing ‘copy fur­nish me’, say ‘car­bon copy or CC me’ or ‘copy me in’.

Confusing Filipino-English phrasesTop 5 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: State of calamity

Accord­ing to The Lawyers Post, a State of Calami­ty is defined under Sec­tion 3 of RA 10121, known as the “Philip­pine Dis­as­ter Risk Reduc­tion and Man­age­ment Act of 2010,” as “a con­di­tion involv­ing mass casu­al­ty and/or major dam­ages to prop­er­ty, dis­rup­tion of means of liveli­hoods, roads and nor­mal way of life of peo­ple in the affect­ed areas as a result of the occur­rence of nat­ur­al or human-induced haz­ard.” Only Fil­ipinos use this term, so don’t be sur­prised if Aussies give you a ques­tion­ing look if this term slips out. The rest of the world refers to a state of a coun­try after being struck by a nat­ur­al or human-trig­gered dis­as­ter as a state of emer­gency, no mat­ter how extreme­ly calami­tous it is.

The longer you live in Aus­tralia or any coun­try with Eng­lish as its native lan­guage, the bet­ter you’ll be at pick­ing up real world Eng­lish, and this will help you avoid using Eng­lish terms that are only under­stood by Fil­ipinos. I hope this list of con­fus­ing Fil­ipino-Eng­lish phras­es will help you adapt quick­er in the Land Down Under. Oi! Oi!


If you know a con­fus­ing Fil­ipino-Eng­lish term sim­i­lar to the words above, please share it here. Thanks! 🙂

Top 5 tips to improve your spelling of English words

spelling of English wordsFor some peo­ple it’s easy to remem­ber the spelling of Eng­lish words; for oth­ers, it isn’t. If Eng­lish is sim­i­lar to your lan­guage mak­ing spelling chal­leng­ing for you or spelling is just dif­fi­cult for you (no excus­es need­ed), try some of my tips to improve your spelling of Eng­lish words.

Top 1: Write the word many times until it becomes muscle memory.

When you dri­ve, do you tell your­self the steps before you turn left or right, or do you sim­ply do it with­out think­ing? If you’ve got your dri­ver license, I trust it’s the lat­ter because by now the steps are mus­cle mem­o­ry. Make that your goal with spelling Eng­lish words as well. By writ­ing the dif­fi­cult-to-spell words sev­er­al times, it’ll become auto­mat­ic for your hand to spell them correctly.

Top 2: Draw parallelisms between the difficult-to-spell and easy-to-spell words.spelling of English words

Break the word into syl­la­bles and note which part you always mis­spell. Think of a word that is spelt the same way as the part you always get wrong and write it next to the word. For instance, if you always spell ‘real­ly’ with one L, work on fix­ing your spelling of the first part. Write ‘kill’, ‘doll’ or any word with dou­ble L that you can con­fi­dent­ly spell next to or above ‘real’ in the word ‘real­ly’.

Top 3: Say the letters to yourself out loud.

If you are an audi­to­ry learn­er, say the let­ters of the dif­fi­cult word to your­self. Say it out loud over and over again until you become con­fi­dent at spelling it. While say­ing it to your­self, you can also write it to cre­ate an audio-visu­al lock.

Top 4: Read. Just read.spelling of English words

You can stare at the word and just learn its spelling, or you can expose your­self to more words by read­ing dif­fer­ent kinds of texts on top­ics you’re inter­est­ed in. The more you see words, the more famil­iar you become with the pat­terns of let­ters, which will lead to your mas­tery of the spelling of many Eng­lish words.

Top 5: ‘Air-write’ the difficult-to-spell words.

Air-writ­ing cre­ates the con­nec­tion between your brain and your writ­ing hand to help you remem­ber the spelling of words. It’s sim­ple — first, write the word on a sheet of paper. Then, instead of writ­ing the same word sev­er­al times, let your index fin­ger trace over it many times. When you’re more con­fi­dent, try to air-write the word with­out the spelling guide.

Don’t let spelling put you down. Try two or three ways to improve your spelling of Eng­lish words and you’ll see the dif­fer­ence. Good luck with your spelling!

If you need help with your pro­nun­ci­a­tion of Eng­lish words, click on this. 🙂

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Top 5 ways to improve English pronunciation

Improv­ing one’s Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion can be chal­leng­ing. If you’re an adult who wants to per­fect your pro­nun­ci­a­tion, be kind to your­self. Remem­ber that it took you some time to learn your lan­guage and devel­op the accent you pos­sess, and you may have just dis­cov­ered some sounds you don’t have in your own lan­guage. Plus, although there are only 26 let­ters in the Eng­lish alpha­bet, there are 44 sounds. Before you stop read­ing this blog and just give up, allow me to calm the fear in you. Here are my top 5 ways to improve Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion. They’re very easy and fun, too.

Top 1: You can remem­ber the pro­nun­ci­a­tion of a word by writ­ing anoth­er word that rhymes with the part of the word you often mispronounce.ways to improve English pronunciation

When I was study­ing in Aus­tralia, I noticed my lec­tur­ers kept say­ing organ­i­sa­tion in a dif­fer­ent way. The ‘i’ in the mid­dle of the word organisation is pro­nounced with a long i, not a short i, which is how Amer­i­cans and Cana­di­ans say it. In my desire to remem­ber it, I wrote the word ‘nice’ just above the word ‘organisation’, so every time I looked at it, I was remind­ed of how Aussies pro­nounce it. When you learn a new word, think of a word with a sim­i­lar pro­nun­ci­a­tion in Eng­lish or your lan­guage and do the same.

Top 2: Copy the actors’ pro­nun­ci­a­tion in Eng­lish movies and TV series and pre­sen­ters’ pro­nun­ci­a­tion in Eng­lish podcasts.

You might think it doesn’t work, but it does. As a non-native speak­er myself, I grew up watch­ing Sesame Street, Amer­i­can films and TV series and mim­ic­k­ing the actors. If lis­ten­ing to pod­casts is more of your thing, you can copy the pre­sen­ters’ pro­nun­ci­a­tion instead.

Top 3: Record your voice and com­pare it with a record­ing you can get from rep­utable online dictionaries.

ways to improve English pronunciationSome­times, you don’t know when you’re mis­pro­nounc­ing a word. Repeat­ed­ly say­ing a word isn’t a sure-fire way to improve your pro­nun­ci­a­tion because you may just be repeat­ing the wrong pro­nun­ci­a­tion. In the com­forts of your room, say a word aloud and record it. Then, com­pare it with a record­ing of the same word from online dic­tio­nar­ies like Cam­bridge, Oxford and Mer­ri­am-Web­ster. If they’re not the same, do it again and again, and pos­si­bly again, until you get it right. Once you get it right, mem­o­rise the posi­tion of your tongue and your lips. Keep doing the whole process until you can say the word cor­rect­ly at least five times in a row.

Top 4: Sing along to Eng­lish songs.

Lis­ten to an inter­view with the world-renowned band, The Bea­t­les. Then, lis­ten to one of their hit songs. Notice that their strong British accent van­ish­es when they sing. If you keep singing Eng­lish songs and tak­ing note of how singers pro­nounce words, you can improve your pro­nun­ci­a­tion. If you don’t like singing because you’re tone deaf, remem­ber that you don’t have to be in tune since you’re not audi­tion­ing for Aus­tralian Idol or The Voice.

Top 5: Talk to peo­ple from oth­er coun­tries or native speakers­.way to improve English pronunciation

When you chat with peo­ple in Eng­lish, you’ll know you need to improve your pro­nun­ci­a­tion if they’re hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty under­stand­ing you. The meet­ing of eye­brows matched with a quizzi­cal look is the most telling clue. Sim­ply try to change your pro­nun­ci­a­tion of a par­tic­u­lar word or group of words until they under­stand what you’re try­ing to say.

Chat with native speak­ers and take note of how they pro­nounce words. Try to remem­ber the new pro­nun­ci­a­tions you’ve learnt from your con­ver­sa­tions. If you’re a shy per­son, go to a pub or bar and get a bit of alco­hol in your sys­tem (NOTE: a bit), so you can relax a lit­tle. Join triv­ia com­pe­ti­tions and oth­er activ­i­ties that will require you to com­mu­ni­cate in no oth­er lan­guage but Eng­lish. Have fun, but don’t for­get to lis­ten and take note of their pronunciation.

Improv­ing your Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion will not hap­pen overnight. You need to work very hard. Pick at least 3 of the ways to improve Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion and speak Eng­lish at every oppor­tu­ni­ty you can. You can do it!

If you need some tips to improve your spelling of Eng­lish words, click on this. 🙂