Language Barriers

I have a new job! Yay!

It’s not even my first day yet (I’ll start in June) but already I was invited to a get-together with my future co-workers. I arrive 30 minutes late to dinner, through no fault of mine. I see they’ve finished eating. Fast eaters, these future coworkers of mine. I see we’ll get along just fine.

They usher me in, order extra rice. Good thing somebody else is late or else I couldn’t have eaten a thing, eating alone in public. Everybody welcomes me, then resumes the previous topic of conversation. Everybody talks all at once, laughs all at once, shrieks all at once. From amidst all the noise, my ear picks up a line, “Kabalo ni?” (“Do you understand?”)

Gamay…” (“A little…”) I squeak out with a sheepish smile. And everybody laughs once again and resumes talking in Bisaya, a dialect I barely understand but is slowly taking over the turf of Chavacano speakers. I see I have much to learn.

The rest of the night I spend nodding when anybody talks and laughing when anybody laughs. I struggle to memorize words. Very important is, “Unsa?” (“What?”)

I’m sure I’ll use it much in my work.


  1. visayans are everywhere. but isn’t gim bisaya? then learning that dialect oughta be good for you. :)

    lessons for the day: “do you understand?” is “kasabot ka?” and “do you know?” is “kabalo ka?”

    happy learning! hehehe.

  2. yes gim is bisaya but we converse in chavacano…

    d first thing he taught me was “nihigugma gyud ku nimo”

    or something like that. hehehe.

    he also teaches me bad words.

  3. congratz!!! blow out naman dyan :) ano nga pala yun new job mo? i remember my first day at work. i saw this guy walking and he has nice greyish/greenish eyes. i told myself, wow meron pogi sa work ko. i found out an hour later, boss ko pala sya *yahoooo* super inspired ako *hehehe* he once spoke to me in french. i answered back in french too. gulat nya! kala nya sya lang marunong noh *hehehe*

  4. that’s good. keep an open mind. absorb everything. it pays to speak or try speaking other languages other than tagalog. in our hospital, talking to the dialect with patients set them at ease and let them open us easily, while with hospital staff, you can get some perks in handling with them. :) tani makahambal ka na sang lain pa gid nga mga halambalon iban pa sa tagalog. halong. :)

  5. Flisha! Alam ko yung sinabi sa yo ni Gim. I used to date an Ilonggo girl for 6 years. We still chat on YM regularly because she’s based in Bacolod…

    Good luck with the job.

  6. Jaleesa, programmer po. :) Ey, linked u up na pala.

    Julsitos, I don’t understand!!! Waahhh…

    Punzi, I thought Illonggo was different from Bisaya..?

  7. Yes, pero yung “gugma” o “hugma?” means roughly the same in the Visayas…

    Nagpaturo kasi akong sabihin yan don sa girl sa isang Cebuanang marunong mag-Ilonggo. Siya nagsabi na pareho (for that particular word).


  8. it’s “nahigugma ko nimo” fli. actually, there are similar words in ilonggo and bisaya. but there are more similar words in ilonggo and chavacano.