Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The V/W Syndrome

In the Philippines we have a lot of grammatical syndromes.  Thanks I believe to the Spanish language where most of these come from (if you notice, Spanish-speaking folks also have similar syndromes like the P & F) or just plain inability to enunciate. 

Notice there is no "wa" because it's the same as "va"
In Sri Lanka, grammatical syndromes also exist.  The most obvious of which is the V and W where they change V into W.  This is because in Sinhala script and language, there is only one character for V and W.

So let’s have some examples:

Visa = Wisa
Vacation = Wacation
Victory = Wictory

A lot of confusion can exist if you are not aware!  Especially if you are SMS-ing with them.  You will notice a lot of “V”’s.  They are not “very” as we would write it, but rather “we.”

Once, we asked the owner of the Kabayan Filipino Restaurant (more on this later!), Ate Leah if aside from Efficacent Oil, does she also have Vicks.  She said, “available yan dito!  Pero kailangan sabihin mo Wicks.”  (“that is available locally!  But you have to ask for Wick.)”  Hmm...

During a Filipino community gathering just this Sunday, we formally met a lady who was on the same flight when we came home last April.  I asked for her name and she said, “Wilma.”  I repeated, “ah Wilma.”  And she caught herself and said, “ay, Vilma.  Ano ba yan, nalito na ako.  Dito kasi nasanay na ako sabihing Wilma. (“oh, Vilma.  I got confused there!  Here I have been used to saying Wilma.”) 

Oo nga naman.

So if ever you find yourself talking to a Sri Lankan, be aware of the V/W Syndrome and it can save you a lot of confusion.  A friendly reminder from Livin’ La Vida Lanka!  


  1. Hahaha! We have a barok syndrome here in Indonesia. I was warned early on that I must continue to speak straight english while I am here so I don't ruin my english. I didn't understand at first only later did I realized what it meant. They don't really have grammar here. So if I wanna say "Let's go to the supermarket" to my driver, I cannot just translate it in Bahasa because my driver will not understand. I need to translate "to supermarket now" instead so he gets it. So when speaking to them in English, it has to be the same way so they can understand me better. Nakakatakot lang pag-nasanay dahil barok na tuloy! LOL!

  2. HAHAHAHAHA! I know! It's easier especially for drivers to understand very rudimentary english. Like "apartment please." Or "back please" - which means open the trunk! Hahahaha! Wag tayo masasanay! Katakot!


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