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English Language Barrier - obstacle in relationship?


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#1 Back2eden

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 09:37 PM

Hello everyone,

This is my first post on this board, and I have not looked through all the other threads, so I apologize in advance if this topic has already been thoroughly discussed.

My situation is the following:

I am in my lates 30's, went through a heart wrenching divorce some years ago that practically bankrupted me. I am now very cautious and skeptical about Western women, especially women from Los Angeles, where I live. My life in LA has been very stagnant for some time now. I feel that I am just getting older and living from paycheck to paycheck (like most people do in this town, regardless of income). I am looking to start my life over, and have great plans to teach abroad, save a chunk of cash, and make a new life/home for myself. I am NOT in the rush to come back to the USA, and feel that I can live a much better quality life (perhaps in the Philippines).

So I met TONS of women online from the Philippines, but there is one I am especially connected to. We have been doing the emailing, chatting thing for awhile now. Her parents are already aware of my intent, and I have made tentative plans to even visit in a months time.

My concern came yesterday when it was our first time to talk on the phone. It was a very difficult and frustrating experience compared to the IM's and emails. I had to repeat myself over several times and I am not sure if the phone connection on her end was bad (cell phone) or that she just can't understand my English, or perhaps both.

But the experience kind of bursted my pink bubble. I began to have my first doubts while projecting into the future as to whether I can truly be in a satisfying relationship with someone who there will be a persistent language barrier. Online chatting was fine, but in conversation, it was difficult. I think she knows enough functional English to get by, but not to have a mature conversation. This concern is on top of the fact that she comes from a very small village in Agusan del Norte a province of Mindanao.

Has anybody been in a similar position that can offer guidance, advice and/or suggestions. Please share your experiences. I WANT to make this happen, but I don't want to set myself up for disappointment; Being commited to a woman who I can hardly have a conversation with. Would it be unrealistic or offensive to request that she go to an English language school if I payed?

Please share.....

Edited by Back2eden, 20 February 2007 - 09:42 PM.


#2 Dave&Lu

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 09:59 PM

hi there!

mostly, it is difficult to speak english than to write english plus the accent problems with many americans which most filipinos are not used to.

i think it just needs some more talking for the two of you to be adjusted with it. talking often helps in honing your lady's skills in speaking and understanding english. sometimes connection problems also adds to the difficulty in understanding each other on the phone. i also think, that since it was the first time that you spoke to your lady, maybe she was also nervous about it.

going to school for english language is a good idea.

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#3 MrkGrismer

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:04 PM

It is more difficult over the phone. It is easier in person, and it gets easier as you spend more time together.

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#4 pulangbanca

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:13 PM

Talk sloooowly and clearly. Enunciate and use simple words, preferably less than 3 syllables. Spend lots of tiime talking with her.

As long as you ask nicely, she probably will not mind going to English language school. A Filipino/Filipina's ability to speak English with proper grammar, good vocabulary and pronunciation, is something most people in the Philippines look up to. It is generally viewed as 'sosyal' - chic.

On the other hand, you can also try to learn her language, which is probably Bisaya. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much resources on the internet on this. There are more resources on Tagalog. Tagalog is a good language to learn because everyone is taught that in school and the most popular TV shows are in Tagalog, so she probably has a good grasp of that language. Rosetta Stone now offers Tagalog.

I think she knows enough functional English to get by, but not to have a mature conversation. - not to attack you or anything, but I'm not comfortable with the assumption that we, Filipinas HAVE to learn English to be able to communicate. How much of her language do you know? Again, I'm not trying to pick a fight with you or anyone. I'm sorry. Its just my pet peeve.

This concern is on top of the fact that she comes from a very small village in Agusan del Norte a province of Mindanao. - is there anything wrong with that?

I hope things work out well for you and her.

Edited by pulangbanca, 20 February 2007 - 11:30 PM.


#5 Bell2

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:15 PM


Back2eden

I would not worry too much, if she speaks and understands English you are probably just having a problem with accents and the way words are pronounced.

My wife (Belle) and I had much the same problem at first. Try speaking slower and clearer to allow time for her to mentally translate what you are saying. The biggest problem is that both of you are speaking too fast for the other to understand the difference in accents.

In time you will adjust to each other, you will learn her accent and you will learn hers. Example, my wife says "seester" (sister) and "feesh" (fish) but I now know what she means. When several of these types of different pronunciations are in one sentence it can be hard to understand. Remember just as her accent sounds strong to you, your accent sounds strong to her.

Even my grandson who is 10 years old understands Belle now but the neighbor kids ask "what did she say ?" Believe me this may seem like a big problem but it is not - you will adjust to her and her to you. Sometimes you will even find it amusing, once my wife said to our 3 year old granddaughter "where is your "hot" meaning "hat" and the the reply was " it is not hot".

Also it is a good idea for both of you to get microphones for your PC's. Voice chatting will not only help you to understand each others accents but will save you a bundle on long distance calls.

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#6 denterprise

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:17 PM

Welcome you to the WOF.

Communication is vital to a healthy relationship no matter where the woman is from. Do not judge your first interaction with her too hard, because out of shyness some of the women will have a difficult time communicating. It should go away after a few phone calls. If she is capable of handling a deep conversation, you will know it soon. If not, and you don't see her in your future don't visit her. Visiting is a big deal and it does carry some expectations. I am not saying you have to marry any woman you meet, what I am saying is if you know she is not the one avoid hurting her and embarrassing her in her village.

You may need to consider communicating with the many women over there that are teachers. You will have something in common and plenty to talk about. There are women over there that can carry on very intelligent conversations. As you read this forum you will see there are plenty of women that can express themselves quite well. They can speak on any topic and do it very intelligently.

Only you can decide what you are looking for, and what will satisfy you in the future. From what I infer form your post is you want a woman that can offer you intelligent conversation and have a strong command of the English language. Then, you need to focus your efforts in that directions. Anything else will frustrate you and the woman that you chose to be your mate.

As far as teaching over there, unless you are rich and will work for free finding a job is near impossible. They have thousands of out of work teachers there. But if you are talking about another country and working for the US government, it could be a possibility.

Good luck

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#7 AndrwMrk

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:46 PM

The first time I talked to my fiancee on the phone it was a bit of a bubble burst for me also, but when we're together in person, it's so much easier to communicate. In time, the phone conversations became better also.

Also, don't let the level of her English skills fool you. My fiancee's mama has limited English skills and it sounds like she's a young girl when she talks to me, but I know for a fact that she's a very intelligent woman.

Edited by AndrwMrk, 20 February 2007 - 10:51 PM.

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#8 Pilot Mike

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:21 PM

Back2Eden Welcome,

At first it can be a little intimidating. You both are probably nervous and that could be a lot of the problem. IMO, depending on how you are calling could be a issue as well. Delays in the circuit, static, etc. could all be a factor and even if I can hear clearly sometimes my gf on the other side cannot and I have to redial.

I am lucky in that my gf understands English very well but the accent sometimes can a problem. Pulangbanca said it best: slow down, enunciate very well every word. For example, just last week a mutual friend of ours grabbed my phone last week when we were out. He tried to talk very fast with his southern accent and I told him to slow down a bit. He said he was not used to her accent as well but thats to be expected in the beginning. I swear after talking for hours each day for 6 months we both learn things and it is no longer a problem for me.

Just hang in there and follow the recommendations of the people here. It will all work out if you both are willing to put a little effort in up front.

Good luck.

Mike

Edited by Pilot Mike, 20 February 2007 - 11:23 PM.

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#9 kurtwwalters

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:33 PM

My advice - don't worry about it! Phone lag + bad connection + not so good English = not good communication. I went through that with my Peachy. In person it is so much easier. I preferred to chat online much more than phone calls. I limited my phone calls to a short "I love you, its so nice to hear your voice" kind of call. I find that slang is the toughest thing for her to understand. So don't use it unless you have explained it to her previously. Peachy has been here 3 weeks and I'm in heaven.
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#10 sterlingsilver

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:37 PM

Over time and in person you will develop your own language between the two of you.
Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity. Karl Marx

#11 Mylo

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 12:41 AM

Yes the phone connections have a tendency to suck big time.

You'll adjust in a short period of time, I'm about 60% deaf and adjusted just fine. In person is always better then on the phone.
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#12 southerndon

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 12:59 AM

I guess I have been lucky...everyone i ever spoke to from PI spoke great english...I will aadmit that my Gf get's a little confused when i use slang that she is not familiar with.

I have also learned..that even if I can communicate well I need to always ask..."do you know_____" I do this if I am not sure she is familiar with what I am going to or have already said.

depending on the level of the communications gap...it could be that she had someone typing all of her Im's and Emails for her...it happens all the time. Sometimes it's just an innocent thing and sometimes it's not therfore a word to the wise....be careful.


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#13 grasya

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 01:05 AM

biggrin.gif
QUOTE(Back2eden @ Feb 21 2007, 05:37 AM) View Post
Hello everyone,

This is my first post on this board, and I have not looked through all the other threads, so I apologize in advance if this topic has already been thoroughly discussed.

My situation is the following:

I am in my lates 30's, went through a heart wrenching divorce some years ago that practically bankrupted me. I am now very cautious and skeptical about Western women, especially women from Los Angeles, where I live. My life in LA has been very stagnant for some time now. I feel that I am just getting older and living from paycheck to paycheck (like most people do in this town, regardless of income). I am looking to start my life over, and have great plans to teach abroad, save a chunk of cash, and make a new life/home for myself. I am NOT in the rush to come back to the USA, and feel that I can live a much better quality life (perhaps in the Philippines).

So I met TONS of women online from the Philippines, but there is one I am especially connected to. We have been doing the emailing, chatting thing for awhile now. Her parents are already aware of my intent, and I have made tentative plans to even visit in a months time.

My concern came yesterday when it was our first time to talk on the phone. It was a very difficult and frustrating experience compared to the IM's and emails. I had to repeat myself over several times and I am not sure if the phone connection on her end was bad (cell phone) or that she just can't understand my English, or perhaps both.

But the experience kind of bursted my pink bubble. I began to have my first doubts while projecting into the future as to whether I can truly be in a satisfying relationship with someone who there will be a persistent language barrier. Online chatting was fine, but in conversation, it was difficult. I think she knows enough functional English to get by, but not to have a mature conversation. This concern is on top of the fact that she comes from a very small village in Agusan del Norte a province of Mindanao.

Has anybody been in a similar position that can offer guidance, advice and/or suggestions. Please share your experiences. I WANT to make this happen, but I don't want to set myself up for disappointment; Being commited to a woman who I can hardly have a conversation with. Would it be unrealistic or offensive to request that she go to an English language school if I payed?

Please share.....







Helo there back2eden, im from the province of Del Norte too but a bit far from Agusan. When i first talked to my husband through phone, im so nevous at that time coz i didn't expect him to call me. I had a mixed feeling at that time, nervous, afraid to talk to him coz i might can't understand him clearly, shy that my boardmates might hear me talking to him wrong gramar english, lol. But after few calls he made, i felt comfortable of talking to him on phone. Maybe it's better you'll give her enough time to adjust, later you will notice she's alredy good to speak english, esp. when she will be sorrounded with enligsh people. Take Care and Goodluck..... smile.gif


Grace

#14 gionaod

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 03:30 AM

Hi- My wife is Bisaya, and when I first talked to her on the phone, I had a pretty hard time understanding her, coz of accent-

Over time, it became easier to understand each other- I am not sure if it is because I got accustomed to her accent, or her English got better as we talked every day ( it is probably a little of both )

Remember, although a good number of filipinas speak English, they rarely use it at home, so after a few years out of school, they fall out of practice ( she has 3 sisters and a brother, two of whom are teachers, and my wife is much better than any of them in English, since she uses it every day for several hours )

They are intelligent and amazing people, the bisayas know and are fluent in at least 3 languages ( Bisayan, Tagalog, and English )....We Americans should be ashamed of ourselves...I have lived in a border state all of my life, and I can only speak Spanish with a 4 yr old's ability, and I know just a handful of Bisayan words, and practically no Tagalog, after almost 3 yrs....
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#15 Ampalaya

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 04:28 AM

Bottomline is if she types and communicates well chatting [unless someone is coaching her] [happens a LOT] you won't have any problems!
Lots of pinay are very SHY on the phone especially the first few phone calls.
My wife wasn't as she is a bit makulit! Hi Honey!!
We talked for 45 minutes on the first phone call and I mostly listened!
To me learning her language is great but unless you learn it fluently [not easy unless you live there or have Filipino friends] you can get trouble!
At the same time if you are planning to move to the Philippines it would be big Kudus for you as most Americans I met that live there don't even know what salamat po means or if they do don't use it.
Yep ! The UGLY American is still alive and well!!!
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#16 gionaod

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 04:47 AM

Ohh yeah..

Forgot to mention that most of my Bisayan is courtesy of JR. KILAT!!!!

Love me some Jr Kilat.................Budoy is great!!
Maireann croi eadrom i bhfad,

Gionaod

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AT HOME:

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6/12/07 USCIS interview
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9/16/07 Application for SS
9/21/07 SS card in hand






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#17 nate

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 05:55 AM

QUOTE(pulangbanca @ Feb 20 2007, 02:13 PM) View Post
I think she knows enough functional English to get by, but not to have a mature conversation. - not to attack you or anything, but I'm not comfortable with the assumption that we, Filipinas HAVE to learn English to be able to communicate. How much of her language do you know? Again, I'm not trying to pick a fight with you or anyone. I'm sorry. Its just my pet peeve.

This concern is on top of the fact that she comes from a very small village in Agusan del Norte a province of Mindanao. - is there anything wrong with that?

I hope things work out well for you and her.
I agree 100% on both points, P. One of the great characteristics of a leader is to never ask his team something he refuses to do. Likewise, if a partner asks his SO to learn his language so that they can communicate, he better learn hers as well. That's my opinion and nothing else. It shows committment on both parties. When you learn language, you also learn culture.. I'm going to go out on a limb here and just say it's a bit difficult to really love Pilipinas culture (and pinays in general) unless you know some of the language. As a kano, I've undertaken learning of Bisaya without any request from my uyab.

It's also my personal opinion that words can sometimes lack in what we want to say. In those times, it is the heart and soul that speaks loudest, not the tongue. Make sure you are with the one that speaks to your heart when words fail...this is sobra important!

That being said: Back2Eden, I don't know if you're quite ready to jump into a relationship with a filipina yet. If you'd like me to explain shoot me a PM. I don't really think it's appropriate to discuss here. smile.gif

Edited by nate, 21 February 2007 - 06:12 AM.

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#18 Ampalaya

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:10 AM

That being said: Back2Eden, I don't know if you're quite ready to jump into a relationship with a filipina yet!
WALA to do with race! All depends on the woman!

QUOTE
QUOTE(pulangbanca @ Feb 20 2007, 02:13 PM)
I think she knows enough functional English to get by, but not to have a mature conversation. - not to attack you or anything, but I'm not comfortable with the assumption that we, Filipinas HAVE to learn English to be able to communicate. How much of her language do you know? Again, I'm not trying to pick a fight with you or anyone. I'm sorry. Its just my pet peeve.

Sorry! It may be your pet peeve but Filipinas HAVEto learn English if they want to get ahead and succeed in the US [they can get a job at MacDonalds or picking gulay with the braceros without knowing much English] and also have a solid communicating relationship!
Sorry again but VERY few Americans learn any Filipino dialect fluently!
Just the way it is!

Edited by Ampalaya, 21 February 2007 - 06:22 AM.

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#19 nate

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:22 AM

QUOTE(Ampalaya @ Feb 20 2007, 10:10 PM) View Post
That being said: Back2Eden, I don't know if you're quite ready to jump into a relationship with a filipina yet!
WALA to do with race! All depends on the woman!
You betting your last peso on that? laugh.gif
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#20 pulangbanca

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 07:07 AM

QUOTE(Ampalaya @ Feb 20 2007, 10:10 PM) View Post
That being said: Back2Eden, I don't know if you're quite ready to jump into a relationship with a filipina yet!
WALA to do with race! All depends on the woman!
Sorry! It may be your pet peeve but Filipinas HAVEto learn English if they want to get ahead and succeed in the US [they can get a job at MacDonalds or picking gulay with the braceros without knowing much English] and also have a solid communicating relationship!
Sorry again but VERY few Americans learn any Filipino dialect fluently!
Just the way it is!

I see what you are trying to say. A Filipina does have to learn English to get ahead in the States and have a solid communicating relationship with her American spouse. That is true.

I was just being idealistic. I mean if Filipinas can learn English, wouldn't it be safe to assume that Americans can learn a Filipino language? But you're right. not many Americans speak a Filipino dialect. Just the way it is.




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