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2013 February 13

nose bleed

There are a lot of phrases that are thrown around when it comes to foreigners here in the Philippines. I think one of the most famous might be “Hey Joe,” though that seems to have lost some of it’s steam lately.

My current favorite would have to be “nosebleed.” The first time I heard it, I didn’t know what it meant and I didn’t find out right away. Since that time I’ve heard the phrase quite a bit. Given the right situation, I even use it myself as in asking a question. So what is this “nosebleed?”

It seems that if I’m in a conversation, usually with some accommodating sales person, and it continues on too long, then I’ve given them a nosebleed. The amount of English they have to decipher to answer my questions causes this phenomenon. The nosebleed usually starts with the clerk telling their buddies of the situation. Possibly if they are familiar enough with me, they’ll let me know, too. A short break is often needed to rectify the problem, though reinforcements are sometimes called in.

I’ve seen this happen enough times that I’ve gotten into the habit of asking them if I’m giving them a nosebleed. That usually elicits a laugh and the communication is much easier after that. Occasionally, I’ll get a “no, sir”, because they, rightly or not, feel their English is more than adequate. That’s fine with me as long as they get the gist of our conversation.

Now as far as I know this nosebleed is only mental, and not physical. I would hate to think that I could cause a real nosebleed with my overuse of English to these clerks that are doing their best to help me.

That’s just another reason I hope my Bisaya gets up to speed soon. Then I’m the one that has to deal with the nosebleed.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. February 14, 2013

    I was chatting over a coffee to a student/helper at one of Davao’s colleges last year, where I was assisting on the TESOL course. After a few minutes, she laughed and said “Oh sir, I’m getting a nosebleed.”
    A minute or so later, I discovered that she was a final year B.Ed student majoring in English.
    Worrying, that!

    • February 14, 2013

      Yes what passes for advanced English here is quite disturbing. In addition I’m told that they can’t understand me because of my slang (their term for accent). I have the accent, not them when it comes to English?

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