24 September 2009

the thing about idioms

"Inusar mo manen ta ngiwat mun!" (You used your mouth again!) I would often say this to Lakay in jest whenever he tells me that he couldn't find what I asked for. It's an Ilokano idiom meant for people who, out of laziness, say that they couldn't find something even if they haven't really tried looking.

Lakay has learned to use this expression on the little one who seems to have inherited this trait very well. Because the little one hardly knows a Filipino language (I'm not proud of this), Lakay would rather translate it to English. "Use your eyes kasi, not your mouth." Like any translation, it fails to capture the spirit of what is said.

One day, I asked the little one to look for my bedroom slippers. Taking this often-told idiom literally to heart, he looked at me innocently and asked: "What will I use mummy? My eyes or my mouth?"