My wonderful wife is from the Philippines. On her island they speak a particular language called “Bisaya”, which is also known as “Cebuano”, particularly to the folks from the island of Cebu. This is a distinct language from Tagalog, which is more-or-less the national language, (along with English, whether the Filipinos choose to admit it or not!). I believe more people speak Bisaya than Tagalog, but that is a topic for a different day.
As you would imagine, not everything translates smoothly from English to Bisaya, and vice-versa, and sometimes a particular word with an innocent meaning in one language takes on a completely new meaning in the other language.
For example, consider the word, “Intel”. In most of the western world, we understand “Intel” as referring to the “Intel Corporation”, the PC chip maker. “Intel Inside” is just a marketing/branding slogan used to assure potential consumers that the computer they are about to purchase uses Intel Corporation chips, not compatible chips manufactured by a different company.
No big deal, right? Well, in Bisaya the word means something completely different. “Intel” refers to a very personal part of the female anatomy, specifically the clitoris! Kinda puts a new spin on “Intel Inside”, huh?
My wife tells me the story of how, when one of her friends ran a computer store, she came home with a poster one day and hung it in her bedroom. Imagine her mother’s shock and outrage when she read, “Clitoris Inside”! “Take that down! It’s indecent!” she said. And that was the end of the “Intel Inside” poster.
But the story doesn’t end there. One of my co-workers is a filipino from the island of Bohol, where they speak a variant of Bisaya called Boholese. I was telling him the story of the “Intel Inside” poster, and he told me that “intel” does NOT in fact refer to a sensitive part of the female anatomy.
Well how about that! It appears my wife was fooling me?
That evening when I came home I told her what my co-worker said, and she replied, “Oh, he’s from Bohol. He doesn’t really know our language.” She said all her other filipino friends who speak Bisaya of course know what “intel” means!
So which is it? Is my wife correct, and “Intel Inside” is not a phrase you should casually utter where Bisaya is spoken? Or is my co-worker correct, and my wife is simply exploiting my complete and utter lack of understanding of her language for a cheap laugh?
I have to support my wife, because besides the fact that she is my wife, my co-worker enjoys playing practical jokes on me. Just the other day he put a small piece of transparent tape on the bottom of my optical mouse, and I spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out why my mouse didn’t work anymore, while he and another co-worker had a good chuckle.
A final note: just this evening my wife was chatting with one of her Bisaya speaking friends. This friend lives in upstate New York, where it is biting cold at the moment. The friend told my wife that it was so cold that when she went outside, her intel froze! (Filipinos don’t have Victorian mores as part of their social past, so they are much more comfortable discussing body parts and functions.)
Well, at least I’m told that is what she said. What I hear is, “”Oog nyaa nyaa wally boing boing,” or something like that. In other words, I haven’t a clue what she is saying!
Originally posted by us on FullofKnowledge.