‘I am nauseous.’

All this class of pleasures inspires me with the same nausea as I feel at the sight of rich plum-cake or sweetmeats; I prefer the driest bread of common life. — Sydney Smith

I am on an Ayala-Leveriza bus going to Baclaran when I overheard two women who, it appeared to me, just came out from their work in one of the high-rise offices on Ayala Avenue. They were your caricature-ish Makati girls: impeccably donned corporate tailored suits, perfectly made-up face and rouged lips just right for the occasion, and the still-to-be-outgrown kolehiyala accent that is starting to be encroached and soon-to-be displaced by the more monetarily rewarding American twang.

‘I  am nauseous. Grabe, this was a very exhausting day.’

In a multi-lingual society, proficiency of the most important language determines one’s location in the painfully hierarchical social strata. In the case of the Philippines, people can get too easily impressed or intimidated by accent, the twang in most cases is the be-all-and-end-all, the ultimate gauge of one’s language mastery, therefore it may also determine, albeit shallowly, where one is in the scheme of things.

But nauseous means causing nausea. ‘I am nauseated’ should have been a more correct statement. I felt I was on queer street after hearing her said the nauseous statement ‘I am nauseous’.


7 thoughts on “‘I am nauseous.’”

  1. true, we can do nothing about the change, only embrace it and adapt to it. although this will be nauseating, i know.

  2. What can we do about it. Language has to evolve in order to survive. That is why as English goes to another place it adds up rather than diminish. Maybe they are the “pa-sosyal” type that is why they mixed words up.

  3. well yeah, but the operative phrase i used is ‘more correct’.

    and more language critics would agree with me.

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