Another Sweet Mango Moment
The other day I met up with a local contractor to discuss the building of a retaining wall on our new lot which adjoins our current lot. A deep footing and retaining wall needs to be constructed so we can elevate the lot with fill dirt to expand and join the use of the property. One of the key features of this construction is the use of horizontal and vertical rebar for strengthening the footing and the upright columns that will eventually be the backbone of the wall. While we were estimating the amount of rebar needed, the contractor said “oh, we need to add more for the stipner.” Curious as to what “sitpner” was or meant, I just had to ask. “Stipner is to stipen the rebar,” he replied. Now, being that I have heard much of the local language and Tagalog language spoken, and not remembering hearing many words ending in R, I simply had to dig a little deeper. I asked him to pronounce it again and I then asked how to say it in English and he came up empty. Then, with some excitement, he offered up the Tagalog version “Reng!” So I then asked him how to spell it and of course it was with an “E.” So I then asked him what language is “stipner” and he replied “Waray” (local dialect). And then I suddenly realized – after further analyzing how he pronounced the word “stipner”, that the long pronunciation becomes “stip-en-er.” Knowing that many filipinos usually always pronounce their F’s like P’s, the proper enunciation would be “Stiff-en-er”. Now I was getting somewhere. And then I immediately realized that reng should be “Ring.” So then I got the whole picture. He may have not known the English version of the word but, bilingual as he well is, he knew both “stiffener” and “ring!”, or his version anyway.
Sometimes you just have to ask….20 questions!