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06 April 2015

What is “balae” in English?

Today, one of my co-workers asked me if I knew the English word for “balae.”  I did some quick research and there is none. The closest terms we can use are

  • Co-parent-in-law
  • Co-mother-in-law
  • Co-father-in-law
  • My son’s  father/mother-in-law
  • My daughter’s father/mother-in-law

In Filipino, specifically in Tagalog, we have the word “balae.” The fact that such a term exists is proof that the extended family is important in traditional Filipino culture. “Balae” indicates that the relationship between the parents of both the husband and wife is significant.  Perhaps in Western culture, parents of the husband and wife are not really expected to form a strong bond, a long-term relationship or they are not expected to be really involved in the married life of their children. However, I am just speculating so please correct me if I am wrong.

When I was growing up, I often witnessed my relatives interact with their “balae.”

A: “Hoy, balae, kamusta na?’
B: “Naku, balae, may problema ang ating mga anak.”
A: “Huwag kang mag-alala, napagsabihan ko na ang anak ko.”
B: “Ako rin, pinagsabihan ko na rin ang anak ko.”
A: “Ang kabataan talaga! Ang pag-aasawa ay hindi parang mainit na kanin na bigla na lang isusubo at kapag napaso ay bigla na lang iluluwa.”
B: “Sinabi mo balae.”

Being an unorthodox English teacher, perhaps it is time to create a new English word for “balae.” One funny suggestion from a co-worker was “balei” (sounds like ballet).

How about “chidadilaw” /chee-da-dee-lo/  and “chimomilaw” /chee-ma-mee-lo/, which are the shortened versions of “my child’s dad-in-law” and “my child’s mom-in-law” respectively.  

Example: "This is Susan, my chimomilaw." 

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Hahahaha! I laughed at chimomilaw when I said it aloud to myself. XD It sounds very exotic but I also think that they should try to make a word for it in English.


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