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Got a minute? Here's how to say 'utensil,' 'content,' and other English words correctly

By NICK GARCIA Published Jun 02, 2022 5:03 pm

Many Filipinos have their own way of pronouncing certain English words, apparently leading to the coinage of the derogatory term "English carabao."

Having said that, an informal 2019 study dubbed the Filipino language the "sexiest accent" in Asia and 21st in the world. Still, it doesn't mean that it's a pass for mispronouncing certain English words.

That's why PhilSTAR L!fe launched its "Got a Minute" series on TikTok hosted by Carlo Lorenzo, a professional host and voice-over artist. In the minute-long videos, Lorenzo teaches viewers how to pronounce English words in standard American and how they can be used in everyday conversation without sounding oh-so "konyow."

Here are some of the entries in our video series.


Ever went into an outing and have been reminded that you must bring your own eating utensils, with the emphasis on "U"? Apparently, the standard American pronunciation isn't YOO-ten-sils as most Filipinos have been accustomed to, but yoo-TEN-slz.

Now you know what to bring (and say) during the next outing, whether it's ten times or more.

@philstarlife Utensils are something we use everyday—here's how to say the word correctly with @carlolorenzoofficial #edutok #edutoklanguage #PhilStarLife ♬ original sound - philstarlife


In this day and age of "influencers," the word content has been such a buzzword in the digital space. Content making, content creators, content plan. Ditto on the hot topic of cheating, with the unfaithful partner being taken to task by netizens for not being content.

As a heteronym, or each of two or more words with different sound and meaning, content can be a noun or an adjective. And things get contentious when the pronunciation of one is used on the other.

Content as a noun (material) should have emphasis on the first syllable, while content as an adjective (state of satisfaction) should be on the second.

@philstarlife Content and content—one spelling, two meanings. Learn more about heteronyms with @carlolorenzoofficial 📖 #edutok #GotAMinute #PhilStarLife ♬ original sound - philstarlife


This is probably not news, but you must've heard of many people saying "NYOOS," whether they're talking about fake news, good news, or bad news. (Admit it, you do, too.)

Well, news flash: it's meant to be pronounced as NOOZ, at least in the standard American. But don't worry, you won't make the news for not saying so before.

@philstarlife Nabiktima ka na ba ng fake news? @carlolorenzoofficial 📰#edutok #pronounciation #news #GotAMinute #PhilStarLife ♬ original sound - philstarlife


PAGASA has officially declared May 18 as the start of the wet season or tag-ulan. But this won't stop Pinoys from going to tourist attractions locally and abroad as "vacation mode" knows no season.

But wait, are you saying it properly? As it turns out, the word should be pronounced as VEY-key-shen, not ve-KEY-shon.

Don't forget the "ey" in the first syllable. Remember it on your way to your destination where you'll be staying for a week after getting your monthly pay, okay? Happy vacation!

@philstarlife Before we go into vacay mode, let's learn how to say "vacation" 🏖 #GotAMinute #education #edutok #PhilStarLife @carlolorenzoofficial ♬ original sound - philstarlife


President and precedent are homophones, or words with different spellings and meanings but have the same pronunciation. Notable examples include ate and eight, break and brake, as well as die and dye.

With both emphasis on the first syllable, president is the elected head of the country, while precedent is a previous action, situation, or decision that can be used as basis for similar ones in the future.

The way the camp of president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has been treating media during the campaign season, according to some analysts, serves as a precedent, a portent of things to come during his administration.

@philstarlife Two words that sound the same, but have different meanings 📣 #GotAMinute with @carlolorenzoofficial #edutok #PhilStarLife ♬ original sound philstarlife

Follow PhilSTAR L!fe on TikTok to watch more of our Got a Minute entries, as well as videos on everything you want, love, and need.