August 18, 2004

La Lengua Española

During my Bacolod years, my grandma whom I shared the room with (yes, hers was air conditioned so 'twas better that I sleep in her room!) sometimes reprimand me when I tinker with her TV saying, "Nunca pahilabti ang TV basi mapierde ina karon!!" Any Ilonggo can understand that statement perfectly well which reads, "Don't even try to disturb the TV for it may "lose it's efficiency" later on." For us in the province, we were not acutely aware that our tongue was peppered with Spanish words or Hispanicized Ilonggo. We just took it for granted and assume it's vernacular Ilonggo.

Coming to Manila however made my senses more acute since I have to shift to Tagalog when speaking with people. (I hate code switching!!!) It seems that many words here are of Malayo-Austronesian in origin while the same counterparts in Ilonggo are usually Spanish loaned. For example, the word for "open/to open" in Tagalog is "bukas/buksan" while in Negros, it's the Spanish "abri/abrihan." Another is "meanwhile" wherein in Tagalog it's "habang" while in Ilonggo, it's "mientras (while) or mientras tanto (meanwhile)."

Some of them are as follows: [English- Tagalog(vernacular)- Ilonggo(vernacular)- Spanish]
1. Eyeglasses-Salamin-Antipara,Gapas-Antipara,Gafas
2. Gun-Baril-Pusil-Fusil
3. Teacher-Titser,Guro-Maestro,Maestra,Titser-Maestro,Maestra
4. Lose-Talo-Piyerde-Pierde
5. Cheap-Mura-Barato-Barato
6. Change-Sukli-Kambyo-Cambio
7. Dance-Sayaw-Bayle-Baile
8. Key-Susi-Liyabi-Llave
9. Clean-Malinis-Limpyo-Limpio
10. Until-Hanggang-Asta-Hasta

I don't know whether I should feel proud or happy or ashamed about having a more colonial tongue. It doesn't diminish though my love for the soil of my forefathers. Yeah right!! Soil, my ass!! I guess this matter is inconsequential and moot, not worthy of killing my remaining neurons. But it makes me wonder though. Is development or the dynamism of a language determined by the progress of its users? Has Ilonggo stagnated itself into the nostalgia of the past? I hope not. Tagalog seems to have more English incorporated into its vocabulary than any other Philippine language, probably due to the fact that it's the country's major port- an entrepot of global influx. Whatever. Basta, it's moot and academic. Urgh!

Oh well...that's it.... no more neurons to burn.

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