Filipino 101: The F Words

Back in my Multiply days, I started a series that I called Filipino 101. It was short-lived because, for some reason, I got side-tracked. It was fun, though, and I think it is high-time I restart that.

In How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way, I touched on Philippine history. There, I mentioned that for nearly 400 years, we were colonized by Spain. I did not mention much about language, however. But if you have ever heard a conversation or read exchanges between Filipinos, you’d probably be thinking, “Wait a minute. Was that Spanish?” Chances are, you’re right.

Becoming (Sort of) Spanish

Hard as they could, the Spaniards denied teaching their language to the Filipinos. But 400 hundred years is quite a long time to keep everything exclusively. The indios who were more well-to-do were able to afford an education denied to the lower class. That was how they learned Spanish or Español/Kastila.

Meanwhile, many Spanish terms and phrases used for everyday-things became normal everyday-terms, like the following:

Cómo estás? – “How are you?”, but we say “Kumusta?/Kamusta?” or “Kumusta ka?”

mesa/la mesa – table

cubiertos – utensils (“kubyertos”)

ventana – window (“bintana”)

silla – chair (“silya”); the local word is “upuan” or seat since “upo” means sit, so it’s a thing to sit on

pero – but

escuela or escuelas – school (“eskwela” or “eskwelahan”); the local word is “paaralan”, from the root word “aral” or study, so it’s a place for studying

para – for or to be able to (“para”/“para sa”); the local word is “upang”, but hardly anyone uses that in normal conversations

compadre – usually used for a male friend or companion (“kumpadre”/“kumpare”), especially when one is godfather to another man’s child, making them “co-fathers”

“Pare” is the most commonly used version to refer to or call a male friend, although sometimes, that can be used also to address a male stranger in a friendly manner (ex. Pare, could you tell me where the mall is at? I’m new to this place.”), or in a sarcastic/annoyed tone (ex. “Pare, are you kidding me?”)

Comare/comadre  or “kumare” is the female version BUT, online dictionaries say it is either Italian or Portuguese

camiseta – shirt (“kamiseta”), but in the Philippines, it’s usually a sleeveless and collarless shirt worn especially if it’s hot

Those are just some examples of Kastila words we have come to consider as Filipino ones. In fact, it has been so long that many of us don’t know or realize they are not ours. That explains, though, why many of us are able to pronounce Spanish well (at least those who do mind how to say it). We are used to the sounds. In some parts of the country, they can even speak the language well enough.

Meanwhile, when the parents of today’s middle-aged went to school, long after the Spaniards were gone, learning Spanish was a requirement. It isn’t now, that is why Filipinos can’t normally converse in that language.

Nosebleed because of Spokening Dollars

If you hear “spokening dollars” anywhere here, it refers to any English speaker. Yes, we love to coin amusing words and phrases like that. Speak in direct English and they may jokingly exclaim, “Nosebleed!” That means, “Oh my goodness! I can’t understand you. You’re making my nose bleed!” Sometimes, it’s a pure joke, sometimes, it’s really their way of letting you know they can’t understand you.

Today, English is the requirement in school and remains our second language. We learned this from the Americans after they helped drive away the Japanese during World War II. That is why many who grew up until the ’90s are good in American English. What happened to the next generations is another story.

Similar to the Spanish language, we have taken to using many English terms. We count in English, sometimes curse in English (the F- and S-bombs, especially the latter), even address the Christian god in English (“Lord”) when we pray.

Here are several English words we use:

Hello — “Hi” is common enough, but is less used

Good morning/afternoon — “Good evening” is known, but also less used; “Good day” is hardly used except by English speakers

Okay

Sorry

Of course!

Please

appear – It doesn’t mean what you think. Here, when someone says “Apir!”, you high-five (don’t ask me why)

chocolate

toothbrush, toothpaste

refrigerator

Many words sound too old-fashioned that we prefer the foreign ones, or they have no direct translations at all, like “refrigerator”.

In our ancient alphabet called baybayin, which we now try to revive, there are no characters that represent the following: C, F, J, Q, V, X and Z. Therefore, characters that sound the nearest to them are used when writing, though it depends on the words being written. In addition, we have the character “Ng”.

Our long-accepted modern-day alphabet does not have those, too. We used to call our ABC the ABaKaDa. (If you’ll play that vid above, you’ll hear how we read and pronounce words, especially “Ng”, which always baffles foreigners). Around two decades ago, they created the new Filipino alphabet and incorporated the English letters.

For me, personally, I thought that was stupid. Why? Because they were trying to fix something that was not broken. They said it’s because we now use words that make use of the English letters. But that’s because they’re just English words we’ve come to accept, and silly coined words that either do not mean anything or are bastardized versions of otherwise legit terms. I find it as some kind of dumbing down the people more. We used to be Pilipinos and our language, Pilipino, but somebody got the brilliant idea to use F instead.

That said,…

The ABaKaDa: A, B, K, D, E, G, H, I, L, M, N, Ng, O, P, R, S, T, U, W, Y

Ang Makabagong Alpabeto (The New Alphabet): A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, Ṅ, Ng, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

Da Ep, Fee, Bee en Bee

When it comes to the Filipino’s English accent, diction and pronunciation, that’s where you’ll most probably have a problem. So it’s better to know now.

Many of us understand very simple English. Some speak it very well. Some write it well but are too shy to converse with it. And there are those, shy or not, who have the Ep and Fee Syndrome–you tend to unintentionally get your Fs and Ps mixed up. (“It’s a nown pact dat feefol will olways rimember.”)  And many of us do not see the difference between the B and the V when we speak. (“Da bidyo is berry good, Beronica.”)

I’ll let Pinoy Boy Mikey Bustos show you how it’s “done” with the very first viral video that made him famous to Filipinos.

Alright, I’ve shared a lot already. Next time I do Filipino 101, expect some basic vocabulary lessons. Meanwhile, I leave you with this other vid which is funny, but very true of Filipino parents 🙂

Hanggang sa muli!!! (Until then!!!)

The Unofficial Translation #MondayMemoirs

On January 3, 2005, I shared through Multiply one of my favorite Filipino songs, Sa Ugoy ng Duyan. As many of my contacts were non-Filipinos, I thought I’d share a translation. However, at the time, I could not find any worthy translation, so I decided to create my own called The Lulling Cradle, which I included in a previous post (check the last video). I was quick to mention it was an unofficial translation. From what I now remember, there were two to three people who asked permission to share my translation, so I said YES, as long as I got credited.

Fast forward to a few years after, and then a few years more, I have found out that my translation is kind of making the rounds online, without proper credit and no explanation that it is just one of more translations. I don’t expect or plan to earn from it in however way, but I do believe in giving credit where credit is due, or at least linking to where you found something (to be able to trace the original). Also, I don’t want it to be the only translation as there maybe better ones out there. I checked last week and found more sites/blogs using this translation.

So here is My Official Claim and Official Disclaimer:

I own the piece The Lulling Cradle, an unofficial translation of the song Sa Ugoy ng Duyan.

duyan

LULLING CRADLE

Those good old days, I pray won’t fade
When I was young and in Mother’s care
Oh, to hear dear Mother’s lullaby again
The song of love as she rocked my cradle.

In my deep and peaceful slumber
The stars watch over me in vigil
Life was like heaven in the arms of Mother
Now my heart longs for the lulling cradle.

Those good old days, I pray won’t fade
When I was young and in Mother’s care
Oh, to hear dear Mother’s lullaby again
The song of love as she rocked my cradle.

Lull me, Mother, in my dear old cradle
Oh, Mother.

Hawak-Kamay (Holding Hands) #atozchallenge2014

I know, I know. I discussed about my theme songs recently. But there’s one I forgot to add, which is just okay, because this song I am about to share is not something that’s simply meant for me. It is something that I dedicate to two important people in my life, my sister and my future husband. This song is called Hawak-Kamay. “Holding Hands” or “Hand in Hand,” in English. It is by Yeng Constantino.

Yeng was the grand prize winner of the first-ever Pinoy Dream Academy show. This was a song that she composed before she entered the competition. While at that time, she was not my favorite, this song elevated my respect for this then-teener. Originally a song she created for her cousin who was undergoing some sort of problem, this song speaks of going through the journey together, courageously, through good and bad times, with hands held. Considering how young she was at the time, the lyrics seemed to have been written by someone way beyond her years.

Very touching and meaningful, it is the perfect message for beloved people in your life, be they family, friends or special someones. Yeng may not be a favorite artist of mine, but I think she writes some of the best Filipino songs in this generation. Her song is one of my most loved Filipino songs.

Here’s the song and a translation I found below. I have had no time to do the translating myself so I tried to find one and found a non-Filipino’s version of the song (I think I can translate it better, though, if only I have the time). If you want to hear his version, click on his name.

“I’m By Your Side”
English Version/Lyrics Written by: David DiMuzio
Original Tagalog version written by: Yeng Constantino

Sometimes you’re pinned to the ground by the weight of the problem
Sometimes the world can spin you around, till you could scream out
Why won’t it end now?

You could look up to the heavens
Someone up there’s listening to us
Or maybe you could call on me
You always know at any time

I’m by your side
Through the rain, though the night, every fight
In a world that has no guarantees
I’m by your side
Hand in hand through the days that see us laugh and cry
Sa mundo ng kawalan

Sometimes the world breaks apart, underneath
The trust upon which you set your weary feet
The current pulls you towards disaster, you swim to break free

You’re not alone now, I’m not that far
Always know that you’re a shooting star
You’re never alone, Never Alone

 

My big sister and I grew up always arguing, so who would think I would dedicate something like this to her? Well, maybe we did not get along well, but it did not mean we didn’t love each other. When she began working, I decided to show my respect to her as a legitimate adult and didn’t argue much with her anymore. I knew she was still fond of me in a certain way because she surprised me by gifting me with stuffed toys and books, especially my collection of the Anne of Green Gables series. You know, love doesn’t always have to be shown grandly. Sometimes, it’s in the little things, if you only know how to see things in a deeper perspective.

Meanwhile, unlike most couples who have their theme songs (well, I assume that most couples do have their own), FH (future husband, okay?) and I do not have any, unless we count the first songs I ever “sung” for him, which were recorded a capella versions of Part of Your World and The Journey (he asked me to sing this again to him recently, saying he missed it). That said, this song is now officially our theme song, though he doesn’t know that yet, he he.

 

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I hope you liked that song because I love it!

This is my “Y” post for the…

a-to-z-challenge

I guess you did not notice, but I’ll confess anyway. I skipped my “X” post for now. Why? ’cause I couldn’t think of a thing! And it’s keeping me from writing anything, so I decided to postpone that one 😉