Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City is being criticized for using vulgar words in his speeches.Â The question is who decides what are vulgar and indecent words?
In the United States of America, Donald Trump, a candidate for the Republican Party Nomination is also using vulgar or controversial words in his speeches.Â The poll surveys say that he is the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nominations.Â Last Wednesday (12-9-15) the Fox Channel Television reported that the order candidates are now also using vulgar words.
By dictionary definitions, the words used by Mayor Duterte are not â€œcussâ€ or â€œcurseâ€ words because he does not wish harm to befall in others.Â It could not also be â€œswearâ€ or â€œoathâ€ words because he does not wish harm to befall on himself. It could not be â€œexpletiveâ€ words because they are not angry words.Â The best description is â€œvulgarâ€ or â€œindecentâ€ words, which are very subjective to the viewpoint of the listener.
In 1992, during the National Convention of the Lubas sa Dagang Bisaya (LUDABI) I was given the distinction as â€œan authority of the Sugboanon Bisaya languageâ€ during the Plenary Session.
Since 1998 I have been teaching the Sugboanon Bisaya language in college using pure BinisayÃ¢ as the medium of instruction.Â It has been my advocacy to encourage the Sugboanon BisayÃ¢ speakers to study and learn their own language because it is different from the English language in many ways.
I would ride on the present controversy with respect to Mayor Duterte to drive home the point of understanding the BisayÃ¢.
The English and Sugboanon BisayÃ¢ language have similarities and differences.Â The similarities are not too much of a concern.Â Our concern is the differences because it is not well known and understood.
The major differences are: 1.) Differences in the words used and there meanings; 2.) Difference in Language Classification; 3.) Difference in Psychology; 4.) Difference in Syntax; 5.) Difference in Morphology; 6.) Difference in Word Paradigm; 7.) Difference in Time; 8.) Difference in Action; 9.) Difference in Cogency.
We will only consider the differences relevant to our discussion.
English is classified as an inflectional language.Â The most important part of this language is the verb.Â From the verb you can obtain the tense, number, case, and many others.Â A statement without a verb is not considered a sentence.
Sugboanon BinisayÃ¢ is an agglutinative language.Â The most important part of this language is the affixes.Â At present I have already identified 4,250 affixes in BinisayÃ¢.Â Each of these affixes has its particular use.
In BinisayÃ¢ you can construct a sentence with or without a verb. There is also an indeterminate tense in BinisayÃ¢ which is not found in English.
Difference in Psychology
In English the meaning is to be found only in the sentence.Â In BinisayÃ¢ the meaning is to be found in the intention or idea of the speaker.Â The words in the sentence are just aids to help determine the intention or idea of the speaker.
When you ask questions in English the responder is expected to answer in the context of the one asking the question.Â In BinisayÃ¢, the answer maybe in the context of the one asking but most of the time it is in the context of the one answering the question.
For example: â€œHain ang imong Tatay Doy? = Where is your Daddy, my boy?â€Â The usual answer in BinisayÃ¢ is â€œAtua gadÃ¡ro. = There, plowingâ€.Â The â€œwhereâ€ in English is not answered.
Difference in Cogency
Cogency means forcefulness or be convincing.Â In English, when you want to be cogent or have a forceful effect in your statement, you will use the formal and legalistic form of the words used.Â For example a Judge will say â€œYou are enjoined to attend the trial of your case.â€
In BinisayÃ¢, in order to be cogent, you will use some particles of speech or figures of speech like â€œbitaw, lagÃ, hÃ¡, man, inÃ¡tayâ€, etc. The more particles of speech you can string together the more cogent will be your statement.Â For example you will say â€œMao man lagÃ bÃtaw nga giÃngnan kang inataya ka haâ€.Â We can only translate it in English as â€œThat is why you were told.â€Â The particles â€œman, lagi, bitaw, inataya, haâ€ have no translation in English.Â If you will include â€œputang inaâ€ or â€œbiâ€¦sa imong inaâ€ it is just part of the cogency in BinisayÃ¢.
In order to be cogent in his speech Mayor Duterte has the favorite expression â€œPutang inaâ€.Â Senator Chiz Escudero has the favorite expression â€œAumâ€.Â The expression used by Mayor Duterte is considered vulgar while the â€œAumâ€ of Senator Escudero, even though in reality it is blasphemous, is not commented upon.
Puta is a Spanish word for female prostitute.Â Puto is a Spanish word for male prostitute.Â Why is â€œPutang ina mo = Your mother is a female prostituteâ€ considered an indecent statement and â€œPutong ama mo = Your father is a male prostituteâ€ is not indecent?
â€œAumâ€ in Tibetan Buddhism is the ultimate universal sound that is comparable to â€œGodâ€ because in Buddhism there is no concept of God.Â It is used in the mantra â€œAum mani padmi aumâ€ that is roughly equivalent to the Christian statement â€œGod, bless us oh Lordâ€.
Senator Escudero is a Christian.Â Why is he always invoking the â€œAumâ€ of Tibetan Buddhism?Â Is it not blasphemous for a Christian to do so?
Colera of Eastern Bohol
In Eastern Bohol particularly in the towns of Guindulman, Candijay, Mabini, and Anda there is a common expression â€œcoleraâ€.
People always associate it with the infectious disease known in English as â€œCholeraâ€.Â Therefore â€œcoleraâ€ is considered a cuss word.Â The truth of the matter is that it is not.
The English term â€œcholeraâ€ as a disease became popular in Bohol in the 1950s when there was an epidemic known as â€œCholera-El Torâ€. Before the 1950s the word â€œcoleraâ€ referred to the Spanish word â€œcoleraâ€.Â (Encarnacion Dictionary 1852).
In Spanish â€œcoleraâ€ means irksome or can cause anger, which is â€œmakapungÃ³tâ€ in BinisayÃ¢.Â Therefore if you say â€œColera ning tawhÃ¡naâ€ it is just the same as saying â€œMakapungÃ³t ning tawhÃ¡na = This man is irksomeâ€ and you will agree that it is not a cuss statement.
The Spanish word â€œlecheâ€ is milk in English and â€œgatasâ€ in BinisayÃ¢.Â I have not yet found a suitable explanation why â€œlecheâ€ is considered an expletive or vulgar word.
Who started the concept or idea that leche is an expletive?Â This brings us back to my original question, who decides what is a good or bad word?
Apparently it is just the people who unconsciously use a favorite expression and later on decided that it is an indicent word even if it is not and vice versa.Â Since in BinisayÃ¢ the meaning is in the intention, then the intention will prevail over the real meaning of the word.
Consider the Tagalog words bÃlat and lagÃ¡y.Â Bilat in Tagalog means merece in Spanish, balÃ in BinisayÃ¢ and you deserve it in English.Â LagÃ¡y in Tagalog is ibutÃ¡ng in BinisayÃ¢ and put down in English.
If you will directly use these Tagalog words without saying that it is Tagalog, then they are already indecent words in BinisayÃ¢. (By Jes B. Tirol)