After the passage of the law requiring the Mother Tongue Based (MTB) medium of instruction from Kindergarten to Grade 3, there has been some interest in learning the SugboÃ¡non BinisÃ¡yÃ .
However, even though I am willing to conduct seminars and workshops in SugboÃ¡non BisÃ¡ya, the number of groups who want to be taught are very few. The primary reason for these is that I differentiate between English and BinisayÃ¢.
English is an inflectional language. It relies so much on the verb to know the tense, case and number. BinisayÃ¢ is an agglutinative language and it relies on the affixes to know the tense, case and number.
You can not use English grammar in speaking BinisayÃ¢. In like manner you can not use SugboÃ¡non BisÃ¡yÃ grammar in speaking English.
English has no aorist tense of indeterminate tense. You have never been taught aorist tense because it is not found in English. BinisayÃ¢ has plenty of aorist tenses.
What the educated Boholanos want is to apply English grammar in BinisayÃ¢. The Mormons and other American missionaries are doing it. However, if you will analyze carefully, they are using only about fifty (50) affixes. I have now collected 4,260 SugboÃ¡non affixes. If you will follow the missionariesâ€™ way of analyzing SugboÃ¡non grammar, then 4,210 affixes will be exception to the rules. Surely it is not a correct approach where the exceptions are much more than the rules. We must use our own grammar.
Recently I heard the TV advertisement of Presidential candidate Mar Roxas where he speaks in Hiligaynon (Ilonggo) BisÃ¡yÃ . He said â€œHindi ako magkawat, hindi ako sigÃ sigÃ â€¦ trabaho lang.â€ Hiligaynon and SugboÃ¡non have practically the same grammar. I was analyzing why the advertisement seems flat. It does not have the desired cogency or effect.
In my analysis, the reason is he used the word â€œlangâ€ instead of â€œgayÃ³dâ€. It is clear that the original statement was in English and translated to Hiligaynon. The English syntax will be â€œI just workâ€ or â€œI only workâ€. This can be translated as â€œTrabaho langâ€.
The problem is that using the same English syntax you can not translate â€œTrabaho gayÃ³dâ€. If you will use â€œI must workâ€, it will not be a good translation because the meaning will be different. My recommendation is do not mind the English syntax just use the Hiligaynon syntax in order to have cogency or convincing effect. Those who are close to Sec. Mar Roxas, please recommend to him the suggested change.
In English, in order to be cogent, you will use the formal terms and proper grammar because the meaning is in the sentence. In BinisayÃ¢ you will use the informal particles of speech like â€œlang, gayod, lagi, bitaw, etc.â€ because the meaning is in the intention of the speaker. The speaking style in BinisayÃ¢of Mayor Duterte is very cogent among Bisayans because he uses Bisayan particles of speech. However, the English educated and the Tagalogs do not like it. So Mayor Duterte must be careful because there are many English educated Filipinos.
Distinguish These Words
Recently a person came to my office to ask for the Bisayan words equivalent to â€œHolyâ€ and â€œDivineâ€. Just like everybody, I thought that â€œHolyâ€ and â€œDivineâ€ are just the same with the equivalent BinisayÃ¢ of â€œbalÃ¡anâ€.
When I read the English dictionary I found out that the two words are different. â€œHolyâ€ is one that is regarded with reverence because it is associated or derived from God. We call the Pope as Holy Father because he is associated with God. â€œDivineâ€ is pertaining to God or a god.
We are familiar with â€œbalÃ¡an = holyâ€, but what is the equivalent of â€œdivineâ€? I searched my references and here are the words, â€œholy = balÃ¡an and â€œdivine = balahÃ¡laâ€.
They have the same base word â€œbÃ¡laâ€, which means â€œblessed; fate; fortuneâ€. [Note: There are other meanings of bÃ¡la.]. Therefore â€œBALAâ€ plus the suffix â€œ..ANâ€ would be â€œBALAANâ€ and will mean blessed or holy.
It would seem that â€œbalahÃ¡laâ€ came from â€œbÃ¡laâ€ plus â€œAllahâ€ or â€œAlaâ€ with the â€œHâ€ transposed. The Spaniards did not propagate this word because it contains the Arabic or Muslim word of God = Allah.
Bisayan poetry still uses â€œBathÃ¡lÃ â€ for God. It comes from the Arabic words â€œBath â€“ sent byâ€ and â€œAla = Godâ€ or â€œBathÃ¡lÃ¡ = sent by God.â€ [Note: The â€œHâ€ in baht is transposed in bathÃ¡lÃ .] The Cebuanos transmuted it as â€œBÃ¡tÃ = childâ€ and â€œAl = Godâ€ to become â€œBÃ¡tÃ Ala = Child Godâ€ and refers it to the Santo NiÃ±o.
We are also familiar with the word â€œbahÃ¡lÃ â€, which comes from Arabic â€œbah = will comeâ€ and â€œAla = Godâ€. â€œBahÃ¡lÃ â€ means to consign oneâ€™s self to God or â€œLet Godâ€™s will be done.â€
The Spaniards did not use â€œBathÃ¡lÃ = Godâ€ because of the word â€œAla.â€ They instead used â€œGino-o,â€ which means â€œLordâ€ or the Spanish equivalent â€œDios.â€ â€œDiosâ€ actually comes from the Greek word â€œZeusâ€ the supreme god of ancient Greece.
Sincere there is no other Bisayan word for â€œdivineâ€ we might as well use balahÃ¡la. Anyway the Spaniards are no longer here. We must try to recover our lost language.
Divinity = pagkabahÃ¡la; balahalÃ¡on; balahalÃ¡hon. (By Jes Tirol)