It is said that language is the soul of the culture of the people.Â The Sugboanon Bisayan language is not an exception.
However, since we use the English language in school, we are not aware that the nuances of our mother language indicate our culture.
English is an inflectional language.Â It relies so much on the verb.Â In fact it is required that every sentence must have a verb.
Sugboanon Bisaya is an agglutinative language.Â It relies so much on the affixes.Â As of today I have already identified 4,268 affixes in BinisayÃ¢.Â Some are used as a prefix, some as infix, some as suffix, and others are combinations of prefix, infix, and suffix.
The infix â€œ..g..â€ is so peculiar that its use indicate our culture of cooperation and harmony.
Now that the Holy Week is approaching we always hear the prayer, â€œSanta Maria, inahan ka sa Diyos, ig-Ã¡mpÃ² mo kaming makasasÃ¡lÃ â€¦â€.Â Notice the infix â€œgâ€ in â€œig- Ã¡mpÃ²â€.Â If you will use â€œiÃ¡mpÃ²â€, without the infix â€œgâ€, it may seem the same.Â Actually the meaning will be different.
In the English language, it is translated as, â€œHoly Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners..â€.Â Those who are trained in the English language only, will translate this prayer as â€œSanta Maria, inahan ka sa Diyos, iÃ¡mpÃ² mo kaming makasasÃ¡lÃ ..â€.Â This is correct in the English context, but without the infix â€œgâ€, it does not carry the connotation of cooperation, harmony, or synergy.
The infix â€œ..g..â€ signifies a collective or plural form of a group in terms of measure, size or quality.Â a.) It is usually expressed in English as â€œonesâ€.Â GamÃ¡y = small; gÃ¡gmay = the small ones, – â€œPilÃa kanang gagmay. = Select the small onesâ€: dakÃ´ = big; dagkÃ² = big ones. b) It can also be used to mean â€œfrom each otherâ€.Â LayÃ² = far; lÃ¡gyÃ² = far from each other- â€œLagyÃ² ra pagkatanÃ³ma. = They were planted far from each otherâ€.Â â€œKadtong lagyÃ² maoy unÃ¡ha. = Do first the far ones/Do first the ones that are far.â€
When you say â€œIÃ¡mpÃ² mi = pray for usâ€, you are requesting someone to pray for you and you are passive.Â When you say â€œIg-Ã¡mpÃ² miâ€, with the infix â€œ..g..â€, it means that you are requesting someone to cooperate or help in praying and because of the interaction; the word â€œig=Ã¡mpÃ²â€ cannotes a plural sense.
When you say â€œIÃ¡mpÃ² nÃ¡to si Pedro nga modaÃ³gâ€, it means that individually we will pray that Pedro will win.Â However, when you say â€œIg-Ã¡mpÃ² nÃ¡to si Pedro nga modaÃ³gâ€, it means that collectively and together we will pray that Pedro will win.
In the English context there is no difference between â€œiÃ¡mpÃ²â€ and â€œig- Ã¡mpÃ²â€.Â However in the Bisayan context and its culture there is a whale of difference.
An American Missionary
In the 1990s there was an American Protestant missionary that was proselytizing in Tagbilaran.Â He was wondering why he can only gather an audience from the Rotarians and other elites in Tagbilaran.Â He was not able to connect with the ordinary people.
I told him that his preaching style is good for the American culture but not to Boholanos.Â When you say â€œAccept Jesus Christ as your personal saviorâ€, that is a taboo in our culture.Â When Pedro accepts Jesus Christ as his savior, then I can no longer accept Jesus Christ because Pedro has already obtained the right.Â I might as well go home.
In the Boholano culture it should be â€œAccept Jesus Christ as our personal saviorâ€.Â Because of the â€œourâ€, when Pedro accepts, I am also included and can also accept.Â We always differentiate the personal from the collective actions.
No Boholano politicians in his right mind will say â€œAkong proyÃ©kto = My projectâ€.Â It is always â€œAtong proyekto = Our projectâ€.Â The politician will always say â€œÃ¡tÃ² = oursâ€ and never â€œÃ¡kÃ² = my; mineâ€.Â The politician must be careful to portray an interrelation with the voters.
Many educated Boholanos will say that â€œig-Ã¡mpÃ²â€ does not seem to be correct because it sounds similar to saying â€œigsÃºonâ€, and Mother Mary is not your sister.
After neglecting our mother language for a long time, nobody now knows that â€œâ€œig-Ã¡mpÃ²â€and â€œigsÃºon = siblingâ€ follow the same rule.
The base word of â€œigsÃºonâ€ is â€œsÃºonâ€.Â The word â€œsÃºonâ€ means coming from or made from the same mold.Â If you say â€œisÃºon niâ€, it means make this next from the same mold.Â Since siblings came from the same mold or the same parents, they are â€œigsÃºonâ€ or mutually came from the same mold.Â Due to the interrelationship the â€œ..g..â€ connotes plurality.
Therefore â€œig-Ã¡mpÃ²â€ is a better word than â€œiÃ¡mpÃ²â€ because it will manifest our culture of cooperation, interrelationship, harmony, and helpfulness.Â â€œIg-Ã¡mpÃ²â€ connotes that while you are praying, it would be to your benefit if someone will help.
Remember what happened after the Oct. 15, 2013 earthquake? Outsiders were surprised when Boholanos cooperated and said â€œThank youâ€ to those who helped.
The Bisayan word â€œikatÃ¡bang = for helpingâ€ is good but â€œikagtÃ¡bang = for helping one anotherâ€ is considered much better in our culture.Â â€œIkagtÃ¡bangâ€ connotes that while you are helping a person, that person is not idle but also working.
(By Jes B. Tirol)