EnglishÂ today is â€œthe most widely learned second language.â€ ScientistsÂ write in it. Major newspapers and 24-hour stations use it. So do international air traffic controllers, businessmen and diplomats.
But its versions vary widely. Look at how Filipinos use it.Â Â This is language where there’s more English than Tagalog words.
MakeÂ cuentoÂ to me what happened,â€ says your neighbor. OrÂ â€œLet’s makeÂ tusokÂ the fishballs,â€ suggestsÂ aÂ friend.Â Then there’s the superlative: â€œHe’s soÂ galing.â€
What happensÂ when theÂ proportion of English words is reversed?Â Thatâ€™s whenÂ weÂ get â€œTaglish.â€ â€œI’m soÂ init na;Â makeÂ paypay me naman.â€
English â€œas she is speakâ€ has stunning varieties, whether used for the banal or profound.
AnÂ Easter Sunday homilyÂ by the, the Jesuit theologian Caralino Arevalo recalls how disciples, on the road to Emmans, didn’t recognize the Man they spoke to. The tomb was empty as the women said, CleofasÂ complains to the risen Christ walking alongside. â€œBut him they did not see.
Resurrection changed the Galilean. And Father Arevalo notes our teenagers have a phrase for this: â€œYou are very otherÂ na.â€ Thus, it was only later that the disciples recognized Him, as the gospels tell us, â€œin breaking of the bread.â€
There are variants like â€œColegiala English,â€ formerÂ columnistÂ BambiÂ Harper claims.Â Maryknoll? Saint Theresa’s? St. Scho? Assumption? Or Ateneo accent. And so on.
Filipino professionals â€“ doctors, engineers, teachers etc. â€“Â tendÂ Â Â to speak this versin. This English-influenced group endeavors to speak. â€œStraight Englishâ€. Some may on an American orÂ BritishÂ accent. â€œBy the time the call centers are through with us, we should all sound like we came from Iowa,â€ Ms. HarperÂ claims.
But nothing beats the one-word FilipinismsÂ thatÂ formerÂ ManilaÂ Times columnist AlfredoÂ RocesÂ emailed from his Australian retirements residence. Get these down pat.Â AndÂ you can scrap those traditional! Pilipino dictionaries, this editor jokes. Here’s a partial list:
Start with the all-around, all-purpose word for everything. â€œAnoâ€Â (A-noh).
As a noun, you ask: Where’s yourÂ ano? (Where’s your father/mother/dead-uncle’s-second-cousin, etc.) It also serves as pronoun in questionsÂ like:Â Ano? (What?). You prefer a verb? Then, say.â€Â Anuhin mo.â€Â It can mean paint or kill or maim or castrate.
OrÂ asÂ adjective?Â Â FilipinosÂ donâ€™t justÂ explodeÂ with: â€œWhat the hell!â€Â Many of usÂ flip an interjection:Â Ano!
Above all,Â it comesÂ handy asÂ the all-purpose question,Â regardless ofÂ whether you deal with traffic gridlocks or obnoxious politicians: â€œDid youÂ anoÂ yourÂ ano?
That way, you canÂ evenÂ croon along with the street ballad: â€œBut in truth, my love /Â I’m soÂ anoÂ with you.
ThenÂ there are everyday words.Â Â Consider:Â ParaÂ (pah-rah)! This directs the jeepney driver to stop, usually in the middle of the road, as the individual yelling intends to leap from the vehicle.
Heard ofÂ takusaÂ (ta-kuh-sa)? This is derived fromÂ takot sa asawa.Â Scared stiff by the wife, this describes males married to feminine reincarnations of Hitler. What aboutÂ lagotÂ (Lah-got)? This is a prophesy of evil things to come.
IndyaneroÂ (in-jan-neh-ro) is one who doesn’t show up at a meeting.Â JapormsÂ (Jah-porms) is a person who dresses bizzarely.Â KiligÂ (keel-leg) is excitement when one’s sweetie rounds the corner. ButÂ gigilÂ (gee-gil) is a near-uncontrollable desire to bite something.
As the nutty song goes: â€œWhen I finally got the nerve to date you / I almost becameÂ indyanero,Â / Because I didn’t think I had the rightÂ japorms.Â / When you’re around, I’mÂ kiligÂ / When you’re not, I getÂ gigil.
But what about English â€œas she is write? That too can be starting. Read this essay on â€œThe Cow.â€ It was cribbed from an Indian Civil Service exam:
â€œThe cow is a successful animal. Also he is quadruped, and because he is female, he give milk, but will do so when he is got child. He is same like God, sacred to Hindus and useful to man.
â€œBut he has got four legs together. Two are forward and two are afterwards. His whole body can be utilized for use. More so the milk. What can it do? Various butter, cream, curd, why and the condensed milk and so forth.
â€œCow is the only animal that extricates his feeding after eating. Then afterwards she chew with his teeth whom are situated in the inside of the mouth. He is incessantly in the meadows in the grass.
â€œHis only attacking and defending organ is the horn, specially so when he is got child. This is done by knowing his head whereby he causes the weapons to be paralleled to the ground of the earth and instantly proceed with great velocity forwards.
â€œHe has got tails also, but not like similar animals. It has hairs on the other end of the other side. This is done to frighten away the flies which alight on his cohoa body whereupon he gives hit with it.
â€œThe palms of his feet are soft unto the touch. So the grasses head is not crushed. At night time have poses by looking down on the ground and he shouts his eyes like his relatives, the horse does not do so.Â Â This is the cow.â€
P.S.: â€œVery moooooooving.â€ Ding Roces adds. â€œWe are informed that the candidate passed the exam.â€Â Â (Email:Â Â firstname.lastname@example.org)
ByÂ JuanÂ Â L.Â Â Mercado