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The Richness of the Filipino Language

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Written by   162
3 months ago (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)

The Richness of the Filipino Language

Two friends are walking on a road. One is a Tagalog and one is a bisaya. As they were walking, the Bisaya looked up in the sky and saw a bird flying above them. He said...

"Uy! Tan-awa! Naay langam"

(Hey! Look there's a bird!)

The Tagalog looked down, looking for the ants.


Hello, world! This is John once again. August is the "Buwan Ng Wika" or "Language Month" in the Philippines. In schools all over the country, (at least before the pandemic), this is the month that we give honor and importance to our national language which is Filipino.

In this post, I will share with you the richness of the Filipino language. Not just the verbal language but the non-verbal as well.

I will also explain what happened in the story above.


I was planning to write something on this subject purely in Filipino, in honor of "Language Month". But, @JonicaBradley posted her writing prompt for the week, which is language. So I thought, I will share with the world the richness of the Filipino Language.


Disclaimer.

First, a little disclaimer.

The content of this post is purely based on the lessons that I have learned (and remembered) from school, and my experience in the Filipino language and culture.

The Filipino Language.

The Filipino language is based mainly on the Tagalog dialect. Which is the dialect of Metro Manila, the capital of the Philippines. There is no apparent difference between the two, but the official National Language is called Filipino (or Pilipino).

Created by JLoberiza

Full of Respect.

The Filipino language is full of respect, especially for the elderly. Here are some of them.

'Po'

There is no direct translation to the word 'po'. This word is added or inserted in a statement to convey respect to the other person.

Like if you ask someone his/her name, the reply would be:

"My name is Juan."

A direct translation to Filipino would be:

" Ang pangalan ko ay Juan."

But a respectful response in Filipino would be:

"Ang pangalan ko po ay Juan."

Another example is when saying thanks. 

Thanks or thank you in Filipino is:

 "Salamat"

But a more respectful response is:

"Salamat po."

"Opo"

The word "Opo" is the respectful version of '0o'' (pronounced as O-o) which means 'Yes.' So instead of saying 'Oo', 'Opo' is more respectful. Like saying ``Yes, Sir/Ma'am".

"Kuya/ Ate"

Kuya is like a pronoun used by a younger sibling when referring to an older brother, and 'ate' for an older sister.

But these terms are generally used when someone is talking to someone older to convey respect.

Pluralization

In Filipino, the word 'You' is translated to 'ikaw' or 'ka' for a single person. But for a group of persons or in plural form, 'You' is translated as 'kayo'.

However, to convey respect to someone, the plural form is used. 

Example:

"Who are you?"

If asking single person, the direct translation woukd be:

"Sino ka?"

Instead, to convey respect you say 'Sino kayo?'

Or with 'po'

'Sino po sila?'

Or sometimes the third person 'sila' - which means 'they'.

'Sino po sila?'

Unfortunately, I noticed that some writers in many Filipino TV shows seemed to have forgotten the use of the plural form.

In one such show, I remembered this scene.

A fairy suddenly appeared in a puff of smoke in front of a group of young people.

One of them asked the fairy..

"Sino ka?"

Which sounded like 'sinuka', which is Filipino for the word "vomit."

Non-Verbal Language

Even some of the non-verbal language of the Filipinos shows respect. An example is if you are about to walk in between two people talking, all you need to do is put one hand forward, angled down. It’s almost similar to offering a hand for a hand-shake. And lower your head. That is already understood as you are saying “Excuse me.” and you want to walk through. This is, of course, done only if there is no other way to walk through.  This action is also done if you are walking in front of someone who is watching a TV or a movie. 

Pointing With the Lips

This one is a bit different. When you ask a Filipino for directions ,and would reply with puckered lips, that person is not asking for a kiss before answering. That person is already pointing to the direction where you should go. The same thing if you are looking for something and the puckered lips are pointing to where you can find what you are looking for. 

A joke in the provinces about this action is. If you ask for a direction and the hand is used to point the direction, then it's just close.

But if the person points with his/her lips and especially towards a hill then you probably need to cross that hill or valley to get to where you want to.

Pagmamano

The 'pagmamano' is a sign of respect of the younger generation to the older relatives like parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. Usually done when one visits the other or when meeting elsewhere.

Pagmamano -oil pastel on paper by JLoberiza

The younger one would take the right hand of the elder and touch his/her forehead to the back of the elder's hand.

Although the younger generations now prefer a kiss to the cheek.


Multiple Dialects.

Going back to the story above, at the mention of the word ‘langgam’, the Bisaya looks up to the sky and the Tagalog looks down to the ground why? That single word has a different meaning in different parts of the country.

The Philippines is an Archipelago with more than 7,000 islands. Thus different parts of the country have different dialects. Tagalog and Bisaya are just two of the major dialects in the country, we have the Ilonggo, Chabakano, Waray, Ilocano, Karay-a and many more.Even within a single province, some municipalities have some distinct difference from their neighboring towns. 

And some of words have different meanings in different regions. Here are some examples.

Pating means shark to most, but a Karay-a will look to the skies and look for a pigeon.

Sili -  is chilli pepper to most Filipinos but don’t say that in front of a Waray because it means something private. *grin*

Same thing with ‘Sabot’ which means ‘understand’ to a Bisaya or Cebuano, but say that to an Ilongga and you might get slapped in the face. 

There are still lots of things to say about the Filipino language, but I have to stop here for now.

This is my post for @JonicaBradley’s writing prompt on Language.

If you want to join this writing ptompt, the rules are simple.

  1. Write anything about language

  2. Write 100% original content

  3. Write at least 600 words so Rusty will reward you

  4. Submit to the PromptlyJonica community (please join us if you haven't already)

  5. @JonicaBradley and @TengoLoTodo

  6. Have fun!

Maraming Salamat Po Sa Pagbasa.






















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Comments

Nacurious ako sa "sabot". Tanong ko na lang sa kasambahay namin. Hehe. Yung pointing with our lips, alam ko disrespectful daw yun in some other countries. May napanood akong video. Pero para sa atin hindi normal lang.

$ 0.02
2 weeks ago

Um... Kasabot na ka day?

Lol!

Yeah. Lalo na paglalaki ang gumawa nun tapos babae ang kausap. 😅😅😅. Baka sampal abutin ni kuya pag ganun. 😂😂😂😂😂

$ 0.00
2 weeks ago

True maraming mga palabas sa TV di marunong sa tamang paggalang. Jusko kaya mga tao ngayon di na rin alam paano ba maging magalang.

Also sayang hindi Filipino para pasok din sa Buwan ng Wika challenge ko. Haha.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Ngayon ko lang nabasa to hehehe. Gusto ko sanang isulat to in Filipino. Kaya lang medyo na busy. Hehe

$ 0.00
2 weeks ago

Indeed Filipino language is rich. Filipinos are multilingual for we can speak and/or understand different languages like Tagalog, English and other dialects like Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon and a lot more. Thanks for this amazing article.

PS: You have an awesome talent in art.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

salamat for this John, I must admit it took me a while to understand the difference between oo and opo, I do love trying to learn filipino, and I have a little of tagalog and bisaya and even a word or two of waray. This is a wonderful article.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Sometimes we thought that what we are using is Filipino .. like

Silya , it's Spanish .. the Filipino of silya is upuan or salungpuwit Lamesa - it's also a Spanish, it should be hapag kainan 😂✌️

$ 0.00
3 months ago

siguro sa ibang bansa meron din silang ganito mostly sa asean countries perhaps...

$ 0.05
3 months ago

Malamang merin nga.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Unfortunately, I noticed that some writers in many Filipino TV shows seemed to have forgotten the use of the plural form.

This has been reiterated by my professor before and it stuck with me. I think not only in TV but also in school this is not taught properly.

$ 0.02
3 months ago

Ayun. Doon yata nagsisimula ang problema. Pag hindi na naituro ng maayos, hindi din tama ang matutunan ng mga mag-aaral.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Yang pagmamano ang di nawawala dito samin, kuya.

$ 0.02
3 months ago

Maganda naman pag ganun. Dito parang nawawala na. Yun nga halik sa pisngi na ginagawa. Yung ibang kabataan wala na na talagang paggalang.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Hehe i enjoyed this one. Thanks for sharing sir. I have known about the langgam and ibon.. its great to expand to pating and pigeons.

Also that pastel on paper. You paint/draw sir?

$ 0.02
3 months ago

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.. Hindi ko na kinumpleto yung dalawa dahil medyo censored. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 As a hobby, yes I draw.

$ 0.00
3 months ago