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Language Trivia

Language is embedded in the culture and soul of the speakers. The Malay-polynesian language has no external relative, however, the meeting of East and West had promoted cultural and language adaptation. The ancient Polynesian perfected the art of drawing on the human body. The early sailing explorers brought the word "Tattoo" to Europe.

 One of the characteristics of our language is it lacks the negative adjectives and nouns. The word for prostitute is borrowed from the various Spanish terms. We use "puta" or "pera". The word pera is not for the exchange of money but "perra" Spanish for "female dog." It is also possible that this type of trade was not practiced prior to the coming of the westerners. Funny things happened when the American soldiers came to the country looking for these women. Due to the language barrier at that time the soldiers ask directions where he can find "girl." The best description he can muster was imitating the cheerleaders dancing the pom- pom. We just added "pampam" to our Pilipino language without realizing how it originated and those repeating syllables always fascinated us. Our naive attitude even prompted our usage of kinder terms like "hospitality girl." The US soldiers related the brave battles they fought in the "boondocks" in the Philippines. The mountain direction the boy pointed when the US soldier asked where the guerillas (little warrior) were hiding. The Tagalog "Bundok" found its way to the English Dictionary together with "amok" describing the charging Moros who can't be stopped. Rugged hiking shoes were later branded boondockers. Another funny thing is how we called metal shoe taps "Boston." The taps were manufactured by a company called BOSTON and hundreds of new things were known by their brand (Fregidaire, Colgate, etc). We were all stumped or bostoned as my friend said.

The coming of the American brought new culture and language. Filipinos who rebelled against the US troops were "blackballed." Because they were blacklisted, they were unable to work. We later labeled them "bulakbol." The slang broadsided Filipinos who were not working or going to school. We call our kids bulakbol or salbahe (from the Spanish word salvaje, meaning savage.) We probably won't use the term if we knew the original meaning

 The Tagalog and Ilocano word for rice is palay and pagay respectively. This is a contraction of the original Malay word "padi." The English language borrowed the word "paddy" for rice husk or as in the rice paddy. Because rice is our basic staple. Tagalog has different words for rice. Palay (unmilled rice), bigas (milled rice), kanin (cooked rice), darak (rice bran) and palayan (rice paddy or ricefield). Some dialects even have terms for old and new rice.

Our older parents however will never forget the famous English words "I shall return." Nestor Palugod Enriquez

Ancient Filipino Scripts

 Nestor Palugod Enriquez