[dropcap letter=”I”]t isn’t too bold to say that the Philippines is one of the most outstanding countries when it comes to speaking English. Koreans come here to learn English, teachers go to other countries to teach English, and job postings for Filipino ESL (English as Second Language) tutors are all over the internet. We, Filipinos, have perfected our second language…but not our first language–Filipino.
Who can blame us? More people know English and if we want to be the global citizen that we want to be, we must learn the language. At least, that’s what we thought.
Before we completely lose our national pride by switching to foreign grounds, it’s time to go back to our roots and relearn our national tongue. Listed here are 8 mix-ups most of us are guilty of when we speak/write (mostly write) in our first language:
When friends bump into each other, the phrase usually said right before “ang taba mo na!” and right after “Uy!” is “Kumusta?” Kumusta is from the Spanish “como esta.” Unless it’s actually “cama esta,” the interchanging of O/U makes much more sense.
Example: “Uy, kumusta ka naman? Ang taba mo na! Tagal na natin di nagkikita a!”
Anyone who rides the MRT is familiar with the warning “Huwag po nating sandalan ang pintuan” being blasted on the speakers every minute or so. And, surprise, this is one of their (many) violations.
A root word (which, in this case, is “pinto”) with the suffix “-an” indicates the space where the word happens or is placed. For example, “kainan” means a place where you eat (kain), “babuyan” means a place where pigs (baboy) are kept, and, “pintuan” means the frame where the door (pinto) is placed.
Example: “Huwag po nating sandalan ang pinto. Ang di makakasakay next train na lang. Pakiusap po, huwag po tayong magtulakan!”
“Sila” and “nila” are pronouns, which basically means they replace nouns, while “sina” and “nina” are used before names.
Example: “Guwapo naman sila pero mas yummy sina Marco at Luigi.” #ChoosyKaPa
Daw is one of the Filipino words with no English translation. Take that, Americans! Its closest translation is “allegedly.” But, did you know that this one-syllable word (compared to their three-syllable) has a variant which you should be using? All thanks to the Filipino tongue’s suave.
If the word before “daw” ends in a vowel or W/Y, then use “raw.” For everything else, it stays as “daw.” The same is true for “din/rin” and “dito/rito.” An exception to this is when it’ll sound weird, of course. For example, if the prior word ends in “-ri,” the tongue doesn’t roll right if you still use “rin.”
Example: “Crush ka rin daw ng crush mo! Bet mo ba raw magkita bukas?!”
The hyphen (gitling) is used for repeated words. A word, of course, has a meaning.
Unless your dictionary says that “paro,” “gamo,” and “kili” exist, you should write “paruparó,” “gamugamó,” and “kilikili.” Another commonly misspelled word with this rule is “ala-ala” instead of “alaala.” Because what exactly is “ala”?
Example: “Paruparóng bukid, bukid paruparó…?!” #FolkSongFail
The examples above with Os and Us may leave you wondering what’s with the wishy-washy swapping of vowels. In native Filipino writing (specifically, in the “baybayin,” not “alibata,” mind you), there are only three vowels, namely: A, E/I, and O/U. Some Os change to Us, especially for the Tagalogs. But, to be more universal about it, repeating words like “anó,” “taon,” and “patong” need not transform.
And, unlike “alaala” and “paruparó,” the former three words have their own meanings – thus, “anó-anó,” “taon-taon,” and “patong-patong”
Example: “Kung anó-anó pang sinasabi mo diyan, ang sabihin mo na lang, di mo na ako mahal!” #HugotPaMore
Following the previous item, it’s just right to say that the favorite Pinoy dessert is spelled as “halò-halò,” correct? Wrong!
Some repeated words become a whole new word–unlike “anó-anó,” which is basically a lot of “anó” or an enumeration of “anó.” When a new word is formed, the rule is to remove the hyphen and change the O to U.
Haluhalò, the dessert, is a new word even if it is a derivative of “halò” because of the way you serve the ingredients: mixed or “nahalò.” Halò-halò is an entirely different word.
Example: “Halò-halò ang mga sangkap sa haluhalò.” #WhatIsConfusing
They may sound the same but they have very different uses. Unfortunately, this is the most common error when it comes to the language. The one seating next to you may not even know that the other word exists.
“Nang” has five basic uses: (1) as synonymous to “noong”; (2) as synonymous to “upang” or “para”; (3) as a combination of “na” and “ng”; (4) as a connector for repeating verbs; and (5) as an adverb. For everything else, use “ng.”
Example (according to use):
(1) “Nang umalis ka, hindi na ako umasa pa.” #HugotPaMore
(2) “Kailangan ko na magpa-makeover nang maka-move on na!” #HugotPaMore
(3) “Sobra nang pagkakamartir ang ginagawa mo, teh! Di ka naman si Jose Rizal!” #HugotPaMore
(4) “Paganda ka nang paganda, feeling mo naman papansin ka niya.” #HugotPaMore
(5) “Wag kang kumain ng nakahubad” (Don’t eat someone naked) is a world of a difference from “Wag kang kumain nang nakahubad” (Don’t eat while naked). Know what I mean? #IKnowWhatYoureThinking
These, of course, won’t automatically make you the best Filipino speaker there is. But it’s a start. After all, you are a Filipino and this will always be your own.
(Reference: Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino: Manwal sa Masinop na Pagsulat)