Saturday, July 02, 2005

MUTDA: Mga Tulang Asi

I apologize again for the length of time between posts. I attribute this to being busy with school and work (and partly to laziness, but don't tell anyone. Ok?). I am off from work for the next six weeks, and there are a bunch of projects that I'd love to get finished during this summer.

I am in school again and am currently taking French, statistics, and political science for the summer quarter. My spring quarter grades surprised me. They were much better than my winter quarter grades; I got a 4.0! So, I was extremely happy. Usually there's that one cursed B that ruins the whole streak. Hopefully I can pull this off again, but statistics, which involves math, really isn't my forté.

Moving on... During my hiatus from this blog, I purchased a copy of a poetry anthology in the Asi language of Romblon province. The title is Mutda: Mga Tulang ASI (Pearl: Asi poems). It was compiled by Ishmael Fabicon, a native of Banton Island whom I first met over 5 years ago in a Bikol mailing list. Lyndon Fadri and Abner Famiano also edited the anthology.

Asi is really a minority language; a little over 70,000 people speak it. So it's a real treat to have a publication in a minority language such as this since they are really hard to come by.

Here's a song that was included in the anthology. It's Kita Ay Magsadya by Quirino Ferranco.

Kita ay magsadya ag magkanta
Sa tunog, sonata't gitara
Kasubo'y war-on sa hunahuna
Maglibang kita sa kasadya
Masri kali'k damot, Oh palangga
Ag puso nakong nagyuyuha
Pag ako pinisil, kaling imo damot
Di ka mahangit it kaling pakipot

Maasran ka ak yuha
It ako mga mata
Ka naging dahilan, buksi ka ak rughan
Nak ka ak paghigugma ay gikan

Cool, huh?

What I love about Asi is its historical phonology as far as its consonants are concerned; I think this is why it is tentatively considered a separate branch in the Visayan language family.

Linguist Jason Lobel explained Asi's consonants in his Sanrokan paper, but I'll give a brief run-down here.

Many of the words that normally start with /d/ in other Philippine languages like Tagalog, are rendered as /r/. So rather than dagat, isda, and sunod there is ragat, isra, and sunor.

Where other Philippine languages have /l/, Asi has /y/. So there is yamig, yang, suyat, mahay, and wayo for lamig, lang, sulat, mahal, and walo.

Medial /y/ in most Philippine languages is /d/ in Asi. Examples: hadop (hayop), maado (maayo), nidog (niyog), and sida (siya).

And then there are a lot of familiar words that have undergone at least two of these changes: badar (bayad), raya (dala), layo (yado), and yud-a (luy-a).

What a beautiful language - I hope there will be more Asi books in the future.