Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Eskaya

I first encountered Hector Santos's Philippine Leaf website about 10 or 11 years ago (man does time fly!). I don't remember seeing his page about the Eskaya script, though. Just recently, a fellow Wikipedia editor brought to my attention an article she has been working on about the Eskayas of Bohol and their language.

She also sent me a URL of a blog here on Blogspot with pictures of a person's trip to visit the Eskaya in Bohol. The photos by Perez Sez really caught my interest. They show the Eskayan script being used in everyday Eskaya life. The skeptical side of me wonders if these are real or doctored photographs, but I am leaning towards believing they're real barring any future research on them. The photographs are amazing, though.

According to Santos, the Eskaya claim their language is not related to any other. A look at the script reveals that there are a lot of consonant clusters (ble chda bro cro) which are not characteristic of most other Philippine languages. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of Tboli and Blaan with their unusual clusters in words like sdo (fish), kdaw (day), mkik (cry), and tnilos (to cut meat).

I tried deciphering the script so I can see if there are any relations to other languages, but it was rather confusing. Fortunately, one of the photos have some Romanized Eskaya which reads:

Samnet yo Bantilar
Samnat yo aantilac, Datong con bathala ya abeya chda cloper meboy siewes, menti chdi loning ya moy beresagui samnat eela-bolto, gona yonoy dolerkido.
bentod ya hondo yel moy sebar, chda adniam yel kenampay.
Ediac este mesesabla lo-o ya bac robas cheti ri esto ebitangki chda laraker ???? ya droser ya ?? do-o moy sam tener-go y ?? chda carno ya lacya ya bohol.
Interesting. I cannot make out any words. It does not appear to be related to any of the languages I know. However, it does remind me of Tboli, as I said.

Back to the script. It seems rather random to me. The origins of the script are unknown. Frankly, I believe the script to have been created by someone who happened to look at writing from either Americans or Spaniards and simply stole the letters from there while assigning them totally different phonetic values. I see letters like A, R, d, f, O (which is pronounced the same in Eskaya!), and u. I also see the letters 2, 4, and 8. There are also groups of letters like iss, Das, go, gn, leA, led, Ath, and Aas. Then there are syllabic characters which resemble Greek letters (φ, γ), Cyrillic letters (э), and something that even resembles the Japanese hiragana syllabic character お!

(Click to enlarge. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Do you know what this reminds me of? The Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah. He just took random letters from the Roman alphabet and gave them different sounds:

(Click to enlarge. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

So was there an Eskayan version of Sequoyah? Hopefully more research can shed more light on this mystery.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Kapampangan music video

A "Millenium Version" of the popular Kapampangan folk song, Atin Ku Pung Singsing (I once had a ring) has been made into a music video by the Center for Kapampangan Studies at Holy Angel University in Angeles City, Pampanga.

It apparently is a part of a CD titled "Paskung Kapampangan" (Kapampangan Christmas). It was mentioned on Christmas Eve by Tonette Orejas in the Philippine Inquirer article Kapampangan carols now on CDs. Even though Christmas is basically over, I still would like a copy of this CD. In any case, the music video is below. Enjoy! I think it's the first time I've seen a music video in a non-Tagalog Philippine language (Scratch that - it's the second; I've watched the Kapampangan tourism video!).

Right under the video are the lyrics and a translation which Ernie Turla (author of the Classic Capampangan dictionary) helped me with back in 2003.

Atin ku pung singsing (I once had a ring)
Metung yang timpukan (It was a family heirloom)
Amana ke iti (I inherited this)
King indung ibatan (From my own mother)
Sangkan keng sininup (I pretended to hide it)
King metung a kaban (Inside a chest)
Mewala ya iti, (It just disappeared)
E ku kamalayan. (Without my knowing)

Ing sukal ning lub ku (The pain inside me)
Susukdul king banwa (Reaches up to the sky)
Pikurus kung gamat (My crossed arms)
Babo ning lamesa (Are on top of the table)
Ninu mang manakit (Whoever finds)
King singsing kung mana (My heirloom ring)
Kalulung pusu ku (My poor heart)
Manginu ya keya. (Will worship him).

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Jesus Film in Philippine languages

Since Christmas Eve is upon us, I'd like to show you a link where you can watch the Jesus Film dubbed in various languages - a lot of which are in many Philippine languages.

The link is

They are (as far as I can tell; there may be more that I may've missed):

  • Aklanon
  • Bicolano
  • Koronadal Blaan
  • Cebuano
  • Chavacano
  • Hiligaynon
  • Ibaloi
  • Ibanag
  • Ifugao
  • Ilocano
  • Itawis
  • Kankanaey
  • Kapampangan
  • Kinaray-a
  • Magindanaon
  • Masbateño
  • Pangasinan
  • Romblomanon
  • Southern Sama
  • Western Subanon
  • Tagalog
  • Tausug
  • Tboli
  • Waray-Waray
  • Yakan


As an added bonus, go check out Gospel Recordings.Com they have MP3 recordings of oodles and oodles of Philippine languages. There are simply too many to list. This is a great way to introduce yourselves to the languages of the Philippines.

Over and out!