Friday, March 30, 2007

Philippine Blog Awards Update

Well, folks it's almost 10:30PM Friday here in the Seattle-Tacoma area while it's 10:30PM Saturday in the Philippines. I'm ready to call it a day and hit the sack since I've had a long week.

In four hours, the Philippine Blog Awards ceremony will begin.

Since I am unable to make the trip to my dad's hometown of Makati where the awards will be held, I have designated my online friend Jomar Alas to represent me at the ceremony. He and I first met in Hispano-Filipino and we've had our - and still have - our heated debates in that forum. But it's all good, I swear. ;-)

In any case, Jomar blogs at Skirmisher.Org and also at Alas Filipinas. The latter is the only known Philippine-related blog written entirely in Spanish. Jomar is actively learning Spanish and desires to resurrect a forgotten part of Philippine heritage. Check him out!

So, wish me luck. And good night to you all.

Tagalog verbs

I've been wanting to do a post about Tagalog verbs for a while now. I've brought my notes together to give you all this entry.

Currently, modern Tagalog verb conjugation is as outlined in the following chart.

Infinitive
Contemplative
(future actions)
Progressive
(past and present actions)
Completed
(past actions)
Actor Focus 1-um-
(gumawa)
CV-
(gagawa)
CumV-
(gumagawa)
-um-
(gumawa)
Actor Focus 2mag-
(magbigay)
magCV-
(magbibigay)
nagCV-
(nagbibigay)
nag-
(nagbigay)
Object Focus 1-in
(kainin)
CV-...-in
(kakainin)
CinV-
(kinakain)
-in-
(kinain)
Object Focus 2i-
(isulat)
iCV-
(isusulat)
iCinV-
(isinusulat)
i- -in-
(isinulat)
Object Focus 3-an
(tawagan)
CV-...-an
(tatawagan)
CinV- ... -an
(tinatawagan)
-in- ... -an
(tinawagan)


I hope you all will find this chart easy to understand, but I think it's simple enough. The dashes represent the position of the affix in relation to the rootword. CV stands for consonant and vowel and represents the first consonant and the first vowel of the rootword, hence reduplication.

For those who are learning Tagalog, the root words used are gawa (do), bigay (give), kain (eat), sulat (write), and tawag (call). So if you look at the proper column, you can tell that if you add the infix -um- to the rootword gawa you'll get gumawa (did). And if you attach the infix -in- with the suffix -an to tawag, you'll get tinawagan (called [someone]). Got it? Please also keep in mind that these are the basic affixes, so none of the potentive, causative, reason, etc. affixes are included.

However, Tagalog verbal conjugation was not quite as it was as early as a century ago. I have consulted two Tagalog grammar books from the Spanish era; Francisco Blancas de San José's 1610 Arte y Reglas de la lengua tagala and Fr. Sebastián de Totanes's 1745 Arte de la lengua tagala.

During those times, Tagalog's verbal affixes looked more like the following.

Infinitive
Contemplative
(future actions)
Progressive
(past and present actions)
Completed
(past actions)
Imperative
Actor Focus 1-um-
(gumawa)
CV-
(gagawa)
CungmV-
(gungmagawa)
-ungm-
(gungmgawa)
Actor Focus 2mag-
(magbigay)
magCV-
(magbibigay)
nagCV-
(nagbibigay)
nag-
(nagbigay)
pag-
(pagbigay)
Object Focus 1-in
(kainin)
CV-...-in
(kakainin)
CinV-
(kinakain)
-in-
(kinain)
0
(kain)
Object Focus 2i-
(isulat)
iCV-
(isusulat)
iCinV-
(isinusulat)
i- -in-
(isinulat)
-an
(sulatan)
Object Focus 3-an
(tawagan)
CV-...-an
(tatawagan)
CinV- ... -an
(tinatawagan)
-in- ... -an
(tinawagan)
-i
(tawagi)

Imperative affixes

One major difference is that the Tagalog spoken over two centuries ago had an additional verb category, the imperative which is used for commands and requests (i.e., Matulog ka na - Go to sleep). Even then, the imperative and the infinitive were used side by side in expressing commands, but apparently the infinitive became used exclusively in standard Tagalog. Now, I emphasize standard because in certain dialects of Tagalog, it still exists. In certain dialects of Batangas Tagalog, it has been said that one says buksi mo instead of buksan mo for "open it." And in the Eastern Marinduque dialect, the imperative affixes are very much alive.

Since Tagalog is a Central Philippine language, does this mean that other Central Philippine languages have imperative affixes too? The answer is yes and they are widely used in the languages spoken in Bicol and in the Visayas. Though, in the "Actor Focus 1" category, all these languages have the suffix "-a" for the imperative.

The languages of the Northern Philippines like Pangasinan, Kapampangan, and Ilokano do not have imperative affixes. In light of this fact, my guess is that Tagalog lost the affixes due to speakers of Northern Philippine languages who migrated to Manila and imposed their respective native languages' grammatical rules onto Tagalog. This caught on when their children, assimilated Tagalog speakers, began to use the language. So this could explain why the dialects that tend to be further from Ilokano and Kapampangan speaking regions tend to preserve the affixes. Though because of the influence and prestige of Manila Tagalog, they are also disappearing.

The infix -um- and its derivatives

Another noticeable difference is the infix -um- which has also undergone a process of simplification since the Spanish era.

The infix -ungm- which has disappeared from virtually all contemporary Tagalog dialects. In modern Tagalog, -um- serves as the infinitive, imperative, and completed (past) forms. So what distinguishes the phrase kumain ka (either "eat" or "you ate") is context and tone). This infix is cognate with similar infixes in other Philippine languages. They, too, also make a distinction between the infinitive the past forms:

Language
Infinitive affix
Completed/Past affix
Old Tagalog-um--ungm-
Modern Tagalog
-um-
Ilokano-um--inn
Kapampangan-um--in-
Pangasinanon--inm-
Waray-Waray-um--inm-, -in-, -um-
Tausug-um--im-
Old Bikol-um--umin-


Apparently the infinitive form comes from Proto-Philippine *-um- and the past one from Proto-Philippine *-umin-.

Furthermore, there were variants of -um- that had to do with phonetic environment. For example, if the first vowel of a rootword was /i/, then -um- would optionally change to -im-. This is called vowel harmony. For comparison's sake, I'll use the rootword tingin as an example:

English
Modern TagalogOld Tagalog
to looktumingintimingin
I lookedtumingin akotingmingin ako
I am/was lookingtumitingin akotingmitingin ako
I will look
titingin ako


Now when did this conjugation cease to exist? I am guessing sometime in the middle of the last century. I was able to find a mention of the -ungm- infix in the Pedro Serrano Laktaw's 1929 Estudios gramaticales sobre la lengua Tagálog. He remarks on page 83:

"... que el um del imperativo tenga ng intercalada entre sus dos letras componentes, de modo que resulte ungm para el pretérito y presente, a fin de distinguir el pretérito perfecto del imperativo, como se nota en las antiguas gramáticas, y tal como aún pronuncian la mayor parte de los tagalogs puros, si bien se ve igualmente en muchos libros impresos, como también se oye en Manila a los tagálogs pronunciar el pretérito y el presente con solo el um."

(... that the um of the imperative has a "ng" inserted between its two component letters, in a way that it results in ungm for the preterite and the present, in order to distinguish the preterite perfect from the imperative, as is noted in the older grammars. And it is pronoounced such by the majority of pure Tagalogs, it's also seen in many printed books. The Tagalogs in Manila also pronounce the preterite and the present with just um.)


It makes me wonder if there are still older Tagalog speakers - people in their 90s and 100s - who speak this way.

Another phonological change was that verbs beginning with certain sounds took on different affixes. This would usually happen to verbs beginning with /b/ and /p/. The infix -um- would assimilate with those consonants. There were some exceptions to the /p/ and /b/ rule as in the verbs kuha (get), uwi (return home), inom (drink), ihi (urinate), and others. According to the grammars, verbs fitting in this category may also be conjugated the regular way (i.e., unassimilated). Below is a comparison outlining the modern Tagalog forms and the two ways of conjugating the verb in old Tagalog. I use the rootword pasok (enter) as an example.

English
Modern TagalogOld Tagalog

(unassimilated conjugation)
Old Tagalog

(assimilated conjugation)
to enter
pumasok
masok
I enteredpumasok akopungmasok akonasok ako
I am/was enteringpumapasok akopungmapasok akonanasok ako
I will enter
papasok ako


It's also worth nothing that a similar process of assimilation happens in Tausug and Kapampangan languages.

Verbal affixes in other Tagalog dialects

One thing I heard growing up was that Tagalog speakers from southern Luzon (Batangas, Quezon, etc.) would say "nakain ka ba ng pating?" To a Manileño, this means "were you eaten by a shark?" But in those regions, it means "are you eating shark?" - nakain is the equivalent of kumakain.

The Tagalog dialects of Marinduque are the most divergent, especially the Eastern Marinduque dialect - perhaps due to the relative isolation from the Tagalogs of Luzon and also perhaps due to the influence of the Visayan and Bikol migrants.

Linguist Rosa Soberano's 1980 The Dialects of Marinduque Tagalog goes into great depth concerning the dialects spoken there. The following is a verb chart which outlines the conjugation of the Eastern Marindique dialect of Tagalog:

Infinitive
Contemplative
(future actions)
Progressive
(past and present actions)
Completed
(past actions)
Imperative
Actor Focus 1-um-
(gumawa)
má-
(gawâ)
ná-
(gawâ)
-um-
(gumawa)
0
(gawa)
Actor Focus 2mag-
(magbigay)
(ma)ga-
([ma]gabigay)
naga-
(nagabigay)
nag-
(nagbigay)
pag-
(pagbigay)
Object Focus 1-in
(kainin)
a-
(akainin)
ina-
(inakain)
-in-
(kinain)
-a
(kaina)
Object Focus 2i-
(isulat)
a-
(asulat)
ina-
(inasulat)
i- -in-
(isinulat)
-an
(sulatan)
Object Focus 3-an
(tawagan)
a-...-an
(atawagan)
ina- ... -an
(inatawagan)
-in- ... -an
(tinawagan)
-i
(tawagi)


What I find interesting is that some of these affixes, particularly "a-" and "ina-," are affixes used in Asi (Bantoanon), a Visaya language spoken in Romblon, just south of Marinduque.

Some final thoughts

I hope you found this informative. It's fun sometimes for me to use the Old Tagalog or Eastern Marinduque Tagalog verbal affixes in my conversations with other Filipinos. Some have not noticed them at all (particularly when I use -ungm-) while others will think I'm weird and attempt to correct me. In some ways, I think it would have been wonderful for Tagalog to have preserved them - to have preserved the richness. But I guess these things happen for a reason.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Language maps

One way to improve articles on Wikipedia is to include images. How does this work for language-related articles? For starters, you could include a map of the area where the language is spoken.

For Philippine languages, this can be quite tricky. The Philippine situation is unlike the situation in, say, Japan where almost everyone speaks Japanese. So all you'd need to do is put a map of Japan and color it green and say "everyone there speaks Japanese!"

Ok, ok, the pedant in me says screams that Japan is not that simple either. I mean, for a more detailed map you'd need to show where dialects such as Kansai-ben and Kagoshima-ben, not to mention coloring areas where the dying Ryukyuan and Ainu languages are spoken. But you get the idea.

One of the problems is the famous question concerning dialects, where does a language begin and end? Even native speakers themselves have a hard time drawing a line in the sand. Yes, there is Ethnologue, which says there are over 160 Philippine languages but both you and I know that number can change at a moment's notice, depending on whom you speak to. This is because that there is little research done on speech varieties spoken in a different areas - from my understandings, SIL linguists have to go on Swadesh lists and the like. But as time goes on, more definitive research comes in and thus a clearer picture of the Philippine language situation becomes reality.

A related problem is the issue of names. In a previous blog entry, I mentioned that millions of Cebuano speakers simply disappeared in the 2000 Census's Mother Tongue category between the years 1995 and 2000. What was the problem? The appearance of a new "Bisaya/Binisaya" category was to blame. Many people in the Visayan islands simply call their respective languages "Bisaya" or "Binisaya" whether they are living in Allen, Northern Samar or Davao City! Many native speakers simply do not use the linguistic names that linguists have assigned to their languages, be it Dispoholnon or Porohanon - it's just plain Bisaya. Others have no specific names, like Bantayan Visayan. This is reflected in the Bikol, Ifugao, and Manobo languages as well.

Then you have problems like Davaoeño - which could refer to a dialect of Cebuano, Tagalog, or Chavacano or even the language related to Mansakan. Ay ay ay!

The four main sources that I consulted were Ethnologue, the 2000 Census, Dr. Curtis McFarland 1983 work A Linguistic Atlas of the Philippines, and Dr. R. David Zorc's 1977 The Bisayan Dialects of the Philippines.

I really want to get a copy of the CD from the National Statistics Office. It has statistics down to the barangay! That would really help in making the maps more detailed. The CDs are available here but no one has answered my e-mail. :-(

In any case, the maps are below. Click to enlarge.

Cebuano

Cebuano is spoken in various provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao and goes by different names. In Bohol, it's called Boholano and in Leyte it can be called Leyteño, Leytehanon, or Kana. Cebu is basically the de-facto capital of the region and its influence is reflected in the written language, so I guess its dialect gets dibs on being the most famous one. Though I'm all for an inclusive name, but not too inclusive like Visayan.

I had a difficult time with the provinces of Surigao Norte, Surigao Sur, and the newly-created Dinagat Islands. There are four main dialects of Surigaonon spoken there, and they have a lot of Cebuano influence. People have claimed that Cebuano is spoken there, but I can't ascertain it. I don't doubt that Cebuano is spoken there, so for now I have put it in light blue coloring. I am not comfortable with this designation, so I need to research this more.



Kapampangan

Doing Kapampangan was more simple. The majority of Kapampangans are concentrated in Pampanga. However, linguistic borders do not always represent political ones. Southern Tarlac is Kapampangan-dominated, and there are communities of Kapampangan-speakers in southwestern Nueva Ecija, northeastern Bataan, and western Bulacan.



Tagalog

Tagalog was easier as well. Looking at the map, it makes you wonder how a language that's relegated to a smaller area could be the national language of the country for decades. With that aside, I have some doubts about Mindoro. I have conflicting information about where exactly Tagalog is spoken. It appears the interior is dominated by Mangyan languages, but are they mingling with Tagalog speakers? Or do they themselves speak Tagalog? Also, the southern ends of Mindoro are home to Visayan-speakers.

People may argue that this map should cover ALL of the Philippines since over 96% of the population speaks it. But I felt the map would be more useful and more accurate if it showed the areas where Tagalog is native.



Visayan languages

I am quite proud of this map. I've been wanting to do this map for the longest time. It challenges the popular notion of what a Visayan is and what they speak. As you can see, Visayan languages are native to the southern end of Luzon (however, the people there consider themselves Bicolanos) all the way to Jolo (the people there do not consider themselves Visayans either).

One problem that I had with this map was related to Cebuano. For now it's been classified in its own subbranch of Visayan languages. But I feel that it's a South Visayan language just like Tausug, Surigaonon, and Butuanon are. But I can't impose my hypotheses on Wikipedia, so I have to go with current research.



On a side note, I suggested to another Wikipedian that we should do a Venn diagram on what a Visayan is. Since there are geographic, linguistic, ethnic, and political perspectives.

For example:
  • A Cebuano is a Visayan under all those criteria.
  • A native of Cagayan de Oro is a Visayan but not geographically and politically.
  • A Tausug and a Sorsoganon is only Visayan in terms of language. As a matter of fact, in Tausug, "Bisaya" means "Christian."
  • An Abaknon from Capul Island is only politically, geographically, and perhaps ethnically Visayan but not linguistic; their language is Sama-Bajaw (related to the languages near Jolo).
  • And since 2005, Palawanons are now politically Visayan!

Mentioned in YES!

A Wikipedian living in Manila informed me that I was quoted in the March 2007 issue of YES! Magazine concerning the use of the word Pinoy. Luckily, my grandma buys an issue for herself at the local Filipino store every month, so I went to her house after she told me that she did have a copy.

In any case, I made a scan of the article in question. Click to enlarge. Mr. Lacaba apparently used this post where I mentioned my debate between Guillermo R. Gómez and his son Guillermo O. Gómez concerning the origin of Pinoy.



So yeah, it's kind of exciting and weird at the same time that my blog has been getting this attention lately! And I thought that people in general believe that Philippine languages weren't interesting. ;-)

Salita Blog is a finalist for Philippine Blog Awards

Well, I submitted my blog a while back for the Philippine Blog Awards. Y'know, just for fun. Didn't think (and still don't think) that I'd win. Well I'm a finalist now. Wow. There are four other finalists in the Socio-Political category.

I had trouble finding a "cultural" category which is what I think where this blog fits. But since the issue of regional languages of often a political one in the Philippines, this was the second-best category.

So, good luck to me, I guess? I won't be able to attend the awards ceremony, though. I don't have the funds or the passport to do so. Alas..

But yeah, I am feeling bad now - I haven't had time to post in this blog. There are so many topics that have I've been mulling over.