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Pinoy UnderGround >> Filipino, Philipino, Pilipino?????

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1/22/09 5:55 PM
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PTM2020
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 Interesting Article here

http://www.pilipino-express.com/history-a-culture/in-other-words/127-the-basics-of-philippino-filipino.html



Wednesday, 01 August 2007 00:00

 

 Paul  

  The basics of Philippino Filipino        

 
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Sometimes non-Filipinos ask me, “What do Filipinos speak? It’s like Spanish, right? What’s it called? Tag-A-Log? And what about the spelling? Is it Filipino or Pilipino? Shouldn’t it be Philippino because it’s from the Philippines?”

I once knew a person who was actually afraid to say the word Pilipino because he thought it might be an ethnic slur that made fun of the accents of some Filipinos who mix up their p’s and f’s.

This spelling uncertainty is due to the intertwined history of three languages – Spanish, English and Filipino.

Spelling confusion

The country we call the Philippines today is a collection of about 7,100 islands in Southeast Asia that was once a colony of the Spanish empire. When the Spaniards “discovered” it in the early 1500s, they had more than one name for various parts of the archipelago – New Castile, the Spanish East Indies, St. Lazarus, etc., but eventually they settled on one name for all the islands; Las Islas Filipinas. This name was given to honour their Prince Philip who eventually became King Philip II. (Anglos may remember him as the king who sent his Armada to attack Queen Elizabeth’s England in 1588.) It is one of history’s cruel twists of irony that the Filipinos and their country were named after a monarch whose name began with a sound that was completely foreign to their own tongues.

Of course, Philip is just the English version of the Spanish name Felipe, so Filipinas was usually spelled with an F. I say usually because during the early part of the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines, spelling was not yet standardized. Practically every possible variation of spelling can be found for the word Filipinas in books of the 1500s and 1600s – Filippinas, Philipinas, Philippinas and even Piliphinas.


1/22/09 5:55 PM
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When translated into English, Las Islas Filipinas is “the Philippine Islands,” spelled with PH to match the spelling of Philip. Sometime shortly after World War II, the “Islands” part of the name was dropped, so now we just call it the Philippines.

The Spanish word for a person from Las Islas Filipinas was naturally Filipino, with an F. Originally this referred to a Spaniard born in the Philippines, not to an indigenous inhabitant of the islands. The people we know as Filipinos today, the Spaniards once called Indios, which is the same stupid misnomer that my ancestors gave to the original inhabitants of North America – Indians.

English never had a suitable equivalent for Filipino – a “Philippine,” “Philippian” or “Philippinian” probably just didn’t sound right, so English adopted the Spanish word Filipino, keeping the F and the “ino.”

Moving on to the 20th century, when the Americans finally recognized the independence of the Philippines after an occupation of almost 50 years, Filipinos were already in the process of developing a national language of their own. This language was called Pilipino. It was based mainly on Tagalog, the language of the region around the capitol of Manila. (By the way, it’s pronounced tah-GAH-log, not “Tag-A-Log”.) Some traditions say that the name Tagalog is from taga-ilog, which refers to people “from the river area.”

Pilipino was spelled with a P because the sound of F was foreign to Tagalog and to most of the other 170 languages and dialects of the islands. Also, since the ancient Filipino script called baybayin didn’t have an F, it was not included in the new official Pilipino alphabet (known as the abakada), either.

So, the national language became, Pilipino, the people called themselves Pilipino and Pilipina, and they called their country Pilipinas. Of course, foreigners continued to use their own words for the name of the country.

As time went on, the authorities in charge of developing the national language had to accept the fact that foreign words and sounds were already a part of everyday Pilipino speech. They overhauled the official alphabet (more than once) to include foreign letters such as F. Now the language is officially called Filipino and the country is Filipinas, though Philippines is still the name used when speaking English. The official Filipino language recognizes both Filipino and Pilipino, and the feminine Filipina and Pilipina, as acceptable terms for the citizens of the Philippines.

The Filipino language

As for the language itself, some people who are not familiar with Filipino culture have different ideas about what Filipinos speak. Some think it is a kind of pidgin or Creole based on Spanish while others assume it is like Chinese or Vietnamese.

In fact, Tagalog and the other languages of the Philippines are languages in their own right. And even though Filipinos sometimes talk about their own particular “dialects,” like Cebuano or Ilokano, these are actually distinct languages that share some similarities with each other. (Each of these languages also has its own variations or dialects, just as English does, but that’s getting a bit off the topic.)

The languages of the Philippines share a common ancestry with the languages of Malaysia and Indonesia. Many basic Malaysian words, like the numbers and the parts of the body, are so similar to Philippine languages that some Filipinos may even mistake the sound of Malaysian or Indonesian as one of the languages from somewhere in the southern Philippines.

All these languages are part of the Austronesian family of languages, also known as Malayo-Polynesian. These languages are spread out from Madagascar, just east of Africa, throughout the islands of Southeast Asia all the way to Guam, Hawaii and even to Easter Island (Rapa Nui), just west of South America.


1/22/09 5:55 PM
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Filipino and the regional languages of the Philippines have a rich vocabulary with borrowings from many sources, thanks to a long history of trade contact with many neighbouring countries.

The Chinese brought many words related to food, cooking, business and even family-related terms like kuya and ate for eldest brother and eldest sister.

Hindus and Muslims from Malaysia and Indonesia brought words with roots going back to the ancient Sanskrit language of India – words related to the arts and religion, like katha, likha, and diwata (literary work, creation and goddess).

The Spaniards brought words related to Christianity, government and technology up to the 19th century. And due to their long occupation, Spanish words even displaced some basic native words like bisig for arm, which is more commonly called by the Spanish term brazo. The word boses, from the Spanish voz, for “voice” is used more often than the Tagalog word tinig.

And, of course, English now supplies the majority of words related to modern technology and pop culture.

With this mixture of accepted borrowings, various regional languages and the common use of Taglish (Tagalog/English slang), it’s no wonder that some non-Filipinos might not know how to describe what they hear when Filipinos are talking.

So, to sum up:
  • Philippines is the English name for the country, while –

  • Filipinas is both the Spanish and Filipino name for the Philippines.

  • The people are called Filipinos in English, Spanish and Filipino, though –

  • many Filipinos still prefer to call themselves Pilipino and their country Pilipinas.

  • The national language is based on Tagalog but with the addition of many words borrowed from languages near and far.
  • For a time the language was called Pilipino but now its official name in all three languages is Filipino.

Oh, and Philipino or Philippino? Well, those are just wrong.


 
1/23/09 11:06 AM
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le0nidis
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Nice read. Thanks!
1/29/09 5:06 AM
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El_Varaco
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So, to sum up:

*

Philippines is the English name for the country, while –
*

Filipinas is both the Spanish and Filipino name for the Philippines.
*

The people are called Filipinos in English, Spanish and Filipino, though –
*

many Filipinos still prefer to call themselves Pilipino and their country Pilipinas.
* The national language is based on Tagalog but with the addition of many words borrowed from languages near and far.

* For a time the language was called Pilipino but now its official name in all three languages is Filipino.

Oh, and Philipino or Philippino? Well, those are just wrong.


correct

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