20 December 2007

The Peculiarity of the Philippine Language

It is difficult to remove biases, especially when these involve differences based on individual's geographical origins. Language, for one, often betrays one's roots which in turn serve as someone else's preconceieved notions about the person. The way one speaks is sometimes a cause for discrimination.

Particularly in the Philippines, the reason why a person from one region pronounces the same word differently from someone from another part of the country may then come as a surprise to you.

Did you know that the original Philippine alphabet, most likely the foundation of all our contemporary dialects, called 'Baybayin' or more commonly known as 'Alibata', only had three vowels? Yes, just three.

They are "A", "E or I" and "O or U". E or I? O or U? Yes, the use of "E" and "I" are interchangeable, and so is the use of "O" and "U"

This accounts for why both "Lalake" and "Lalaki" are acceptable pronunciations of the same word. And so with: Kain and Kaen, Multo and Molto, Diyos and Deyos, Laki and Lake.

So, the next time you hear a person from a different region as yours pronounce the word "kuya" as "koya", or vise versa, think hard about who is correct. In this case, both of you are.

(Photo courtesy of www.magandanghaponatbp.com)


Senor Enrique said...

Maligayang Pasko to you and your entire family!

Ang Kuwago said...

Thanks, Senor Enrique! And a Merry Christmas to you and your family! May your light shine always!