• The Philippines’ lenguaprangka


    Our government offices are called “tanggapan.” We should not be surprised, therefore, if some public “servants” use this as justification for receiving “lagay” or bribes. Tanggap ng tanggap ng lagay, kasi nasatanggapan nga naman. (They keep on receiving and receiving bribes because they are in an office anyway.)
    Oops, something is lost in the translation.

    Some reformists may shout “putulin ang lagay sa tanggapan”(cut bribery in offices) which is correct but they should not do so in the Visayas. You see “lagay” is their term for the male sex organ, and who among them would want their organ cut? This reminds me of a former congressman from Camarines Sur, Leopoldo Buenaventura (1995-’98), who had filed a bill punishing habitual sex offenders with castration. The bill was junked for imposing cruel and inhuman punishment. However, it earned for Buenaventura the nickname “putol” which stuck even years after he has left the House. I noted this because when then senatorial candidate Mike “Tol” Defensor campaigned in Naga City in 2007, then Rep. Louie Villafuerte quipped: “Mike Defensor is ‘tol’ while we have a ‘putol,’”while looking in the direction of Buenaventura.

    Oh yes, don’t be surprised also that I led off this column with a word in our national language. Next week is our “Linggo ng Wika” and I thought I should devote this corner on this issue. I don’t think I’ll be alone. I expect a number of our legislators to speak on personal and collective privilege this Tuesday, August 19, using our National Language. I hope none among our legislators would stand up and interpellate the speakers in Bisaya, like the late Rep. James Chiongbian of Sarangani always did whenever a colleague spoke in the National Language. The late James Chiongbian said he could barely understand the language which he called “Tagalog.”

    In the previous Congress, Sen. Lito Lapid proposed the translation of the Senate Rules of Procedure into the National Language. The majority leader then, Sen. Vicente “Tito Sen” Sotto 3rd supported Lapid’s proposal. Tito Sen even went further by saying he was amenable to the use of the National Language in one or two plenary sessions each month. Unfortunately, that proposal was a mere shot in the dark. Perhaps, had it been implemented, we would have seen more of Lapid in plenary debates. On second thought, is that really unfortunate?

    Incidentally, some may downplay him as a mere comedian, but Tito Sen is one of the more compelling speakers in the National Language that I’ve ever heard. His wit and oratory prowess are among the best. Of course, I need not mention here his mastery of parliamentary procedures. He couldn’t be majority leader for nothing.

    Let me digress a little. Tito Sen is very popular but he had been mistaken for his brother “Vic” a number of times during campaigns because of his first name. Once, while campaigning in Naga, Cebu, Tito Sen was hugged and kissed on the cheeks by a sweet young thing who shrieked “Ang guwapo talaga ni Vic! (Vic is truly handsome!)”

    Tito Sen immediately corrected her by stressing the distinction between him and his brother Vic: “Si Tito, may bigote; si Vic,wala. Si Tito, i-isa ang asawa; si Vic, marami ang asawa.” (Tito has a moustache; Vic has none. Tito has only one wife; Vic has many.)”

    National candidates use the National Language in their campaigns because it’s understood almost everywhere. I suspect its use has become so prevalent that it’s now supplanting some languages. A nephew from Toronto, for instance, was surprised when he returned to his birthplace, Barangay Mapangpang in Lupao, Nueva Ecija: no children there was talking in Ilocano. He talked with the children in Ilocano and they answered in the National Language—with strong Ilocano accent of course!

    The increasing popularity of the National Language is a direct result of its use as medium of instruction in the elementary grades. You could also throw in the contributions of radio and television. Did you notice that English words are pronounced in broadcast media just like how ordinary Filipinos (or is it Pilipinos?) would normally do? Unfortunately, this has also solidified the inability of majority of us to pronounce “f, v, and th.” “French fries” is usually pronounced as “Prents fries,” “Francis” as

    “Pransis,” “Victor”as “Bictor,” “lengua franca” as “lengua prangka, etc.
    Oh yes, the people from Famfanga have no such problem with “f.”

    Unfortunately, they have a problem with “h” and in putting it where it shouldn’t be, as in “am and hegg.” (Just kidding, boss Fred dela Rosa and Marlen Ronquillo.)



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