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The Tagalog language has developed a unique vocabulary since its inception from its Malayo-Polynesian roots. The influence of the Spanish, Nahuatl, Sanskrit, Arabic, English, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian languages can be seen in the Tagalog language. According to the linguistic expert Jose Villa Panganiban, "of the 30,000 root words in the Tagalog language, there are close to 5,000 from Spanish, 3,200 from Malay and Chamorro, 1,500 from English, 1,500 from both Hokkien (Min Nan) and Yueh Chinese dialects, 300 from Sanskrit, 200 from Arabic, and a few hundred altogether from other languages". Some linguists claim that borrowings from Malay and Chamorro cannot be ascertained at this time, as words from the Old Austronesian language and those from Malay and Chamorro are still ambiguous and too similar to be distinguished.
Spanish has bequeathed the most loan words to Tagalog. According to linguists, Spanish (5,000) has even surpassed Malayo–Indonesian (3,500) in terms of loan words borrowed. About 40% of informal conversational Tagalog is practically made up of Spanish loanwords. An example is the sentence below, wherein Spanish–derived words are in italics (original in parentheses):
"Puwede (Puede) ba akong umupo sa silya (silla) sa tabi ng bintana (ventana) habang nasa biyahe (viaje) tayo sa eroplano (aeroplano)?" ("May I sit in the chair near the window during our voyage in the aeroplane?")
Most have retained their original spelling, pronunciation, and definition such as basura, delikadesa ("delicadeza" in Spanish), and demokrasya ("democracia"), or as in the examples, a close, indigenised variant.
Others have morphed like 'ku(ha)nin' (Sp.: 'coja' + Tag. '–nin'), which has inconspicuously developed into another pure Tagalog–sounding word. Another one is maamong kordero (from Sp. amo & cordero). Combined together, it conveys the description of a meek, tame, harmless human with Tagalog adjective prefix and suffix added. The compound word batya't palo–palo, a must word in the laundry business where many Spanish words proliferate. The words were taken from the Spanish batea for "washing tub" and palo for "stick" or "beater", something a typical Filipino might think had no Spanish provenance at all. Others are umpisa (empieza), pulubi (pobre), pader (pared).
Some have acquired an entirely new meaning, such as kursonada (corazonada, originally meaning '"hunch"), which means "object of desire"; sospechoso is the "suspicious person" and not the "suspect" as in the original; imbyerna (invierno) once meant 'winter' but is now a word for "bummer"; insekto ("insecto"), which still means "insect" but also refers to a "pesty clownish person"; or even sigue, a Spanish word for "continue" or "follow", which is now widely understood to mean "all right" or "go ahead".
Others use Spanish prefixes and/or suffixes, combined from Tagalog or other languages, without which the word can not be completed and convey its meaning. For example, pakialamero (from Tag. pakialam, "to meddle" and the Sp. suffix –ero, masculine subject); same as majongero ("mahjong", a Chinese word and the Sp. suffix –ero). Daisysiete is a corruption and portmanteau of the English "daisy" and the Spanish diecisiete ("seventeen"), now meaning a sweet and sexually desirable underaged (below 18, hence the number) female. Bastusing katawán (Sp.: basto & Tag.: katawan) is an example of a two-word term for a bombshell body.
Even after the Spanish era, Tagalog is still being influenced by Spanish as new words are coined, albeit along its own terms, viz., alaskadór ("Alaska" + Sp. suffix '–ador'); barkada (from Sp.: barca,"boat" to "clique"); bérde ("verde"="green", nuanced to "toilet humour" or "blue joke"); which are not readily understood in Spain or any Latin American country. In a strange twist, even if Filipinos have a chance to Tagalized words using foreign words, currently English—their most accessible influence—they coin words in a uniquely Hispanizing way i.e. "boksingero" (from Eng. "boxing") instead of using the Spanish "boxeador". Or "basketbolista" (from Eng. "basketball"), instead of borrowing from Spanish "baloncesto" to make it say "baloncestista" or "baloncestador" (although basketball is "básquetbol" in many Latin American countries).
Here are the examples of Spanish–derived Tagalog words in the following format: Word (Etymology – Original Definition/s if different from Nuanced Definition. = Derivative Definition if Compound Words) – Nuanced Definition. Shared Definition precedes Nuanced Definition if both exist.
|Kumusta||Cómo estás||How are you? (general greeting)|
English has been used in everyday Tagalog conversation. This kind of conversation is called Taglish. English words borrowed by Tagalog are mostly modern and technical terms, but English words are also used for short usage (many Tagalog words translated from English are very long) or to avoid literal translation and repetition of the same particular Tagalog word. English makes the second largest vocabulary of Tagalog after Spanish. In written language, English words in a Tagalog sentence are written as they are, but they are sometimes written in Tagalog phonetic spelling. Here are some examples:
Also note, that Filipinos do a lot of code-switching. Which means, using English terms and phrases in the middle of a speech/conversation done in Tagalog.
English: "My birthplace is in Manila, Philippines. It is very hot but still quite nice over there."
Tagalog: "Ang pinanganakán ko ay sa Maynila, Pilipinas. Ang init-init doón, pero maganda naman."
Code-switched: ''Ang birthplace ko ay sa Manila, in the Philippines. It is very hot doón pero maganda."
Filipinos politicians and celebrities are known for code-switching, as are celebrities. A severe, oft-ridiculed form of code-switching is Konyo English.
Filipino language and culture is very similar to that of Guam and Micronesia. Filipino languages are very similar to Chamorro, the spoken language in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Chamorro people are closely related to Filipinos and there are many similar words in the languages. The majority Austronesian people of the Philippines are culturally closer to the Chamorro people, rather than Ethnic Malays, although the Filipinos have received influence from India and Arabia (because the Philippines is geographically closer to Asia) which also links them with Malaysia and Indonesia. However, Filipino and Chamorro also have thousands of loanwords from Spanish which add more cognates and bring the cultures closer. The close relationship between Filipinos and Guamanians was expressed by governor of Guam: Ricardo Boradallo who said: "The Filipinos are akin to the Guamanians historically, culturally and linguistically, more so than any other people in Asia". These are only a few words from the thousands of cognates between the two languages.
Tagalog is an Austronesian language and a close cousin of both Malay varieties in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Because of this close relationship, there are many cognates between the two languages stretching back many millennia. Many cognates were re-borrowed into in the language when Old Malay became the official language of trade and documentation during the pre-Hispanic era of Philippine history, as evidenced by the Laguna Copperplate Inscription of 900 AD and accounts of Pigafetta at the time of the Spanish arrival in the country 5 centuries later. This is a small sample of the thousands of cognates present between Tagalog and Malay.
|Tagalog word||Malay word||Meaning|
|Ako||Aku||I (first person)|
|Kita||Kita||We (1st person dual, i.e. "you and I")|
|Kami||Kami||We (excludes addressee)|
|Tanghali||Tengah + hari||Afternoon|
|Dalamhati||Dalam + hati||Grief|
|Luwalhati||Luar + hati||Glory|
|Bathala||Bathala||A supreme deity in Philippine mythology|
|Diwata||Devata||Fairy, nymph, god|
|Beranda||Veranda||Roofed open gallery
During the time when several Kingdoms existed in the area of what is now Luzon(in reference to the Luzon Empire or Kingdom of Tondo), diplomatic ties were established with the Ming dynasty. Contact also reached as far as the Sultan of Sulu. As a result, many Chinese words were adopted, such as:
During the era of several kingdoms in Luzon and the Visayas, trade was established with other Southeast- and East Asian countries (especially Japan and China). Borrowings from Japanese were most likely from this trade, such as:
Tagalog gained Nahuatl words through Spanish and with the galleon trade with Mexico during the Hispanic era.
|Ensaymada||Ensaïmada||Ensaimada||A kind of pastry|
|Kamatsile||Cuanhmochitl||Guamáchili||Sweet tamarind or Manila tamarind|
|Sayote||Chayotli||Chayote||A Mexican squash|
|Singkamas||Xicamatl||Jicama||A sweet root crop (water chestnut)|
|Sapote||Tzapotl||Chico sapote||Sapodilla, now called Chico or Tsiko. However the word Zapote remained in the minds of Filipinos as a place i.e. Zapote, Cavite|
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