Ilokano Language, 4

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The Ilokano Language:

History, Culture, and Structure

Series 4, Revisiting the Ilokano Syllabary

By Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Ph.D.

Program Coordinator, Ilokano and Philippine Drama and Film

University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Honolulu, Hawai’i

(This is a series of essays on the Ilokano language. The series—to number 54—hopes to explore, together with the creative writers, the readers, and the Ilokano language and culture teachers, some of the productive ways by which we can explain the structure of the Ilokano language, and the history and culture of the Ilokano people that are embedded in that language. In this age of renewed calls for a Philippine discourse on diversity and multiculturalism as framework for nation building and development, a critical reflection on the Ilokano language is not only urgent but also necessary. This version does away with the scientific format but uses instead the popular version, but with references included within the text so that those who would like to verify the data may have a clue where to look for them. A parallel series in Ilokano is being prepared and will be made available for dissemination by the end of 2008.)

There has been some confusion on Ilokano orthography in the recent years, with proposals to revisit the kind of ‘popularized’ way of writing of the language that started with Bannawag and other printed media, but veritably initiated by creative writers who had access to the means for popular literary expressions, including the drama form, the ‘komedia’ and the zarzuela. From a diachronic perspective, we can trace these attempts towards the ‘modernization’ of the orthography with the 60’s that somehow traces its roots in the 50’s, with the initial movement for a new orthographic form of the language in the 40’s. One of the small acts to such an attempt is the initiative to gradually phase out of the cumbersome ‘quet’ and ‘quen’ that both saw their abbreviation into ‘qt’ and ‘qn’, respectively, in some of the writings of the creative writers and the letters of people that invariably began with that formulaic first sentence greeting, to wit, “Yaman quen ragsac ti adda kenca no dumanon ti napnuan iliw a suratco cadacayo amin a sangapada. Sapay ta pia quen caradcad ti adda coma amin cadacayo quet babaen ti bendision ti Apo a Namarsua quet taginayonenna coma ti pia quen caradcadyo. Quet no dacami met ti incayo damagen, pagyamanmi met iti Apo ta salun-at quen kired met ti adda kadakami a siiliw amin cadakayo—Thanks and joy be yours upon receipt of my letter to you, a letter filled with the feeling of missing you all. I hope that health and strength are with you and through the blessing of God the Creator may He continue to give you health and strength. And if you wish to ask how we are, we thank the Lord for the health and strength that we have, all of us who miss you all.” This formulaic salutation was common in Laoag in the 60’s and 70’s when the more popular forms of communication were the letter and the radio, and for serious matters, the telegram that was as economic as today’s text messaging except that it was only one way unlike the capability of the short messaging system for a continuing, almost endless to-and-fro of messages that border on the inane to the zany.

A rare book authored by Conchita Valdez, was published in Honolulu, Hawai’i presumably right after the Second World War. The book, “Combined Love Letters in English and Ilocano,” does not bear any year of printing but the letters bear the years spanning 1929 to 1946. Dedicating it to General Gregorio del Pilar, “the most romantic as well as the most heroic of all the officers of the Philippine Revolution” according to the author, the book contains the use of the ‘ken’ in its ‘k’ form and has dropped the references to the ‘q’ for the ‘k’ sound altogether, as was the custom of the previous period. We must understand that based on the dates of the sample letters, the printing of the third edition which is in my possession, is probably after the Second World War. The book’s reference to S.S. Maunawili, the last ship that would bring the last batch of workers from the Philippines to the plantations of Hawai’i, suggests that the “Letters” could have been printed in 1946 or a bit later. But we must understand that this book that I have is the third edition, which explains the earlier letters bearing the year 1929. Says the foreword in Ilokano, “Pakauna iti baro a pannakaideppelna”: “Nainayon iti daytoy a baro a pannakideppelna, dagiti sumagmamano a naaramid kalpasan ti gubat, gubat a kadangkukan pay laeng a napasamak ditoy a lubong. Dagiti binalayan ni ayat ditoy Hawai’i, isuda a naipusing, iti saan laeng a lasag no di pay gapu iti saandan a pannakapagsursurat kas bunga ti gubat, a nanguram itoy lubong manipud idi Diciembre 1941 agingga iti pannakaluk-at ti Filipinas idi 1946, adda a masarakan ti katulad sursuratda kadagiti binulong daytoy a pagbasaan…. (Included in this new edition are several letters made after the war, the most atrocious war that happened in this world. For those who have fallen in love here in Hawai’i, those who were weaned away, not only in the flesh but also because they had not been able to write as a result of the war that set the world on fire from December 1941 until the liberation of the Philippines in 1946, here they find a template of their letters on the pages of this reading material….” The English preface, not an exact translation of the Ilokano version, says: “The book was written to meet the peculiar situations in which young Filipino lovers find themselves in Hawai’i, Amerika and Guam. Often the girl friends are thousands of miles away across the sea, in their barrios or neighboring towns in the Philippines. To write them is a problem, and to get them to consent to come to Hawai’i or America, once they succeed in their pursuit to love and be loved is another problem….”

The first letter of March 10, 1929 says: “Miss Maria Bumanglag, Ipakpakaunak met ken ka iti disso a napatak, a nanipod pay idi damo a pannakayammo-ammom kaniak ken apaman a ginuyogymo toy conciensiak a tulongan ka iti tarigagayam, babaen ti panangkitak kadagiti gagayyemko timmauden toy nasam-it a kalikagum a sika koma ti mapagasatan ken mabalangatan a tumugaw iti trono ni dayaw.” The author’s translation runs: “But to be frank with you, in the beginning when you first asked me to help you see my friends in behalf of your candidacy I had only a disinterested desire for you to sit on the throne amidst the applause and admiration of the multitude and this was the reason of my help and sacrifice.” The point of the matter here is that if it were true that the year 1929 was the time the letter as a template for the lover letter-writing pursuits of love-starved Ilokano lovers in the plantations, then we can go back to that year as the beginning of the getting away from the Hispanicized rendition of the ‘ken’ and ‘ket’, two of the most easily spotted ‘indigenous’ words of the Ilokano language that admitted representation in writing using the ‘q’.

These issues reflect the kind of a syllabary the Ilokanos had prior to the coming of the Spanish colonizers. That long book, as copied out in full by Marcelino Foronda in his book “Dallang: An Introduction to Philippine Literature in Ilokano and Other Essays,” bears the “Libro a Naisuratan amin ti bagas/ti Doctrina Christiana/nga naisurat iti Libro ti Cardinal a agnagan Belarmino, ket inacu ti P. Fr. Francisco Lopez/padre a Agustin iti Siansamtoy/Ad dandam Scientiam Salu/ti plebes ejus/Cant. Bach.” Foronda says in his note that this book is a translation by Francisco Lopez of the catechetical work of Cardinal Bellarmino, which saw its first printing in 1620, an extant copy of which is found at the Lopez Memorial Museum in Pasay City. Foronda also says that a latter version bearing the 1621, as the year of publication was the first known version before the 1620 version was discovered. We note here that the title of the 1620 version as copied out by Foronda in his note uses the ‘ket’ in the ‘k’ form and not in the ‘q’ as was the custom found in many documents during the longer period of colonization. However, the 1621 version referred to by Rubino in his discussion of the Ilokano syllabary, “an Indic syllabary similar to that used by Tagalog speakers,” has this title with the ‘q’ in the ‘quet’: “Doctrina Cristiana (Libro a naisuratan amin ti bagas ti Doctrina Cristiana nga naisurat iti libro ti cardenal agnagan Belarmino quet inaon ti Fr. Francisco Lopes, padre a San Agustin iti sinasantoy).” We note here the orthographic changes in the following words: Christiana-Cristiana, ket-quet, and Siansamtoy-sinasantoy.

Using these are samples to get into the bottom of that difficult task of writing the Ilokano language today—a real problem, indeed—with the lack of an honest-to-goodness body to propose a standardized form of the language’s orthography—and now, its grammar, we can deduce this clearly: that while there was—there is—the Ilokano syllabary, it has not presented itself as capable of reflecting critically the changes of the Ilokano language as a result of its continuing contacts with other languages including the duty to reflect the various opportunities for language development as needed by the speech community of Ilokanos. This is not to invite a cynical, even pessimistic and dismissive view, as some of the uninformed scholars and researchers tend to do, that holds that there is not yet a ‘correct’ form of writing the language and that there is not yet ‘a legitimate rendering’ of its grammatical structure. This is certainly not true, as I pointed out in our workshop at the Mariano Marcos State University in July 2007 when, in that workshop, someone remarked that there is not yet a standard Ilokano grammar. Such a reckless remark from people who should be in the know ought not to be taken for granted but must be used as a battleground for reminding people that the Ilokano language has since have its various forms of writing and that it does have its ‘standard’ grammar, however inchoate this is. A review of the literature of those who had worked on the Ilokano language tells us that there has been serious researches since the beginning of the 19th century, not to mention the work of preservation, however fragmented and flawed, by the friars and other members of the religious institutions across the Ilokano colonial history.

To understand how we decide on the orthography, it is important that we understand the history of the sounds of the Ilokano language in the beginning, how these sounds were represented in writing through the Ilokano syllabary, how the language got into contact with other languages, hence the borrowing, and how the old form of pronunciation and writing resulting from this contact and borrowing created a deficit, and thus, the need to open up the phonetic and orthographic system to these challenges.

Rubino, in “Ilocano: Ilokano-English/English-Ilocano Dictionary and Phrasebook,” reproduced the Ilokano syllabary based on the Doctrina Christiana and from there we see the three vocoids (a, e-i, o-u) and the 14 contoids (ba, ka, da, ga, nga, la, ma, na, pa, ha, sa, ta, va, ya). A return to these representations of these native sounds reveals to us the kind of mind operative in the early form of Ilokano. We see that from this fundamental form of the syllabary, it would soon grow to include other words, and other sounds, including the need to adjust the syllabary to reflect the changes due to the linguistic and cultural contact with the colonizers and other socio-economic forces.

(To be continued.)

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Ilokano Language, 5

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The Ilokano Language:

History, Culture, and Structure

 

Series 5, Lessons Learned from the Ilokano Syllabary

 

 

By Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Ph.D.

    Program Coordinator, Ilokano and Philippine Drama and Film

    University of Hawai’i at Manoa

    Honolulu, Hawai’i

 

(This is a series of essays on the Ilokano language. The series—to number 54—hopes to explore, together with the creative writers, the readers, and the Ilokano language and culture teachers, some of the productive ways by which we can explain the structure of the Ilokano language, and the history and culture of the Ilokano people that are embedded in that language. In this age of renewed calls for a Philippine discourse on diversity and multiculturalism as framework for nation building and development, a critical reflection on the Ilokano language is not only urgent but also necessary. This version does away with the scientific format but uses instead the popular version, but with references included within the text so that those who would like to verify the data may have a clue where to look for them. A parallel series in Ilokano is being prepared and will be made available for dissemination by the end of 2008.)

 

The story of the 2006 Nakem Conference, initially as what it name implies, is that of putting up a centennial conference to honor the plantation workers, many of them Ilokanos, who came to Hawai’i since 1906 to eke out a life here on the premise that life in this land would be a bit better than the one our Ilokano people had got, our people who formed part of what we could call, in broad anthropological terms, the Ilokano nation. Nakem, of course, has since grown as a kind of an intellectual, aesthetic, cultural, and educational movement, with advocates coming from the ranks of the best brains the Ilokano nation can offer, with these advocates not only coming from the Philippines but in other places including those who have migrated to the United States, to Hawai’i in particular.

 

But the story of Nakem is replete with historical, cultural, and linguistic lessons which I wish to document here as it concerns with the lessons that we can draw from our act to claim and re-claim the Ilokano syllabary as our contribution to the cultural and intellectual history of the Philippines. The brainwashing that continues to occur in the Philippine education system that teaches only a ‘victor’s’ perspective of Philippine culture and society—and the hyper-valuation that this brainwashing does, for instance, of the culture, language and history of the center which is fundamentally a Manila-centric/Tagalog-centric view of things Philippine—has (a) substantially erased the basic multicultural and multilingual character of the Philippine nation and (b) permitted the systematic forgetting of the liberation agendum for the evolution of a pluralist society. In the erasures that happened in history and which erasures that continue to happen, other cultural and linguistic expressions have relegated to footnotes, if lucky, with only the Tagalog-Manila world view being recognized as the legitimate one, this world view having been accorded a ‘national’ and ‘nationalist’ status while the rest of those other cultures and languages are only ‘regional’ and worse, ‘regionalistic.’ The 2008 Conference on the Filipino as a Global Language put together by the Tagalog Program of the University of Hawai’i and participated in by many Tagalog scholars and researchers and advocates of the unexamined ‘national language’ carried with it, as part of its goal, the idea that a conference that talks about the ‘global Filipino language’ will avoid ‘regionalism.’ Such presumptuous claims are not new. It has been around for almost eighty years. 

 

The ruckus on the linguistic and cultural superiority claims of the 2007 film of Jose Javier Reyes, “Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo” is another example of the ‘massification’—the mass production—of the Filipino mind, with its penchant for racist remarks that downplays the contribution of other ethnolinguistic groups and valorizes only the Tagalog view of things, not to mention the continued valorization of English at the expense of the indigenous languages of the Philippines. As written by Dr. Joey Dacudao for the “Western Visayas Informer,” the film, one of the entries of the Manila Film Festival, with the festival drawing a crowd of multilingual peoples of the country, there are these uncalled-for remarks of the mother of a child, to wit: (a) “Ay, naku, Ma, nakuha niya ‘yon sa yaya natin. Sinabihan na naming si Susan na huwag niyang Binibisaya si Rafa. Dapat Tagalog” (Oh, my, Ma, she got it from her maid. We have always been telling Susan not to speak with Rafa in Bisaya. It should be in Tagalog.” and (b) “Hayaan niyo na sa eskwelahan matutunan ‘yon, Ma. Dapat Tagalog kasi Pinoy ang anak namin eh (We will just let her learn that in school, Ma. It should be Tagalog because our child is Pinoy).”

 

These seemingly disparate statements are not by reason of accidents of history nor of historical lapses of national heroes. Nor are they lapses in judgment of those who are supposed know of the redeeming truths of pluralism, as has always been the goal of the various ethnolinguistic groups of the country even prior to the naming of these islands as the Philippines by the colonizers. To illustrate this point, at the time that we were in the throes of executing the 2006 Nakem Conference, I had the good fortune of (a) naming the conference and (b) conceptualizing its visual representation—a kind of a logo—by including boldly asking an artist to use the Ilokano syllabary to spell out the word ‘Nakem’ but not to totally follow the way it was supposed to be written in either the 1620 or 1621 version of the Doctrina Christiana. I told the artist to spell out all the letters of the word, and at the terminal letter, put in that mark, a plus sign on the ‘M’ so it would not admit any vowel sound following the behavior of the syllabary. The logo has been retained in the many documents of the conference, including its website. 

 

This approach to the syllabary created a commentary from at least three people who had been themselves students of the Tagalog alibata, with one Tagalog teacher even telling me outrightly that ‘Nakem’ as written following the Tagalog syllabary is read as ‘Naakeem’ and not ‘Nakem.’ The commentary was correct, following the Tagalog rule, and following as well a fossilized view of that syllabary but it did not take into consideration the experience of the Ilokanos insofar as their own syllabary was concerned, even if the similarities between these two syllabaries are strikingly close. It did not take into consideration as well our need to ‘renew’ the syllabary and make it work in accord with our new purpose linked up with our own contribution to the struggle for cultural and linguistic democracy in the Philippines. My decision to tinker with the Ilokano syllabary was for a purpose: (a) to make it known to Ilokano scholars, researchers, teachers, and writers that we had our own syllabary, a knowledge that is not popular and thus requiring a strategy for popularization and (b) to make a symbol of this indigenous experience of the Ilokano form of writing in order to resist forgetting—to resist the massification of the minds of the peoples of the Philippines by putting a premium on the unique contributions of the other ethnolinguistic groups.

 

The old form of explaining the syllabary was that the contoids were already automatically sounded off with the ‘a’ to them, such as the contoid ‘N’ admitting already an ‘a’ phone, with a dot on top of the ‘N’ to account an ‘e-i’ phone, and a dot below that ‘n’ contoid to account the ‘o-u’ phone. Such an approach, however, was understood when the Ilokano language had not had much of the contact and change as it has prior to the Spanish colonization. The addition of a ‘plus’ sign at the end of a contoid, for instance, is an arbitrary mark—an invention of a Spanish grammarian—to account that a contoid is a terminal contoid and thus, does not admit any more phone after it, especially a vocoid.

 

Two other scholars came back to me to ask about my tinkering with the ‘sacred’ Ilokano syllabary. I came back to them to them to remind them that their notion of the syllabary adopts a fossilized view while my own opens up to the possibility that language—any language for that matter—must open up to the possibility of change and to the difficult challenges that attend to that change. This simply means that we need to recognize where the Ilokano language comes from—from its Indic, Southeast Asian form—but must also recognize that this same language cannot close itself to the changes occurring in the history of a people owning it.   

 

 

Ilokano Language, 6

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The Ilokano Language:

History, Culture, and Structure

 

Series 6, Transcending the Ilokano Syllabary

 

 

By Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Ph.D.

    Program Coordinator, Ilokano and Philippine Drama and Film

    University of Hawai’i at Manoa

    Honolulu, Hawai’i

 

(This is a series of essays on the Ilokano language. The series—to number 54—hopes to explore, together with the creative writers, the readers, and the Ilokano language and culture teachers, some of the productive ways by which we can explain the structure of the Ilokano language, and the history and culture of the Ilokano people that are embedded in that language. In this age of renewed calls for a Philippine discourse on diversity and multiculturalism as framework for nation building and development, a critical reflection on the Ilokano language is not only urgent but also necessary. This version does away with the scientific format but uses instead the popular version, but with references included within the text so that those who would like to verify the data may have a clue where to look for them. A parallel series in Ilokano is being prepared and will be made available for dissemination by the end of 2008.)

 

In accounting the Ilokano language at present, there is the obligation to look back at what happened in the past and understand the challenges it was confronted with across the history of the people of the Ilokos nation and across the history of the political invention that was eventually called the Philippine nation. The 1620 version of the “Doctrina Cristiana” as reproduced by Paul Morrow, one of the foremost researchers on what is generally termed as ‘baybayin’ that includes all the other Philippine writing systems, tells much about the Ilokano language that the Spaniards saw when they came uninvited. The word ‘baybay’ itself, Morrow notes, means “spelling,” the word obviously a cover term that makes use of the Tagalog category. The Ilokano experience, however, does not say the same thing, as the writing system, and eventually the literature, is covered under the term ‘kur-itan,’ a term heard more commonly in the northern part of the Ilokos nation while the southern part uses ‘kurditan’.

 

The reference to the invention of the ‘alibata’ by Dean Paul Verzosa of the University of Manila in 1914 does not reflect an indigenous expression by the Tagalog of their alphabet. Rather, Morrow adds, it was a summing up of Verzosa of the alif, ba and ta, said to be “the first letters in the Arabic dialect of Maguindanao.”

 

These lessons from history are instructive as they point to the many errors and miscalculations that need correction at present in keeping with the changed circumstances of the more than 170 languages of the country, with but two—Tagalog and English—getting all the necessary government support for these to flourish. And with the calculated renaming of Tagalog to Pilipino, and eventually Filipino, the other Philippine languages, Ilokano included, will be doomed to go the way of extinction if efforts are not directed with conviction and commitment to their preservation and promotion.    

 

But while we are proud to point out that the Ilokanos have their kur-itan, it is not sufficient to simply put it as an exhibit of the Ilokano people, an exhibit that somehow fossilizes the artifacts of our history and our ability to participate in that history.

 

We need to acknowledge this kur-itan to remind ourselves of the pride that we need to keep on instilling among us and to the future generation. To realize that we have the kur-itan to articulate the very intimate thoughts and feelings and memories of our people is a blessing indeed, a blessing from the ancestors, a benediction from the anitos of our people, a digest of a mind that is sophisticated enough to be able to devise ways to fix its meditations about many things.

 

With this kur-itan, we must have written something, perhaps on leaves, bamboos, and barks of trees, as some historians would tell us. But we must also remember that the Ilocos ‘nation’ had by then a long history of trade relationship with other kingdoms and civilizations, including China. By this time, paper has been used, and it is logical to assume that the Ilokano nation must used paper as well.

 

This is, of course, a conjecture that remains to be seen but the fragment of the Doctrina Cristiana of 1620, with the kur-itan on the left part of the page, and the translation into the Roman form of writing on the right, suggest so much, even the ability of a people to write with a certain degree of sophistication. The movement, however, from the kur-itan form to the Roman form, both in Ilokano, tells us of the need for the kur-itan to accept the necessary changes.

 

I reproduce the fragment here, as researched by Morrow, with contributions from Wolfgang Kuhl, to illustrate the deficits of the Ilokano syllabary and to argue for the need to make the syllabary up-to-par with the changes occurring in the Ilokano language at present, more than 450 years after.

 

The fragment of a prayer goes: “Iti insulat di-toy/iti dotlina kiristiana/nga isu ti lualo a kuna ti Samtoy.// Apomi Dios/isalakannakam ka-dagiti kabusolmi/iti tandaan ti Santa Kurus/iti nagan ti Ama ken anak/ken Ispiritu Santo Amen Sesus//.”

 

The Lord’s Prayer was written this way: “Amami a addaka’t sadi langit/pasantipikalmo ti naganmo/padtengmo kadakami ti paghariam/Paanugummo ti nakemmo/ditoy daga kas sadi langit/Itdem kadaka-m/iti aldao itoy ti kanenmi a patinayon a aldao/Paawane-m mu et ti utangmi a kas mu et pam met ti utangmi…”

 

The  Hail Mary runs like this: “Abe Mariya nga napnokat ti galasiya/Iti Apo a Diyos adda kenka/Sika ti nanglona nga bendita amin kadagiti babbai bendita mu et ti tu ti ammo nga si sisus” while the Holy Mary goes this way: “Santa Madiya nga ina ti diyos  ikakaasi na da mi a managbasol itoy ket tu mu et no ipapataymi amen sisus.”

 

Going through the syllabary is a ritual involving a connection to an ancient, even primal pride. It is, by far a ceremony of recognition where one has come from. At the same time, however, is that reality today that the same syllabary cannot any longer reflect that changed character and behavior of the Ilokano language.

 

From the structure of the syllabary alone, it can hardly admit a word that is not within contoid-vocoid order. The absence of some of the more contemporary phones including, for instance a contoid-vocoid-contoid-contoid-vocoid word construction would give us a hardly recognizable kur-itan. How do we write, using the syllabary, the word ‘bakka’?

 

The example of the contemporary word ‘met’, as the fragments would show, was constructed not as a contoid-vocoid-contoid, as it is today, but simply as a contoid-vocoid-vocoid-contoid (mu-et). This is exactly the same reason why the facsimile of the cover of the 1621 version of the Belarmine catechetical work bears the title, “Dotrina Christiana” as the contoid-contoid constructed presented a difficulty in the syllabary even after Lopez radically modified the Tagalog baybayin with the ‘kudlit’, the plus sign to mark off a terminal contoid so it would not admit another phone except itself.

 

To argue, for instance, that for the sake of the purity of the Ilokano language, we have to either expunge it of ‘foreign’ elements or invent from within its array of lexicon new words, as was the case in the experiments done with Tagalog, is counter-productive.  To insist that we have to go back to the syllabary in the attempt to be faithful to the collective memory of our people adds counter-productivity to the gains we have in acknowledging the richness of the Ilokano language’s contact with other languages, cultures, and civilizations.

 

When we return to the prayers, contemporary Catholics would probably have a hard time recognizing the verbal constructions, with the same difficulty in some of the unfamiliar words used such as ‘paanugummo/paanugutmo ti nakemmo.’ ‘Pasantipikalmo’ takes its cue from a Spanish borrowing, possibly ‘santificar’ (to sanctify) and then made to behave, following the behavior of an Ilokano verbal construction, as if it were an Ilokano word, thereby inaugurating a new form of borrowing.

 

The pollution of the Ilokano language, however, is a given, as it borrowed a lot from sources, such as Sankrit, Chinese, and Arabic. Some accounts of the Ilokano syllabary involved an ‘h’ phone. This leads us to question why the Ilokanization, as found in this fragment, of the word ‘Jesus’, was incorrectly rendered as ‘Sesus’.

 

The whole point, therefore, of the Ilokano syllabary is to transcend it.

 

We need to recognize it as a well of our own knowledge as a people. We need to recognize it as well as a well with limited waters and thus needing other wells to supply it with fresh waters so that it would continue to supply the Ilokano nation and people with the waters they need to sustain themselves by quenching their thirst.

 

In the 1922 “La Antigua Escritura Filipino” by Dr. Ignacio Villamor, a list was mentioned of the ethnolinguistic groups that had the indigenous form of writing such as Bikol, Bisaya, Kapampangan, Iloko, Pangasinan, and Tagalog. Three indigenous groups have been using their form of writing since pre-Spanish colonial times and continue to do so such as the Buhid of Mindoro, the Hununuo, also of Mindoro, and the Tagbanua of Palawan.  

 

So much of the Philippine syllabaries have been lost. And with this loss, a loss that is seemingly permanent is that irretrievability of a memory of the various ethnolinguistic groups of the Philippines, a memory that comes earlier than the colonial history of the country. While the reconstruction of such a memory is an ideal, we cannot, however, limit our options to that task of reconstructing a past that now fall short of the demands of the present. The point is not to forget so that we can move on.

 

This opening up of the Ilokano language, in my view, is the better road to be traversed by it as it confronts itself with the vast possibilities of its very own present and the chasing of the promise of its future. 

 

Ilokano Language, 7

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The Ilokano Language:

History, Culture, and Structure

 

Series 7, Modernizing the Ilokano Alphabet

 

 

By Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Ph.D.

    Program Coordinator, Ilokano and Philippine Drama and Film

    University of Hawai’i at Manoa

    Honolulu, Hawai’i

 

(This is a series of essays on the Ilokano language. The series—to number 54—hopes to explore, together with the creative writers, the readers, and the Ilokano language and culture teachers, some of the productive ways by which we can explain the structure of the Ilokano language, and the history and culture of the Ilokano people that are embedded in that language. In this age of renewed calls for a Philippine discourse on diversity and multiculturalism as framework for nation building and development, a critical reflection on the Ilokano language is not only urgent but also necessary. This version does away with the scientific format but uses instead the popular version, but with references included within the text so that those who would like to verify the data may have a clue where to look for them. A parallel series in Ilokano is being prepared and will be made available for dissemination by the end of 2008.)

 

There is one thing that the Ilokano must remember in the attempt to modernize his language, and by ‘modernization’, I refer to that act, willful and committed, to make his language speak him, speak about him, and open a whole new world for him even if at the same time, the same language preserves and promotes those elements and concepts that have been there for so long and yet are still productive in his pursuit of the good life. I have tried to articulate this political purpose of Ilokano modernization in a 2006 work, ‘Some Notes on the Modernization of Ilokano,’ and a 2007 version, ‘Preliminary Notes on the Modernization of Ilokano.’ In both essays included as part of the Nakem Centennial Conference proceedings, “Saritaan ken Sukisok: Discourse and Research in Ilokano Language, Culture, and Politics,” and “Essays on Ilokano and Amianan Life, Language, and Literature,” I have argued for  “the need to adapt the language to the changing needs of the times in order to account the experiences that are currently not ‘sayable’ both in oral and written form—within the context of the linguistic system of the Ilokano.”

 

Having seen cursorily that the attempt to fossilize the Ilokano language by romanticizing and idealizing its imagined glorious and glorified Hispanicized form is counter-productive as it presents a stagnant view of the language, with its misconceptions and orthographic errors, we need to go beyond the post-Hispanic form of Ilokano and account from the some kind of a genesis for a more productive perspective of this language. In discussing the historical development of the Ilokano language based on the experience of Bannawag, the long-lasting Ilokano magazine that first saw print in August 1934 and has since continued a weekly run except for a brief interlude during the Japanese regime, Gregorio Laconsay, in the ‘Introduction to Iluko Grammar’ of his 1993 dictionary “Iluko-English-Tagalog Dictionary,” writes that Bannawag “has made some innovations in its orthography and has done away with the archaic way of writing Iluko which old Ilocanos used.” The reasons for such innovations, he says, are three-fold: the innovations provide (a) economy, (b) fluency, and (c) uniformity.

 

These reasons for innovations of a language are not unique to the Ilokano language. One area of philosophy called ‘philosophy of language’ meditates on the very nature of language and suggests that language refuses to be simply a tool or an instrument but instead, according to the hermeneutists, an abode of being. In short, it is a home of a ‘who-ness’ or quiddity that is both prefiguring a sense of being and becoming at the same juncture, with being opening itself to becoming, and with becoming opening itself as well to becoming. 

 

In 1971, Ernesto Constantino came up with “Ilokano Reference Grammar” as part of the Pacific and Asian Linguistics Institute of the University of Hawai’i. In that book, he lists 17 consonants—the contoids—for the ‘modern’ Ilokano, to wit: b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, ng, p, q, r, s, t, w, w; on the other hand, he lists the five vowels—the vocoids, to wit:  a, e, i, o, u.

 

The old syllabary, as was discussed in the previous part of this work, originally recognized only three vowels, with a kind of switching mechanism for the ‘e-i’ and the ‘o-u’ while ‘a’ remains its own sound. In his 1955 “Iloko Grammar,” Morice Vanoverbergh acknowledged the character of the old Ilokano vocoids but went further to recognize a more modern way of looking at them so that in that grammar book mentioned, he listed the five vowels instead of three. Some other observers of the Ilokano language, based on the reality of the dialects particularly from places that are heavily Ilokanized and moving outside the two acknowledged language and culture centers such as Laoag and Vigan, say that there is a sixth vowel, the hard ‘e,’ a sound that is commonly heard in the Ilokanized part of Pangasinan and in the rural areas of the Ilokos. But many language scholars now understand this hard ‘e’ sound as a dialect, a variant, rather than a new vocoid since what it means is not different from what the ‘e’ (as sounded off in the English word ‘met’, for instance) in the five-vowel modern Ilokano alphabet.

 

 

Laconsay mentions a group of Ilokano linguists who proposed an Ilokano grammar and proposed twenty letters of the Ilokano alphabet: a, c, d, e, g, i, k, l, ll, m, n, ng, o, p, r, s, t, u, w, and y. The group, he says, called their proposal “Kurditan ti Samtoy,” with the term ‘kurditan’ already explained to mean the Ilokano writing system and its result, that is, its literature, and the term ‘samtoy,’ a term introduced in the discussion on the Doctrina Christiana. ‘Samtoy’ has a long history and is a contraction of the phrase ‘saomi ditoy’—our language here—and refers, according to the Belarmino account, to the Ilokano language.

 

For many years, Laconsay served as editor of Bannawag, and later on editorial director of the weeklies and tabloids published by the Liwayway Publishing Incorporated. Certainly, before he became editor, he already inherited the innovations done by a number of the editors who were aware and adept at the issues of economy, fluency, and uniformity. We must note here that these three provide some requisites to the drawing up of a framework for the modernization of the any language, and the English language went through a lot of innovations that are in accord with these requirements. Many language scholars say that one of the markers for knowing that a language is old is when its words are long. The tendency for modern languages is to be shorter and more to the point. With a circulation that runs in the thousands and the copies distributed in Northwestern Philippines and Metro Manila and abroad, particularly Hawai’i, Bannawag thus exerts a huge influence on the cultural life of the Ilokano people.

 

Bannawag, Laconsay notes, accounts the five vowels listed by Vanoverbergh; the magazine also recognizes the ‘regular’ consonants that were not borrowed but is found in the old Ilokano language such as b, d, g, h, k, l, m, n, ng, p, r, s, t, w, and y and the letters for proper nouns that are most of the time borrowed words: c, ch, f, j, n, q, v, x, and z.  

 

There have been other proposals for an approach to the revitalization, renewal, and modernization of the Ilokano language and it is at this juncture that I wish to point out some of the principles I laid down in my essay, “Preliminary Notes.”  I reiterate the claims in that essay to argue for the adoption of the Laconsay-Bannawag (the L-B form) rule of thumb, with a number of qualifications, one of which is the refusal to leave the use of the borrowed letters to account the borrowed proper nouns. For example, I would now propose to adopt the letter ‘z’ to account the word ‘zoo’ which has not translation in Ilokano and which makes its rendering as ‘su’ or other derivative impossible, obscure, and ambiguous.  I also argue that I now wish to use ‘x’ in its real ‘x’ phone/phonemic form rather than using the two-letter, phonetic equivalent, ‘ks’, for words, such ‘taxi’, ‘examen’, ‘extraordinario.’ How do we write ‘chico’ the fruit except to account it with the ‘ch’? And yet ‘chico,’ obviously, is not a proper noun. I note here that the L-B form is the same that is being followed by a number of popular and literary forms of the language including the 1996 “Ti Baro a Naimbag a Damag: Biblia, Ilokano Popular Version,” of the Philippine Bible Society. With the writers Lorenzo Tabin and Sinamar Tabin at the helm of the Ilokano translation project of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and with both translators schooled in this modern L-B form of the Ilokano language, at least as far as the alphabets are concerned, we expect a continuing popularization and standardization of this form over the long haul. The literary form of the language follows the same as well, except for those who continue to write in the old school but whose printed form would eventually be edited to conform to this tacit standard. The key concept here is tacit because of the absence of a body tasked to standardize the language, the literary form prevails, as is the case of many of the world’s languages, however artificial this form is.  With the literary form more enduring than the oral, the convention laid down in the L-B form will stay. The lexicographer and Ilokano linguist Rubino whose avant-garde work, the 2000 “Ilokano Dictionary and Grammar,” helped pushed for the consolidation of the many disparate efforts at ‘standardizing’ the Ilokano language, has followed the L-B form. His other work, the 1998/2005 “Ilocano-English/English-Ilocano Dictionary and Phrasebook” follows the same approach to writing the language.

 

From the ranks of the younger creative writers of the Ilokano language comes the proposals for modernization, to mention Roy Aragon, Jaime Agpalo, Joel Manuel, and translation scholar specializing in Spanish, Raymund Addun. All of them have come up with their own position on the need to modernize the language and have all shown us how in their various essays and creative works, in the case of the fictionists and poets Aragon, Agpalo, and Manuel. All told, there has been a dissatisfaction and disappointment in the ‘L-B’ form as currently practiced and for which reason these proposals have been drawn up.

 

My view of the issue is this: work on the 29 letters of the L-B form and around it, navigate the rules to account a more contemporary portrayal of the life and linguistic experiences of the Ilokanos, in the Ilokos, in the Philippines, and abroad. In short, it is an approach that does not any longer follow the old Tagalog with which the whole framework was initially based. I understand the resistance of some scholars about losing the Ilokano language, losing its Hispanic form, for instance, with the penchant for the ‘c’ and the ‘q’ and the ‘v’. But I understand as well the need to negotiate for what has been there, and what is existing and “accepted in most modern publications,” to borrow Rubino’s position on the Ilokano spelling system. To illustrate, I have since refused to write the name of the country in that bastardized word, “Pilipinas” that uses a Tagalog approach to its spelling. I always write it as ‘Filipinas.’ Taking a cue from the proposal of the Addun-Agpalo-Aragon-Manuel tandem, I have since written ‘Universidad ti Filipinas’, the University of the Philippines, with the ‘v’. But ‘baka’, ‘cow’, has gone on too deep in its Ilokano literary form; this is the reason why I resist its rendering into the Spanish etymology, ‘vaca’ as some would propose.

 

The clue here is this: once the word borrowed has gained currency in that form, it assumes as legitimacy as it now behaves as if it were a native lexicon. This sense of borrowing and not returning but totally owning it up is the clue to enriching as language. And one way to own it up, as is the case of  ‘baka’ is that we have made it behave like the two syllables of the Ilokano kur-itan/kurditan ‘ba’ and ‘ka’.  

 

(To be continued) 

Ilokano Language, 8

Standard

The Ilokano Language:

History, Culture, and Structure

 

Series 8, From Alphabet to History

 

 

By Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Ph.D.

    Program Coordinator, Ilokano and Philippine Drama and Film

    University of Hawai’i at Manoa

    Honolulu, Hawai’i

 

(This is a series of essays on the Ilokano language. The series—to number 54—hopes to explore, together with the creative writers, the readers, and the Ilokano language and culture teachers, some of the productive ways by which we can explain the structure of the Ilokano language, and the history and culture of the Ilokano people that are embedded in that language. In this age of renewed calls for a Philippine discourse on diversity and multiculturalism as framework for nation building and development, a critical reflection on the Ilokano language is not only urgent but also necessary. This version does away with the scientific format but uses instead the popular version, but with references included within the text so that those who would like to verify the data may have a clue where to look for them. A parallel series in Ilokano is being prepared and will be made available for dissemination by the end of 2008.)

 

 

Like many languages that have stood the test of time even if, from a diachronic sense, so many changes have happened, that, as was shown in the fragments of the Catholic prayers we quoted from the Doctrina Christiana of Belarmino we could hardly recognize what the words mean, Ilokano, even until now, continues to be faced with the realities of social change, and in extensu, language change. The forces for such change are coming from all over: the media, the opening up of the world of the Ilokano to the hegemonic consequences of the cultural and linguistic imposition of the language and culture from the center, the exposure of the Ilokano overseas contract workers to the languages and cultures of the international community, and the indirect effect of cultural assimilation of expatriate, exiles, and émigrés to the native language. English, the language of the controlling domains of Philippine society, continues to enrich or pollute, depending on how you view it, the Ilokano language, as all the other languages of the various ethnolinguistic groups of the country. We include this phenomenon of enrichment or pollution when we begin to account the impact of Tagalog, also known as P/Filipino, on our everyday transactions that involve language.

 

Having decided on the alphabet, our next goal is to offer a revisiting of the structure of the language by taking some samples of older text and compare the same with the texts of the present. I cite, as our first sample, the 1973 Ilokano translation of Santiago Fonacier of the first paragraph of Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere,” which he translated as “Di Nak Sagiden.” The Ilokano text runs like this: “Iti arinunos ti Oktubre, ni Don Santiago de los Santos, nga addadda a nagnaganen dagiti tattatao iti Kapitan Tiago, nagsaganan iti maysa a daya a pangrabii, ket numan pay iti la daydi a malem ti inna pannakapaipakdaar, iso a di na kadawyan, ison ti sarsaritaen dagiti amin a tattao sadi Binondo, ka dagiti sabsabali pay nga ar-arrabal, ket uray payen sadi Intramuros. Ni Kapitan Tiago, ka dagidi nga al-aldaw, iso ti kaangkeran nga agpadaya, ket paggaammom a ti balay na, a kas met ti ili na, saan na a ripkan ti rungan na iti uray si asino man, malaksid iti panagtagilako wenno iti panunot a baro wenno natured.”

 

The first paragraph of the 1963 Ilokano translation of  Rizal’s “El Filibusterismo” (“Ti Pilibusterismo”), on the other hand, says: “Maysa bigat ti bulan ti Disiembre, ti bapor TABO sursurongenna a sisusulit ti nagsikkusikko nga ayos ti karayan Pasig, nga aduda dagiti simmakay kenkuana nga agturong iti pangukuman a La Laguna. Ti bapor kita na ti nabungtog, nganngani nagbukel a kas iti tabo, isu a nagtaudan ti nagan na, nalaos a nagrugit, numan pay napintaan iti puraw, nabannayat ken nadagsen, iti pannakagagara nan iti in-inayad a pannagna. Nupay kasta, kaay-ayo dagiti tattao sadiay, nalabit gapu iti nagan na a Pilipino, wenno gapo ta addaan kadagiti gagangay a kabkababalin dagiti banbanag sadiay, kasla maysa a balligi iti pannakibakal iti irarang-ay, maysa a bapor a di met bapor a naminpinsan, maysa a kameng a di agsukat, saan a nasayaat, ngem di met mabalin a susiken, ket no kas ta kayatna a makuna a naayat met iti irarang-ay, umanayen ti pannakaparabaw ti daan a pinta na.”

 

There are, certainly, grammatical lapses in both these translation, as there are mistakes in the translation strategy adopted by the translator, Santiago Fonacier. We see, for instance, that basic inability of the translation to capture the fundamental structure of the Ilokan language, which is summarized by Rubino, in “Ilokano Dictionary and Grammar,” as: “(The Ilokano language), like its sister Philippine languages, is a predicate-initial language with a complex, head-marking, highly pre-fixing morphology.” If we go back to that translation, we sense right away a failure in coming to terms with the fact that the Ilokano language cannot be made to behave the way Spanish behaves, and more so in the kind of Spanish being used, for literary works, during the time of Jose Rizal. We see, for instance, as a result, that almost ‘illiterate’ construction of an Ilokano language that we cannot recognize if we compare it with the kind of literary language we used at the present.

 

We see this same mistake in the 1980 “Dagiti Letra Iti Ilokano/The Ilokano Alphabet” written by Fe Albano MacLean for the Hawai’i Bilingual/Bicultural Education Project of  the State of Hawai’i Department of Education. In the “Pakauna” is the following: “Daytoy ti Libro ‘Dagiti Letra iti Ilokano’ nga inaramid ti Hawaii Bilingual/Bicultural Education Project. /Ti wagas nga inusar a mangiparang iti tunggal letra ti Ilokano ket babaen ti panangusar iti kultura ti Ilokano ket ti panagbiag na. Mangted daytoy iti ubing ti napateg a gundaway a mangusar iti kabukbukodan na a kultura iti baro a padas na iti panagadal. Makatulong pay iti ubing a makasursuro maipanggep iti bukod na a kultura kabayatan ti panagpapigsa na iti nasayaat a kapampanunotan iti bagi na./ Babaen kadagitoy a padas, nadardaras ti panagsursuro ti ubing iti Ingles ken kasta met a nadardaras ti pannakaawat na iti adalen iti Ingles.” (“’The Ilokano Alphabet’ book was developed by Hawai’i Bilingual/Bicultural Education Project./The approach used is introducing each letter of the Ilokano alphabet through meaningful association with the Ilokano culture and life-style. This link with familiar patterns provides the learner with a valuable opportunity to relate his cultural heritage to new learning experiences and in the process, the learner gains knowledge of his ethnic background which hopefully strengthens which strengthening his self-concept./Through these experiences the learner will make a smoother transition to the English language with the ultimate goal of achieving optimum in learning instruction in English.”) We soon realize the age-old, even archaic view of the Ilokano language even by those very teachers who are supposed to know how their own language ought to critically reflect their own experiences, even forgetting that there were other letters apart from the twenty ( a, b, k, d, e, g, h, i, l, m, n, ng, o, p, r, s, t, u, w, y) that they presented in that book. Those who are schooled in the Lope K. Santos’ Tagalog grammar, the ‘balarila,’ would recall how these same letters of the Ilokano alphabet are the exact replica of the Tagalog ‘alibata,’ with the familiar sounds that ring like this: a-ba-ka-da-e-ga-ha and so on. 

 

These samples are instructive but a 1930 “Manual for the Progressive Laborer” written by Macario L. Alverne, one-time interpreter of the Honolulu Immigration Station, hints at our own understanding of the Ilokano grammar in those times. His book contains both an Ilokano translation which he himself did (“Manual ti Narang-ay A Makitegtegged”) and a Visayan translated by Marcelo Jumauan Baguio (“Manual sa Mauswagon’g Mammomoo”). We see in the “preface” the following: “Naaramid daytoy a pagbasaan tapno masungbatan dagiti nasansan ken nayunay-unay a dawdawat dagiti agkakanakem a gagayyem, ken tapno maitungpal ti pagkakalikagom dagiti karwayan dagiti Filipinos a maaddaan da ti Gramatica Inglesa a naisao ti Fini-filipino. Daytoy a libro naaramid inggat’ kabaelan a nangikabassit ken nangilawlawag. Naikari nga aramaten ti siasinoman a tao nga kayat na ti makaammo nga agbasa ken agsurat iti sao ti Ingles, ken Ilokano wenno Visaya, isoda nga ar-aramaten dagiti karwayan ti Filipino ditoy Hawaii. Ti nagaramid itoy a pagbasaan idaton na ti adda a kabaelan na nga agsao ka dagitoy  a pagsasao iti nalaka ken iti ababa a panagadal. Makaunmanayen a pagdamoan da iti lecleccion a matagtagadtad iti ini-Ingles agraman panakaiulog na iti sao ti Iloko ken Visaya” (“This brief manual is written to meet the repeated and earnest requests of some good friends, and also to answer the popular demand of the Filipino community for a concise and practical English Grammar with Filipino translations. The book is planned to the best test of simplicity and briefness. It is intended for the use of any person who wants to gain knowledge in reading and speaking English, and Ilokano or Visayan, the two most popular dialects of the Filipinos in Hawaii. The author offers in this work a working knowledge of any of these tongues in a practical method in the shortest time possible. It is a sufficient Grammar for the beginner, the book containing exercises in such a way that the logical succession of the lessons are gradually brought together into a simplified English Grammar with translations in Ilokano and Visayan.”)

 

The same manual, as in the “Letters” of Valdez, contains templates of letters, and ‘Surat 21’ dated ‘Octubre 1, 1928’ will be useful for understanding the history of the Ilokano language. For this reason, I cite this letter verbatim: “Ay-ayatek a Rosita:/Diak magibusan nga isarita ti naiduma a ragsak ko idi innak naawat toy patgek unay a surat mo. Ngem idi nga innak maimatangan ti linas-odna, dagos laeng a simmal-lin ti nasaem unay a ladingit idi naganos nga essem itoy pusok. Wen, Pudno ket di masapol nga pasay-okan nak, ay-ayatek, ta kas pagaammom ngaruden nga pudnoak ket ipaypaysok dagiti isoamin nga naisaritak ken ka./ Wen, ay-ayatek a Rosita, ado dagiti pampanunot nga immapay kaniak a nakaigapo iti nabayag nga isusungbat mo. Umona, impapan ko nga pinalpali-iw ken rinikrikna nak pay laeng ken pinaneknekam pay met ti kinapudno. Maikadwa, mabalin met nga adda maysa  ka dagiti kapulpulapol mo unay nga nagirugrugi a nagsarita ka dagiti bambanag a mabalin a mangyaw-awan ta pamanunotam maipapan itoy ayat ko ken ka. Wenno, mabalin met a diak maikari nga agayat ken ka, ket iti kasta diak karbengan ti maikaskaso. Ket agpapan ita diak pay la ammo no ania ka dagitoy ti Pudno./Binasak a silaladingit toy surat mo. Binalbaliwak a binasabasa, ngem di met la nagsukat ti nailas-od. Pinarparmatak ti narniag a tagtagainep ket sika kan pay idi ti adda idi nagtingngaan ti lawag; binalabalakon ti maysa a balay iti tangatang ket sika ti princesa na; ket inar-arapaap ko metten ti panagbiag ta a sipupunnot ragsak, gapo na nga dagiti balikas mo pagpigergeren ken paglidayen dak iti nakaro unay iso a diak magibusan nga ibaga ken ka. Impapan ko laeng a naragsak ta iti biang ti maysa ken maysa ka data, nagam-ammo ta iti sidon ni naan-anay a talentalek, ket impapan ko pay nga naammo tan a naimbag ti tunggal maysa kada ta ket diak impagarop a maminsan laengen a maipadaga dagiti inanamak. Pudno la nga kastan aya? Mabalin ngata a kasta ti ranggasmo, ay-ayatek? Agdawdawatak ita kaasim ta di nak pay kuma pampaminsanen a paayen ta tanangem pay kuma. Ket ipalubos mo kadi a sawek pay toy naindaklan nga panagayat ko ken ka. Di nak kad guraen, ala; yantangay diak gagem ti agranggas. Pudno unay, ket diak agdwadwa nga siammo ka, nga siksika laeng ti pagbiagan toy pusok. Ngarod, di ka kad ipaidam ti inka panangimatang manen itoy sungbat mo ket ipalubos mo kad met nga maaddaan manen inanama,/Toy sipupudno ken ka, Rosendo.” (“Dear Rosita:/ I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was when I received your letter. But when I noted its contents, the tender happiness in my heart was replaced with the deepest of all griefs. Of course, you do not have to flatter me, dearest, as you know I am serious and I mean all that I have told you./ Yes, Rosita, dear. I entertained many reasons why you were slow in your reply. First, I thought you were observing, studying or testing my sincerity. Second, some people around you may have started a rumor tending to mislead your thought as to the truthfulness of my love for you. Or, it may be because I am not qualified to love you and therefore, you must disregard me. Until now, I do not know which of these reasons is right./ I read your letter with the utmost sorrow. I read it over and over, but the contents remained the same. I had dreamed such a bright dream of which you are the central figure of light; I had built such a castle in the air of which you were the princess; I had seen such a vision of life full of felicity, that your words shock and distress me more than I can tell you. I did not expect them. I thought we had been so happy in each other’s society, we had met in such entire confidence; we have, I thought, understood each other so well that I had dared to think my love for your was not unreturned. Even yet I can hardly believe that all my hopes are so suddenly dashed to the ground. Are your serious? Can you be so cruel, dearest? I pray that you do not utterly reject me without a little respite. Let me once more say how much I love you. Do not be angry with me, please. I do not mean to be rude. Please do not think that I have no respect for your decision. Surely your know that you alone are the life of my heart. So please, do not refuse to reconsider your reply and let hope once more be with/Your ever sincere/Rosendo.”)  

 

The clue to the difficulty, even in the ‘illiterate’ quality of the Ilokano as used in the foregoing sample text materials is the failure to recognize that the Ilokano language is a verb initial language unlike English which most often begins with a noun or an actor. As a verb initial language, it is action that hits right at the start of the sentence, not the actor, and which renders the use of the ‘ket’, sometimes functioning as a copula, not a good example of a vigorous and crisp Ilokano sentence.

 

(To be continued)

 

Imnas, Libretto

Standard

Imnas nga Indaddaduma                     

 

Libretto ni

 

                                                      Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Universidad ti Hawai’i

 

 

EXCERPT TI SIBUBUKEL A LIBRETTO A NAADAW ITI DRAMA ITI RADYO NGA ‘IMNAS NGA INDADDADUMA’ A MAIPATPATAYAB ITI KORL 1180 AM, ITI LAENG FILIPINIANA VARIETY SHOW, 2007-2008 SEASON.

 

 

 

KORO

Kitaem, kitaem, ti ayat a naalsem

Buyaem, buyaem ayat naukasen!

Kitaem, kitaem, ti ayat a naalsem

Buyaem, buyaem ayat naukasen!

 

AMIN

Imnas nga innak Indaddaduma kuna toy pusok

Binirbirokka

 

NANANG

Babai, dika agkasta, dimo kuna

Dimo itulok agayat kenkuana

 

ANGELA

Isuna ti ayatko

Isuna ti aminko

 

NANANG

Saan, saan, saan dimon kuna

Saan a mabalin, saan Angela

Ti Hawai’i agur-uray

Ti gasat agpaypayapay

 

DAVID

Nasudi daytoy ayatko

Kas iti nadalus a tudo

Kenka, kenka Angela

Kenka nga idatonko!

 

 

ANGELA

David a kasimpungalan

David a pakabuklan!

 

NANANG

Dangnga a pinaspasuso

Kayatna ti maikulbo

(Makaunget)

Angela, ditoyka

Iti sibay umayka

 

DAVID

Anian, anian nga ayat!

Sadinno, sadinno ni ayat!

 

ANGELA

David, dinak baybay-an

Sidongmo ti salakan!

 

NANANG

Angela, iti Hawai’i agawidtan

Dinak koma ikkan pakapilawan

(Agunget)

No ti ayat ti inka birbirokem

Saan a ti tibok ti puso ti nasken!

 

Ti biag ti Hawai’i ket narigat

Dikan agbirok pay pagsakitak!

 

Sadinno koma ti pagbanagan

Ti ayat nga ibagbagam

No daytoy a lalaki met laeng

Agbalin amin a barengbareng!

 

KORO

Barengbareng ni ayat

Barengbareng ni ayat

Ngem kasano a sumantak

No di met aya ipalgak!

 

DAVID

Mapanpanunotko amin-amin

Angela a silpo daytoy nakem

Kasano, kasanoak nga agbiag

No awanka iti ilado nga iddak?

 

 

 

 

 

Kasano ayatko, kasano a baliksen

Kasano nga ibuksilan ti kananakem

No ti ayat ket awanan talimengmeng

Agbanag kadi lattan a kaliwaweng?

 

KORO

Kasano, kasano, Angela

Kasano, David a baroda

Kasano aya ti agayat

Nga awanan iti kettat?

 

Ipakitayo ti pamuspusan

Ti panagayat a nasimbeng

Tapno maamuan ti kaaduan

Ti rugi’t umno a talingenngen

 

NANANG

Maperdi ti ulom, Angela

 

ANGELA

Maperdi’t ulok!

Saan, saan, saan

Saan, diak itulok!

 

DAVID

Maperdi’t ulok

Saan, saan, saan

Saan diak itulok!

 

KORO

Perdi ti uloyo

Perdi, perdi, perdi

Perdi ti uloyo

Ta agay-ayatkayo!

 

DAVID

Angela, sika ti aminko!

Iti nasipnget a lubongko

Sika ti silawko

Sika ti ararawko

Sika ti ragsakko!

 

ANGELA

David, David nga innak indaddaduma

Kasano aya nga agsabat ti lubongta?

 

NANANG

Angela, maysaka a pinggan

Angela, maysaka a plato

Ni David ket maysa a ganggang

Di makaartap iti pino!

 

Kasano koma pagtakkubem

Ti plato ken ti ganggang!

 

ANGELA

Saan a kasta ti pagrukodan

Ti kinatao ti nanakman

Ni David ti pagkalikaguman

Ti pusok a nadidignraan

 

DAVID

Angela nga ay-ayatek

Sika ti ibaga’t saltek

Sika amin adda’t tagainep

Sika ta sika ti kuna’t ulep

 

Sika ti ibaga ti langit

Uray no maysaak a daga

Sika ti sandi ti sangsangit

Uray no siak ket nababa!

 

ANGELA

Dimo kunaen ti kasta

David, sika ta sika latta

Ti adda iti pusok inggana

Sika, ayatko’t ibagbagana

 

DAVID

Mabutengak iti buteng

Ayatko di barengbareng

 

ANGELA

Mabutengak ken ayat

Awan inna kasukat!

 

 

 

KORO

Mabutengda ken buteng

Kasano koma a padasen?

Kasano ti panagayat

No dida met ipasaksak?

 

NANANG

Saan, saan kunak ta saan

Diyo koma pilpilawen

No saan ta kunak ta saan

Didak koma laglagidawen

 

Itagbatko iti bato

Itagbatko iti bato

Siak, siak nga ina

Siak ti mangibaga!

 

KORO

Narigat a kabusor

Ti ina a kabusor

Narigat a kasungani

Ti ina a sungani!

 

Narigat a kabusor

Ti ina a kabusor

Narigat a kasungani

Ti ina a sungani!

 

ANGELA

Dimo kadi kaasian toy puso

Sika nga inak a nangin-indayon

Dimo kadi marikna’t limdo

Sika nga ina a makaammo?

 

Kasano nga agbiagak

No awan ayat iti riknak?

Kasano nga agimulaak

Iti bukel nga agsantak?

 

DAVID

Siak ti agitukel ita pusom

Siak, Angela, a karayom

Ta sika, ngamin, ayat

Sika, sika laeng ti kayat!

 

 

 

DAVID KEN ANGELA

Inta ngarud biroken iti dawel

Dagiti kappia iti basingkawel

Data a dua met laeng ti mangibaga

No ania a lubong pagpatinggaanta

 

Duata laeng, biagko, duata laeng

Ti mangiwaksi kadagiti aleng-aleng

Ta inta ngarud itan buklen

Ti ungto dagiti panawen.

 

DAVID

Awatem toy

 

ANGELA

Awatem toy ayat

 

NANANG

Diak kayat, diak kayat nga adda agayat

Diak kayat, diak kayat ti kastoy nga ayat!

Apo a manangngaasik, siak kaasiannak

Ikkannak kadi ala ti pakaliwliwaak!

 

DAVID KEN ANGELA

Awatem toy ayat, awatem toy ayat

Ket intan agragsak, intan agragsak!

 

Sarangtenta ti ayat a napudno

Amin a pagel, dawel ken bagyo

Ta ti ayat iti barukong ta, biagko

Isu met laeng ti rugi’t salakanko.

 

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