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Re: [unitednon-tagalogs] Spanish influence

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  • Carl Rubino
    Dear Tim, Yes -- please do all you can to refute the claim. There are many people who insist that many Philippine languages are closely related to Spanish
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 19 9:30 PM
      Dear Tim,
      Yes -- please do all you can to refute the claim. There are many people who
      insist that many Philippine languages are closely related to Spanish solely
      because of the abundance of Spanish loans (normal thing to happen in a
      colonized language) and a few grammatical patterns that crop up in a few
      languages that had substantial contact with Spanish.
      All Philippine languages (except the few Spanish Creoles - Zamboangueno
      Chabacano, Ermiteno, Caviteno) kept intact their Austronesian syntax (word
      order, grammatical relations) and morphology (prefixes, infixes, suffixes,
      clitics) and have naturally developed with minimal Spanish syntactic
      interference. The ancestral language (proto-language) is clearly
      Austronesian which can be reconstructed for various Philippine subgroupings.
      See: http://iloko.tripod.com/philtree.html. Many scholars have also
      reconstructed proto-Philippine from comparing modern lexical data -- whether
      such a language existed is still a matter of debate though, as many
      linguists view the Philippines as an area of various migrations and
      convergence, and not populated all from one source.

      Back to Spanish though -- the topic of your query. When I say minimal
      influence, I do not mean Spanish did not play a role at all -- I would like
      to pinpoint some of the non-Austronesian features of some modern Philippine
      languages though just to show that Spanish did have some influence in
      shaping the modern Philippine tongues.

      1. Gender (most Austronesian languages do not have word classes, and no
      Philippine languages have been documented to either). Some modern languages
      have borrowed gender-like suffixes which are productive (can be used with
      newly coined terms). Consider Tagalog -oy vs. -ay, -o vs. a
      Tisoy vs. Tisay; tsimoy vs. tsimay; amerikano vs. amerikana
      However, unlike Spanish, gender is not obligatorily expressed on all nouns
      and adjectives, just a few choice ones

      2. Clause combining -- Spanish conjunctions and discourse particles have
      been borrowed in a few languages.
      e.g. Tagalog pero; maske (from mas que); porke (from porque)
      Cebuano pur iso (therefore from por eso); miyintras tantu (in the
      meantime, from mientras tanto); iste (from este) used as a hesitation
      particle

      3. some derivational Spanish affixes that can be used with both native and
      Spanish roots:
      Tagalog: pansit-eria; Batangu-eno
      Cebuano: palikiru, babayiru (excuse spelling, I am just illustrating the
      vowel system)
      Ilocano: sin-tagari; konsi-lamot; konde-alahas; uttog-ero; baston-ero;
      baston-era

      4. A few grammatical devices, like the comparative morphology in languages
      like Tagalog and Aklanon. Note the difference between the Tagalog and
      Aklanon comparative adjectives ("mas" is borrowed from Spanish), and their
      Ilocano and Waray (reduplicative) counterparts:

      Tagalog: malaki > mas malaki; maliit > mas maliit
      Aklanon: makusog (strong) > mas makusog (stronger); mataas (tall) > mas
      mataas (taller)

      vs:

      Ilocano dakkel (big); dakdakkel (bigger); bassit (small); basbassit
      (smaller)
      Waray dako' (big); darudako' (bigger); maupay (good); mauruupay (better)

      5. The borrowed preposition 'para' (for) that has helped to reduce some
      verbal morphology in some language (benefactive verbs).

      6. Many Philippine languages, e.g. Cebuano, Waray, Aklanon, have borrowed
      'gusto' (want/like) from Spanish. This puzzles many linguists because
      "basic" verbs such as the verb of desire are usually not borrowed -- but
      then again neither are pronouns and cases like these crop up all over the
      world.

      7. Phonological influence -- the addition of a new minimal sound in some
      language. Prior to the coming of the Spanish, Tagalog had a 3 vowel system
      (a, e/i, o/u), Ilocano had a four vowel system (i, E, a, o/u). Some
      languages had even more complex vowel systems -- Casiguran Dumagat has 8
      contrastive vowels. In pre-Hispanic Tagalog, O and U were not contrastive,
      and neither were i or e (except in cases with diphthongs - aywan > ewan; and
      very few common words like eto).
      However, they now are: e.g. oso 'bear' vs. uso 'style'

      Some consonant clusters that only appear in foreign loans:
      BRuha, GRipo, TRes

      The Spanish infinitive endings -ar, -er, and --ir can be applied to borrowed
      roots to form lexical stems that are clearly not Spanish, even though only
      the ending -ar was productive in the Spanish spoken at the time of contact,
      e.g. i-submitir 'to submit (from English)', maka-disturbár 'to be disturbing
      (from English)', mang-atendár 'to attend (from English)'.

      I hope is of help in addressing your question about Spanish influence --
      it goes beyond mere lexical borrowing, but has not affected the languages so
      drastically as to classify them as Indo-European languages. Philippine
      languages all certain features that identify them as clearly genetically
      Austronesian: e.g. verb focus; predicate initial basic word order, verb
      aspect, case prepositions; perfective/realis infix; highly prefixing;
      elaborate productive morphology with few word class restrictions; and
      morphological reduplication (used for various purposes).

      Happy Thanksgiving to all,
      Carl


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Tim Harvey <timh@...>
      To: <unitednon-tagalogs@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 2:24 PM
      Subject: Re: [unitednon-tagalogs] Visayan languages


      > I'd like to include a lay response to the question of
      > Spanish and its influence. Carl, perhaps you would be
      > willing to advise me here?
      >
      > Some maintain that Spanish is a far greater influence
      > than I see evidence for. I could refute this claim on
      > gramatical differences, use of infixes, and so on.
      > But, I think the "proof" those who hold this view rely
      > on, since it is instantly understandable and dramatic,
      > is the large number of word borrowings. For best
      > effect, it might be worth tackling this claim on this
      > level.
      >
    • Tim Harvey
      Thanks for your statement Carl. It was comprehensive and crisp yet understandable for the lay person. I ll add to it a short comparative lexicon that will
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 20 10:48 AM
        Thanks for your statement Carl. It was comprehensive
        and crisp yet understandable for the lay person. I'll
        add to it a short comparative lexicon that will
        highlight the shallow nature of Spanish word
        borrowings, and we should end up with an effective
        tool for countering the "Spanish dialects" claim.

        Another good next candidate for similar treatment is
        the "Tagalog dialects" claim that aims to justify
        Filipino by suggesting that all Philippine languages
        are basically Tagalog with minor regional differences
        . . . which are addressed and resolved in the new,
        democratically formed language. Indeed, the history of
        this creation would make for an interesting and
        revealing story in and of itself.

        Yes, happy holidays to all; to you and your families.

        Tim


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