Re: [unitednon-tagalogs] Spanish influence
- 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
3. some derivational Spanish affixes that can be used with both native and
Tagalog: pansit-eria; Batangu-eno
Cebuano: palikiru, babayiru (excuse spelling, I am just illustrating the
Ilocano: sin-tagari; konsi-lamot; konde-alahas; uttog-ero; baston-ero;
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
Ilocano dakkel (big); dakdakkel (bigger); bassit (small); basbassit
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
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,
----- Original Message -----
From: Tim Harvey <timh@...>
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
- 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.
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