Saturday, November 06, 2010

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


So far one of the best things about Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino popularly called PNOY is the way he speaks Tagalog, the basis of the people’s national language called Pilipino. He uses the language much, much better than the leading television anchors and reporters in the Philippines.

Definitely, his Tagalog is crystal clear and well-accented and enunciated. The Filipino media practitioners and movie people should listen to his conversational skills and speeches in Tagalog.

I understand about the concept of a “lingua franca” when used by the people in a certain country. Some foreign words or coined words are added into language structure of the language recognized as the national language. It’s Pilipino in the Philippines and you will notice that there are words adopted into it from other dialects such as “kada”and “likas” or even expressions commonly used in the Filipino gay community such as “bongang bonga.”

I also understand that it’s really hard to change one’s accent, say from Ilocano accent into Tagalog. The bottomline in spoken language is as long as you can be understood.

Here lies the danger of mispronouncing some Tagalog words. The Tagalog word “aso” means dog if the accent is on the first syllable and means smoke if the accent is on the second syllable.

In one of my previous columns, I also took to task the Philippines’ National Language Institute to lead in correcting the erroneous use of the Tagalog pronoun “siya” popular even among television and movie personalities to refer to inanimate objects. This pronoun refers only to human beings of both sexes.

Another common mistake among several public communicators is the mispronunciation of the Tagalog word “nakita” meaning I saw. The correct way to say this Tagalog word is without any accent on the third syllable.

So much for this quick refresher on the Pilipino language. I just wish you again to listen to PNOY whenever he speaks to the media and try to speak Tagalog like him.


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