Almost every day I am learning a new word in Tagalog, one of the official languages of the Filipinos aside from English. One of the first words I can remember learning was ‘bulaklak’ = flower. Why this word? Probably because of the repetition of the last syllable in combination with the meaning of the word.
Over time I have learned to say good morning = ‘magandang umaga’ and good afternoon = ‘magandang hapon’. Good evening = ‘magandang gabi’, and Good noon= “magandang tanghali”. And I also learned some other things like: ‘salamat’ = thank you and ‘maraming salamat’ which is thank you very much.
I have also learned that one should add “po” to such phrase or saying. This little word is hard to translate, but as a user you show respect to the one you are addressing to. Thus “Salamat Po” means just Thank You, but by adding the “PO” it shows that you understand a little of the culture of the Philippines.
More new Tagalog words
Today (December 2009), while watching the news on TV, a commercial was shown for a pain killer. In it was a word to express how someone is feeling when very much in pain: excruciating pain (that’s how my wife Flor tried to explain it to me). The commercial is showing: an almost naked man stooped and in severe pain holding his head. (Why almost naked? I do not know).
The word shown on screen was “nakakapamaluktot“. When I saw the word I tried to pronounce it properly but broke my tongue on it a few times. Flor had to write it down for me so I could try to read it again and try to speak it. I have tried it many times and still I am not able to say the word properly. Maybe there are too many vowels in it.
Tagalog has many words like this one. It seems they combine two or more words together into one new word. That probably is the reason that there are so many very long words.
Many other words in Tagalog do have a repetition of one or more syllables a few times like the above-mentioned ‘bulaklak’. For me it sometimes is difficult to speak those words, because of its complex character.
Writing about this commercial suddenly reminds me of another very funny commercial where I learned some Tagalog:
‘Zipper mo bukas’ which means: your fly is open! Where a young man is trying to impress a young woman. See the commercial. There’s no further translation needed to understand it.
I am trying to understand Tagalog better, every single day, but it is difficult….