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Monday, June 11, 2018

Do you know these two Cebuano words? Kusog vs Isog

  Image result for strong coffee

Everybody loves a cup of strong coffee.  It keeps us awake if we need to be up all night and to some people, coffee is their best companion.  They need caffeine to survive.  We are a family of coffee drinkers.  I was introduced to coffee before the age of ten and I would say..when it comes to coffee, "the bitter the coffee, the better it is," if you catch my drift.  I like it strong, black and bitter.  

How do we say 'strong coffee' in Cebuano?

isog nga kapi  

Basically isog is used for intensity/strength.

Can I use isog to describe a 'strong man'?

In the case of men or humans, isog refers to bravery.  Therefore a 'brave man' is:

isog nga tawo.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Mag-break ta: Gitik-Gitik Dyutay...(Let's have a break. A LittleTickling) A Short Visayan Joke

One of the tests that I do to see if the learner has enough knowledge and understanding of Cebuano is to give a simple joke in Visayan.  If he can appreciate the joke and find it funny, then I am confident that he can survive living in a Cebuano-speaking place.  

Some of the words need translation in this joke:  Here is the translation:

Grandfather:  Grandchild, go hide because your teacher is here.  You were absent from school.
Grandchild:  Grandpa, go hide too because I told her I was absent because you died.

In Bisaya, many grandparent-grandchild jokes have been created.  This shows a cultural side of Filipinos.  Filipinos generally have close family ties.  And grandparents generally watch over kids especially when parents are in absentia.  

Saturday, March 24, 2018

How do you say You Drive Me Crazy in Bisaya?

I always require my students to submit a homework after every lesson and it so happen that I asked one of my learner to create a journal of any particular day that she found interesting.   The next meeting, she was very eager to share her homework.  She did very well in the first paragraphs, (with a few minor errors which I can ignore).  However, I could not overlook one glaring error:  When she wrote:  Buang kining adlawa for This day was crazy,  I just had to correct her.  

We cannot say Buang kining adlawa because typically, in Binisaya, buang is only used to refer to a person who is crazy.  If you want to say This day was crazy. you can say:  Makabuang ning adlawa or Buanga ning adlawa, but not Buang kining adlawa. A literal translation is not applicable in this situation. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cebuano Language: A Morbid Topic

Simbako ka diha --  whenever death becomes a topic, you will hear this expression.   There is no real meaning to it; it is just used similar to the expression in English:  Heaven forbid.   
To Filipinos, the topic of death is considered morbid so they avoid talking about it.  It's just that people are afraid to let go of their loved ones to death.  

Here are some related vocabularies:   A dead person is called patay or minatay.  He is placed in a lungon (coffin).  People would attend his haya (wake) for roughly one week or could be less than 7 depending on the preference of the bereaved family.   The family prepares coffee and other snacks for those who would be in the haya (wake) and would bilar (stay up all night).  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Dangers of Being Literal in Language Learning

One of the things to remember in language learning is the limitation to being literal in translating one language to another.  Therefore, direct translation is not reliable at all times although it may work in some situations.  Here is an example:

Using wala and naa:  

In English, wala means none or nothing because wala is basically something is non-existent.  Wala may have other uses as a negative word but by itself, it means none or nothing.  

So:  If I want to say:  "I have money."    

Directly translated to Cebuano, it is:  
Naa koy kwarta.  (Naa for have, ko for I, kwarta for money, y is a floating linker)

How then will I say:  "I have no money."?

This here is the tricky part.  Some learners will say:  Wala naa koy kwarta.   This is being literal.  I always tell my learners, you can't use wala and naa at the same time because it will create confusion to the listener.  

The opposite of naa is wala and the opposite of wala is naa.  Some places in the Visayas use duna (or aduna) instead of naa (or anaa).  This is what we call variation.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Puydi Bang Amigo Na Lang Ta ug Mga Pulong Nga Di Nato Gustong Madunggan (Can We Just Be Friends and Words That We Don't Want To Hear)

I came across a website containing this interesting topic:  4 Words I Don't Want To Hear (  And I thought, this is an interesting write up to translate.  After all,  feelings and emotions are universal and applicable to all cultures. But since no two languages are alike, what might only be 4 words for one language, might be more than 4 to another.  Bisaya, because of its Malayo-Polynesian origin will not have a one-to-one correspondence  with other languages.  What does it mean?  It means one concept in one language could be expressed by one word, however, in Bisaya, such concept might need to be explained / expressed using more than one word.  

So here's the list of Words I (or you) Don't Want to Hear.

1. I don't love you.  
Wala ko ikaw higugma-a.

2. You're diagnosed with cancer.
Na-diagnose nga aduna kay kanser.

3. I found someone else.
Nakakaplag ko og lain (nga higugmaon.)

4. It was never real.
Walay tinuoray ato. 

5. We need to talk.
Kinahanglan kita mag-istorya.

6.  You're going to die.
Padulong ka nang mamatay.