Showing posts from September, 2020

Is the "Ay" Marker in Tagalog the Same as the English Verb "To be"?

One of the most common markers in the Tagalog language is ay. It may appear as if ay  is the equivalent of the English verb "to be", because, for example, the literal translation of a phrase like ako ay Pilipino is "I am  Filipino". However, in reality, far from being a verb, let alone the verb "to be", which doesn't really exist in Tagalog, the function of ay is simply to invert the order of a phrase, and in the example above ako ay Pilipino is merely the inverted form of Pilipino ako. In other words, because in Tagalog there is no such thing as the verb "to be", such phrases as "I am Italian", "she is beautiful" or "Mario is a doctor" in Tagalog have no verb and are literally rendered as "Italian I" ("Italiano ako"), "beautiful she" ("maganda siya") and "doctor Mario" ("doktor si Mario"). The "ay" marker simply switches the order of such phr

Verbal Aspect vs Tense in Tagalog

As I have mentioned in my post, while in the English language there are both tenses (past, present and future) and aspects (simple, continuous, perfect and perfect continuous) of the verb, in Tagalog there is nothing but verbal aspect. Tenses are concerned with whether a certain action has occurred in the past, is happening in the present or will happen in the future. Aspects in Tagalog verbs merely convey the idea that a certain action has been completed, it is in progress or it is contemplated. For example, if I say "kumain ako", the idea here is that I have completed the action of eating: the hearer has no clue whether the action was completed 2 seconds ago, 2 centuries ago or 2 millennia ago. If I say "kakain ako", I am simply stating my intention to eat no matter if I'll do the action 5 seconds from now or 30 years from now: I am simply stating the fact that the action is "contem

Diskarte: the Resourcefulness of Filipinos

 Many blogs and other sources of information kind of look down on the diskarte approach to life of Filipinos. In this post I want to talk about diskarte from the standpoint of someone who is married to a Filipina and highlight the perks, as well as the downside, of the diskarte mentality. WHAT IS DISKARTE? But what is diskarte ? Diskarte has no exact translation in English. The closest translation is probably the ability to improvise in a difficult situation. Etymologically, diskarte may be Spanish in origin (from descarte, descartar, meaning "to discard"), but it has since evolved into a Tagalog word having different meanings. The primary way in which Filipinos seem to use this term is with regard to building or fixing things when there is little or no money or resources. DISKARTE AND PWEDE NA IYAN: THE DOWNSIDE Often the diskarte approach doesn’t produce high quality labor, rather it only puts temporary “patches” on things or problems that need to be fixed based on the typ

Are Westerners more Sincere than Filipinos?

  A typical house compound where different family units belonging to the same extended family live The "Culture Shock Philippines" book defines the Filipino culture as a culture that is "people oriented" while Western cultures tend to be more "goal oriented". So the question "are Westerners more sincere than Filipinos?" must be viewed in the light of the "people oriented" over "goal oriented" frame that Filipinos operate from in almost every situation. The "Culture Shock Philippines" book says something along the lines of 'a Westerner doesn't hold back from telling it "as it is" if a CAUSE or a higher goal is at stake. For example a Western boss will likely not think twice before scolding a secretary for arriving late at work and even if she cries he will keep scolding her because the cause of punctuality is more important than her feelings and if she gets hurt so be it'. Filipinos prefer keepin

How to Create Intimacy with a Filipina Wife

 What makes an intimate relationship truly intimate is the experience of deep connection and total vulnerability. And so, in the context of this blog post, I will be using the word intimacy, not in the sense of sexual intimacy, which is without a doubt a powerful component of a deep connection, but in the broader sense of into me see or, in other words in the sense of an intimate relationship being an environment where husband and wife are fully vulnerable, transparent, honest and free to communicate their deepest fears, hurts, expectations and other emotions without any fears of being judged, blamed or hurt in any way. Is it possible to achieve this level of into me see in a relationship with a Filipina? Well, obviously each person is different, but, generally speaking, the Filipino culture has some aspects to it that may make the achievement of a high degree of into me see rather challenging. The "Culture Shock Philippines" book by Alfredo and Grace Roces, that I ofte

The Traditional "Bahay-kubo" and the Filipino Concept of Space

In my blog I often talk about a fundamental difference between the Western world and the Philippines: we in the Western world value privacy while the Philippines it's all about pakikisama or togetherness. This difference is reflected in the way houses are built in the Philippines and in the West and, while in the Philippines, I had plenty of time to observe how the way houses are built in the Philippines really reflects the pakikisama culture. In the Philippines there are both traditional bahay kubo and modern-style houses, and basically modern houses in the Philippines follow the original pattern of the traditional bahay kubo. The Bahay Kubo and the Single Room Lifestyle The traditional bahay kubo follows the Southeast Asian tradition of having a single-room environment where all family activities happen. Bahay kubo near my wife's house Modern Housing in the Philippines The rural bahay kubo evolved into a more modern house, usually made of concrete and hollow blocks (like

English vs Tagalog: Differences and Similarities

The Philippines is an ex US colony and English is widely used in the Philippines. In Tagalog there are a lot of English loan words like gadyet, kompyuter, tren etc. However there are huge differences (and there are similarities as well) between the two languages and here are some differences and similarities (at least the ones that I have been able to find). I think it is important to know those differences and similarities because if you are a non-English speaker who wishes to learn Tagalog you can hardly do so without learning English first. There are Westerners whom I know who can't speak English and they have learned some Tagalog but, because most Tagalog grammar textbooks are written in English, it is much more challenging to learn Tagalog without using English as a "bridge". So here are some of the differences between English and Tagalog Phonology In Tagalog words are spelled as they are pronounced (and for an Italian like me this is a huge advantage because Italian

Grammatica Tagalog (Tagalog Grammar Explained in Italian)

 (questo post lo completerò e l'aggiornerò col tempo) Nelle Filippine esistono due lingue principali, oltre a decine di altre lingue minori e dialetti. L'inglese è lingua ufficiale mentre il "filippino" è lingua nazionale. La lingua ufficialmente chiamata "filippino" o Pilipino si basa fondamentalmente sul Tagalog, che è la lingua parlata a Manila e nelle province circostanti (Laguna, Batangas, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga). Il Tagalog appartiene al gruppo delle cosiddette Austronesian languages che sono lingue affini al malese e sono parlate in parte del sud est asiatico e in Oceania. A motivo dei 300 anni di colonizzazione spagnola e dei 50 anni di colonizzazione americana, nonché dei numerosi e frequenti contatti commerciali con la Cina, la lingua Tagalog contiene numerose loan words o parole "prese in prestito", per così dire, dallo spagnolo, l'inglese e, in misura minore, dal cinese. In questo post, che poi aggiornerò col passare del temp