Monday, June 18, 2007

It pays to ruin your Filipino word power

NOT just a word or phrase, spit out the entire sentence. I’m more comfortable translating entire sentences, my dear. Tagalog has a certain way of trotting out words to home in on a complete thought. I hope you know your English—it has its own manner of fitting out sense in a sentence.

(Kausap ko po ang aking anak. Perdoneme pero hablamos en ingles recto. Natalisod na naman yata sa kung anong tayutay, baka naman sampirasong kataga lang. Nagsusulat sa TV network. Ako na naman ang tinawagan—parang isa kong katoto na nagsasara ng opinion-editorial page ng pahayagan, pulos wastong gamit naman ng preposition ang isinasangguni.)

What in Satan’s hell is ‘kapulisan?’ If you’re referring to a covey of cops, just call ‘em ‘mga pulis’. If it’s the entire police force, pulisya is the word, yes, it’s out-and-out rip-off from Spanish. So is the root word ‘pulis.’ No, not Sting’s band. Yes, just like ‘tao’ in ‘katauhan’ which means ‘innate character.’ No, katauhan doesn’t point to the entire human race or the populace of a locality. Yes, just like the root word tanga or stupid which is an adjective; it becomes a noun as katangahan or stupidity.

Yes, there’s rampant stupidity in the media. You folks insist on your off-the-cuff coinage. Why don’t you just revert back to plain English on primetime, huh? We can bring back Strunk and White’s book, "Elements of Style." It would be easier to spot bloopers. Aah, most of ‘em can’t even construct a decent sentence in English. It shows, my dear. The slip shows, why, it’s worse than burlesque.

Spare me ‘polisiya.’ That’s gross. Patakaran, that’s the word. From the root ‘takda.Sinalpakan ng unlaping ‘pa-‘ at hulaping ‘-an’. Si, tengo que hablar y comprender Español. Blame those nitwit lawmakers who chucked Spanish off the curriculum. Now you guys don’t have access to the originals of Jose Rizal or Federico Garcia Lorca, Antonio Machado, Gabriel Garcia Marquez or even Paolo Coelho.

Komento?’ That’s obscene! Kuro is the word. Why don’t you guys friggin’ bother sometime to read the likes of Edgardo M. Reyes, Nemesio Caravana, even that komiks man Mars Ravelo or the prose-gush poetry of Teo T. Antonio. Yeah, they don’t emasculate their mother tongues. They wield it in lush elegance. They keep it robust. Kick-ass alive and kinky.

Nah, they’re not outmoded. They’re in the 1950s mode, yeah. Exchange rate was a lousy dollar to two pesos back then, I’d like to write in that mode of economic strength and colossal word power. We don’t get tongue-tied. Except in cunnilingus.

Look here. In Batangas alone, the Tagalog dialect has over 80 variants-- that points up how huge the stockpile of words we have in our language that awaits exploration, discovery and outright usage.

Residente? Chinga! Ano’ng buong pangungusap? O, ‘Nanawagan ang mga residente ng Baseco at Parola na ibalik sa kanilang lugar ang mga sundalo para matigil ang holdapan doon.’ Ganito: ‘Nanawagan ang mga taga-Baseco at Parola…"

Apat na taon nang bahagi si Silvestre sa pagbuo ng kasunduan sa pagitan ng MILF at pamahalaan?’ Wordy. Make that ‘Apat na taon na si Silvestre sa binubuong kasunduan ng MILF at pamahalaan.

Muling sumiklab ang labanan sa pagitan ng mga kupal at kumag?’ Umm…’Muling sumiklab ang labanan ng mga kupal at kumag!’ You’re doing word-for-word translation. ‘Tangna, baka galing sa press release ‘yan. Nakasulat sa English. Tinatagalog na papilipit. Fighting between louts and nitwits broke anew, ah…

Aminado ang mga kupal na mas mabagsik ang mga kumag.’ Hindot na instant hybrid Spanglish ‘yang ‘aminado.’ Sinabi ng mga kupal: Mas mabagsik ang mga kumag, that’s in active voice. Go for economy of words to make sense. Go gunshot terse.

'Talento?' That would make talentado as acceptable as your Spanglish non-word. Use 'talino'. Genius and talent don't refer to the mental capacity alone-- there are around eight sorts of genius-- physical, musical, spatial, interpersonal, et al.

‘Pumasok sa pagitan ng dalawang hita?’ ‘Yan pa lang ang narinig kong tama. Meron pang karugtong? ‘Pumasok sa pagitan ng dalawang hita kung saan may matalahib na yungib?

Make that ‘Pumasok sa pagitan ng dalawang hita na may matalahib na yum---’ Are you sure you’re writing a tourism story?

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