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Just a little Spanish

Vamos a empezar (Tagalog- umpisa). But first, I have to apologize because I am not using my IPad, hence this would not have the tilde except for one. The tilde is important because it is how you pronounce the word in the Spanish Language. To illustrate the point, locals of the City of Naga say Nueva Caceres as CA-ce-res. For non-locals they may say Ca-CE-res. Thus, in Spanish Grammar it is written as Cáceres- notice the tilde.

Now, a little background, most of the Spaniards who came to the Philippines were in fact Americanos or they came from Latin America not to mistake Americans who came from the United States. The Philippines was ruled through Nueva España or what is now called as Mexico (Mehico). The only thing you must consider as a result of this is the slight difference in the pronunciation of “c.” In Spain, “c” is pronounced in the same way as Native English Speakers would say “th” in the beginning of the word “theme”. It sounds very much like a lisp.

In the language of Cervantes, one does not pronounce words as they are spelled. It is remarkable that the Spanish-loan-words are spelled as they are spoken. However, one has to be careful not to say “pollo” (chicken) as polyo, because this word is not a loan word therefore we say it as “poyo”. We are right on the money though when we say kabayo for “caballo” and not kabalyo. Claro? In Spanish punctuation marks: the question mark and the exclamation marks have an inverted version before the word or sentence. Entonces, yo voy a repetir (English- repeat.) ¿Claro?

Furthermore, “h” is not pronounced in Spanish. When we borrowed yelo which is ice in English it is written as hielo in Castellano. And, “j” is “h” in Tagalog/Filipino, thus when you laugh in chatrooms or in the internet you type “jajaja” as the equivalent of “hahaha.”

Before we move on to our language hack, let us begin by asking the intercession of Our Lady, Mother Mary, because it is the Roman Catholic religion that paved the way for us to have thousands and thousands of Spanish-loan-words. In Tagalog, it has about 5,000 and other dialects more than 5,000 and our nation has the only Spanish Creole language on earth which is the Chavacano de Cavite and Chavacano de Zamboanga.

Bueno, vamos a orar (Latin- ora pro nobis) o vamos a rezar (Tagalog- dasal) y vamos a suplicar. El nombre del Padre, del Hijo, y del Espiritu Santo, Amen. Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, rogad por nosotros. That is written by the way at the altar of the Peñafrancia Shrine. And, you may visit the old Catholic Cemetery and you will see epitaphs and other details engraved on the tombstone using the Spanish language. Lastly, the prayer to Ina is also written in Chavacano if my memory does not fail me. Do shed light on the matter if I am mistaken. Let our light shine through because we believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light. Simply put, our purpose is to follow Him or in one word to be-- Christ-like.

It is interesting to note that we may also say vamos a santiguar which to say in English would be to bless or in Latin America to heal by blessing. The word was popular in the early 1700s but fizzled out almost in the early 1800s in the Spanish-Speaking-world. (Source- Collins Dictionary) But here in Bikol, santigwar was very much alive in the 1900s but is just lingering on with the advent of Modern Medical Science and Technology. Since, the aforementioned phenomenon is aligned with the Catholic Faith one may play Gregorian Chants to drive Demons away from your abode/or to people who are possessed (Bikol- naibanan) and would go together in a win-win result for Holistic and Complete Healing. (Source: Fr Ripperger: “Demons HATE Gregorian Chant!” - Interview w/ an Exorcist)

Back to our lesson, one has to learn at least these two phrases; first- Como se dice “word/s” en Español? And second- Que significa? So, in the former- how do you say, “what is your name?” in Spanish? Well, you say Como te llamas? me llamo, Fernandez or mi nombre (English- name) es Fernandez. For the latter- que significa? is what does it mean? Fernandez means son of Fernando in the Spanish Language.

Since we already know the dates, days, months, and time in Spanish, we just have to learn how to ask and how to answer. (Who- quien, What- que, When- cuando, Where- donde, How- como, & Why- por que) Hence; que año es hoy? hoy es mil nueve cientos noventa y siete: que mes es hoy? hoy es Febrero: que dia es hoy? hoy es Jueves. Moreover, to ask for the time, que hora es? We reply, son las dos y media. Where? aqui or here and alla (aya) or there. Left is izquierda and right is derecha. Spanish is gendered-based like English e.g. el/ella or he/she. Thus, for male it is basurero and for female it is basurera (which is a noble and decent profession may I add.) Providentially, we use that grammatical rule in the local languages. Easy right? Es facil (Bikol- pasil), si?

So, the next time someone asks you, “Habla Español?”, you may reply, un poco pero comprendo bastante. This would come in handy if you go to Spanish-speaking-countries. If you, in the future, become hungry while touring Buenos Aires for instance, you may ask, “Donde esta el restaurante?”

I hope you learned a thing or two, because you may not know it but you are speaking Spanish words and you were not aware of them until someone told you in one way or another. Well, it is horas de peligro, until the next column. Hasta el proximo edicion de Inspired. Blessings!


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