Bongga, trapo, dine-in, querida, viand, cartolina, dirty ice cream, holdupper, ambush interview: In 2018, these and several other Filipino words made it to the pages of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), recognized as “the definitive record of the English language.” The words follow in the heels of earlier Pilipino entries like kikay kit (OED, 2015), kilig (OED, 2016), OFW, pancit, comfort room, and gimmick.
While this milestone is certainly something to be proud of, these words would not be possible where it not for our relations with different countries and how they helped shape our language into what it is today.
This Buwan ng Wika, My Pope identifies popular Pilipino words that actually aren’t Pilipino in origin. Otherwise known as loanwords, they have long been accepted as part of our language and are a reflection of the influence that the world has had on our history and culture.
Spain’s 333 years of colonial rule naturally left us with a bunch of words of Spanish origin. In fact, writer and lexicographer Jose Villa Panganiban reckons that our language has at least 4,000 loanwords of Spanish origin. Here are just some of them:
Before the arrival of the Spaniards, our forefathers used the Malay language for trade and documentation. This plus the fact that Filipino is an Austronesian language explain why we share many similar words with our neighbors in Indonesia and Malaysia.
The ties between India and the Philippines date back centuries, resulting in a number of Hindi words finding their way into our language.
Before the current wave of Chinese entering the Philippines, China made its mark in our country as early as the 9th century, prompting over a thousand of its words (many of them food-related) to be part of our everyday language.
Batsoy—Pork in soup
Pancit—Noodles with sauce