These Pilipino words are not actually Pilipino | My Pope Philippines

These Pilipino words are not actually Pilipino

Pilipino words not pilipino

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: 

 

Abante—Go forward 

Aparador—Closet

Baryo—Village 

Bentilador—Electric fan 

Diyos—God

Eksena—Scene 

Eskuela—School

Gwapo—Handsome

Kalye—Street

Kwento—Story

Mundo—World 

Oras—Time, Hour

Pelikula—Movie 

Piyesta—Feast

Relo—Watch 

Sapatos—Shoes

Silya—Chair 

Swerte—Luck 

Tasa—Mug, Cup 

Tsinelas—Slippers

Tsismis—Gossip

Yelo—Ice  

 

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. 

 

Anak—Child 

Bahay—Balai—House 

Balik—Return

Balita—Berita—News 

Bangkay—Bangkai—Corpse

Bangon—Bangun—Rouse

Bukas—Buka—Open

Buwaya—Buaya—Crocodile 

Dalamhati—Grief

Dahon—Daun—Leaf

Gunting—Scissors

Itik—Duck 

Kambing—Goat 

Kanan—Right

Langit—Sky

Mahal—Expensive

Mura—Murah—Cheap 

Pangulo—Penghulo—President 

Payong—Payung—Umbrella 

Pinggan—Plate 

Sabon—Sabun—Soap

Saksi—Witness

Sukat—Measure 

Takot—Takut—Fear

Tulong—Tolong—Help 

Uban—Gray Hair 

Utak—Otak—Brain 

 

The ties between India and the Philippines date back centuries, resulting in a number of Hindi words finding their way into our language. 

 

Asawa—Swami—Spouse

Budhi—Bodhi—Conscience 

Diwa—Deva—Thought

Dukha—Dukhka—Poor 

Guro—Guru—Teacher 

Mukha—Face 

Sampalataya—Sampratyaya—Faith 

Sutla—Sutra—Silk 

Tala—Tara—Star 

 

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. 

 

Apo—Grandchild 

Ate—Eldest sister 

Batsoy—Pork in soup

Bihon—Rice vermicelli  

Bimpo—Face towel 

Tsaa—tea 

Hikaw—Earrings 

Kuya—Eldest brother 

Lawin—Hawk

Lauriat—Multicourse feast 

Lumpia—Spring roll 

Mami—Noodle soup 

Pancit—Noodles with sauce

Petsay—Chinese cabbage 

Siopao—Meat-filled bun 

Suki—Regular customer 

Tingi—Per piece 

Tokwa—Tofu 

Toyo—Soy sauce 

Wansoy—Cilantro 

 


 

Text by Joy Rojas.

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