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Lesson Transcript


Alisha: How did Spanish affect Filipino?
Danilo: And have any other languages influenced Filipino?
Alisha: At FilipinoPod101.com, we hear these questions often. In this scenario, Karen Lee is talking to a teacher, Rose Reyes, about the Filipino language. She asks, "How many Spanish words are there in Filipino?"
Karen Lee: Ilang Español na salita ang mayroon sa Pilipino?
Karen Lee: Ilang Español na salita ang mayroon sa Pilipino?
Rose Reyes: Tingin ko mga 4000.
Alisha: Once more with the English translation.
Karen Lee: Ilang Español na salita ang mayroon sa Pilipino?
Alisha: "How many Spanish words are there in Filipino?"
Rose Reyes: Tingin ko mga 4000.
Alisha: "I think around 4000. "

Lesson focus

Alisha: In this lesson, we will be discussing the influence of Spanish on the Filipino language. We will also be telling you how other languages have influenced Filipino.
Spain ruled over the Philippines for more than three hundred years, so the powerful influence Spanish has on the Filipino language should come as no surprise. In fact, the influence was so profound that it even affected Philippine family lineage and identity. In the eighteen hundreds, many Filipino families changed their last names to Spanish names. This was not by choice. In 1849, the Spanish governor of the Philippines declared that all Philippine native last names were to be abolished. Families had to choose new ones from a list of Spanish last names. This is why, today, one can still find many Spanish last names in the Philippines. Among these are
Danilo: Garcia, [pause] Reyes, [pause] Vasquez
Alisha: and
Danilo: Ramos,
Alisha: to name just a few. That said, there are still some native Filipino names remaining these days because not all of the families cooperated with this law.
The Spanish influence extends to everyday usage of Filipino as well. In fact, about twenty to thirty percent of Filipino words are Spanish. This amounts to between four and six thousand Spanish words in Filipino. Words like
Danilo: cocina
Alisha: meaning "kitchen" and
Danilo: coche
Alisha: meaning "car" are no different from the words used in Spain to refer to these things. Spanish has approximately ten dialects, but the two main dialects are Castilian and Andalusian. Some of the Spanish words used in Filipino are borrowed from one of these and not the other. For example, the word that is used for the vegetable "bean" in Filipino is
Danilo: habichuela
Alisha: and this is the same word used to refer to "bean" in the Andalusian dialect but not in the Castilian dialect. In Castilian Spanish, the word is either
Danilo: judía
Alisha: or
Danilo: alubia
Alisha: In the same way, many Castilian words are also found in Filipino, but their Andalusian equivalents are different.
The Spanish influence is also found in words that are of Spanish origin but that have been altered somewhat to have a more Filipino flavor. One example of this adaptation is with the word
Danilo: kumusta
Alisha: which is a common greeting in Filipino. It is based on the Spanish greeting
Danilo: ¿Cómo estás?
Alisha: which means, "How are you?" Another example of a word that has been slightly adapted from the Spanish is the Filipino word for "electric fan," which is
Danilo: bentilador
Alisha: The original Spanish word is
Danilo: ventilador.
Alisha: As you might expect, there are many examples of this kind of adaptation. In these two cases, the pronunciation and spelling are different from the original Spanish, but, in many cases, it is just the spelling that has been "Filipinized," as it were. Consider the Filipino word for "God," which is
Danilo: Diyos
Alisha: This is spelled D-I-Y-O-S, but the original Spanish word
Danilo: Dios
Alisha: is spelled D-I-O-S. In other words, the Filipino spelling includes a ‘Y' between the ‘I' and the ‘O'. Another example of this change of spelling can be seen with the Filipino word for "handsome," which is
Danilo: gwapo.
Alisha: This word is spelled G-W-A-P-O, while the Spanish word
Danilo: guapo
Alisha: is spelled G-U-A-P-O. In other words, the ‘U' in Spanish has been changed into a ‘W' in Filipino. Changing a ‘U' to a ‘W' is a common spelling difference between many Filipino words and the original Spanish words. This happens when the pronunciation of the particular part of the original Spanish word sounds like a ‘W'. This is also done with ‘C' and ‘K' quite a lot. The Filipino version of a word will often be spelled with a ‘K' instead of the ‘C' in the original Spanish word. Consider, for instance, the original Spanish word for "story," which is
Danilo: cuento
Alisha: and is spelled C-U-E-N-T-O. The Filipino word sounds very similar, but it is spelled K-W-E-N-T-O:
Danilo: kwento
Alisha: As you can hear, there is very little difference in pronunciation, but the spelling of the Filipino word replaces the initial ‘C' and ‘U' in the Spanish word with a ‘K' and a ‘W'.
In some cases, Filipino words are based on Mexican Spanish. Consider the Spanish word for "computer," which is
Danilo: ordenador
Alisha: This can be used in the same way in Filipino, but a variation of the Mexican equivalent can also be used. The original Mexican word sounds like this:
Danilo: computadora
Alisha: and the Filipino word is
Danilo: computador.
Alisha: Still pretty close, right? Another example of this borrowing from Mexican Spanish is in the use of the word
Danilo: busina
Alisha: which refers to a "speaker"—the electrical device. The original Spanish is
Danilo: altavoz.
Alisha: As said, Spanish is not the only language that Filipino has borrowed from. English has also had an influence on Filipino. For instance, the Filipino word
Danilo: abokado
Alisha: is based on the English "avocado." The original Spanish word for this vegetable is
Danilo: aguacate.
Alisha: Another word that is based on an English word is
Danilo: kasoy.
Alisha: The English word is "cashew." Of course, one could argue that these English words are based on words from other languages, as if often the case with English, but the point is that the Filipino usage was influenced by English. There are many other languages that have influenced Filipino, including Chinese and Japanese as well as various Austronesian languages. Among these is Tagalog, which is almost identical to Filipino.
Practice Section
Alisha: Let's review what we heard in this lesson. I will say the target sentence in English, then you should respond by saying the sentence out loud in Filipino. Danilo will then model the correct answer. Listen to him carefully, with the focus on pronunciation, and then repeat. The first sentence is "How many Spanish words are there in Filipino?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Danilo: Ilang Español na salita ang mayroon sa Pilipino?
Alisha: Did you get it right? Listen to Jesper again, and repeat.
Danilo: Ilang Español na salita ang mayroon sa Pilipino?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Danilo: Ilang Español na salita ang mayroon sa Pilipino?
Alisha: The second sentence is "I think around 4000. "
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Danilo: Tingin ko mga 4000.
Alisha: How did you do this time? Again, listen to Danilo and repeat.
Danilo: Tingin ko mga 4000.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Danilo: Tingin ko mga 4000.
Cultural Expansion
Alisha: As I mentioned previously, the Filipino language was influenced by many languages, but it is based primarily on Tagalog. Tagalog, in turn, is part of the Western Austronesian family of languages that include the Javanese, Indonesian, and Malay languages. While the two languages—Filipino and Tagalog—are almost identical, the Philippine government has gone to great lengths to create a distinction between them. The reason for this is a politico-social one. When the Philippines became fully independent in 1946, there was discontent among the non-Tagalog peoples of the Philippines because Tagalog was the national language at the time. Non-Tagalog people saw this as a form of cultural and ethnic dominance because Tagalog was the native language of the ethnic Tagalog peoples. In order to deal with this issue, the government renamed the national language "Pilipino." Later, in 1987, the name of the language was again changed, this time to the name we use to this day—Filipino.


Alisha: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Danilo: Paalam.
Alisha: See you soon!