Archive for Language Notes

Be A Proud Speaker of Your Regional Dialect

Filipinos are lucky to be surrounded by numerous linguistic communities. Take advantage of this exposure! Let yourself and the children acquire the vernacular and the family language. It is never wise to inhibit the learning of another language even if it may be deemed as 'bakya'. A regional language or dialect is as important as the major and popular languages because aside from the sheer joy and cultural benefits of knowing another language, the exposure to any linguistic system creates a map for the future learning of other languages. The brain can accommodate more than we can imagine, but only if we allow it.

LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE TODAY! Promote your regional dialects wherever you are in the world!



Ilocano York is an advocate of ethnic empowerment and promotion of regional languages and dialects of the Philippines.

Ilocano Songs in New Apple Radio

After updating my mobile to the new iOS 7, the first thing I checked was the music icon. Being a big fan of Pandora, a predictive and automated music service that plays songs based on artists and songs initially chosen by a particular user, I was so happy to see that Apple came out with their own version of online radio that is somewhat similar to Pandora. After trying it out, I think iTunes radio is one step better than Pandora because of its extended list of songs that included OPMs, Filipino singers/bands (and even novelty singers like Yoyoy Villame) and surprisingly, songs in some other Philippine languages including ILOCANO. I made a station for 'Nagimas Kan Mayang' by the Bukros Brothers and the first song that iTunes radio played was 'Biag Ko Sika Lamang'. It was followed by Nora Aunor's cover of Pearly Shell. The picture of the album showed Nora and Tirso in their younger years. I skipped. Next was April Boy Regino 'Paano ang Puso Ko'. I skipped again. Then 'Anak' by Freddie Aguilar. It was followed by a certain Kris Lawrence singing 'Kung Malaya Lang Ako'. I skipped the third time. The next song was 'A Thousand Years'. I didn't order for an English language song so I skipped again. This is when I found out that one can only skip 4 times. I created another station and it has pre-selected 'Ligaya' by the Eraserheads station and Cooky Chua's Color It Red is in iTunes radio as well. Oh my gulay! Try it out and be surprised!


Petition for Ilokano Google

UPDATE from Progress Report on Language Policy, Rights, and Multilingual Services (La Union, Philippines April 2013 by Firth McEachern)


An organization called Nakem Conferences­—dedicated to the research, education, and dissemination of Northern Philippine languages—has created an online petition requesting Google to include Ilokano in their products and services. By adding Ilokano as one of the options in Google Search, users would be able to search the web using Ilokano, instead of just in English or Filipino/Tagalog.

The petition reads:

Dear Google:

We are the Ilokano people, in the Philippines and in the diaspora.

Estimates put the number of speakers of our language at about 11 million in the Philippines alone, or more than 10 percent of the population of that country.

Historically, Ilokano (also known by its other names as Iluco, Iloco, Ilocano) is the language of the Philippine diaspora.

There are millions of peoples of the Philippines and outside the Philippines that use Ilokano as their second, or heritage language.

In Hawaii alone, the Ilokano and Ilokano-descended people comprise between 85 and 90 percent of the Philippine-American population, of that state.

With the return of Ilokano as a language in the MTB-MLE (Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education) policy of the Philippine government, it is now necessary to give access to Ilokano students to the wealth of information Google has. In the state of Hawaii, Ilokano is taught in the university and in some select public high schools as that state's effort to perpetuate the heritage of the Ilokano immigrant community.

It is for this reason that we would like to request that you include Ilokano as a language of option at Google. Your giving us this public space will recognize the voice of millions of our people.

Thank you so much. Agyamankami unay.


To sign the petition, visit:


From a report prepared by Firth M. McEachern Consultant, Office of the Governor Province of La Union |

Cebuano Language Added to Google & Kapampangan Becomes Part of Wikimedia


UPDATE from Progress Report on Language Policy, Rights, and Multilingual Services (La Union, Philippines May 2013 by Firth McEachern)


Cebuano, the second most spoken language in the Philippines – boasting around 25 million speakers – is now supported by internet giant Google, Inc.

 It was announced on May 8, 2013 that Cebuano is now an available language in Google Translate and on Google Search. If one goes to the Philippine portal at, one can see “Cebuano” added next to Filipino as one of the language options. It means that you can search the web using Cebuano as a medium to navigate the web pages.


Meanwhile, if you encounter Cebuano text that you don’t understand, or if you want to translate something into Cebuano, you can access Google Translate via the web at, on your Android or iOS device, or via Chrome and in Gmail.

The addition of Cebuano was announced simultaneous to four other languages: Bosnian, Javanese, Hmong, and Marathi. Google sa Translate misuporta na karon sa kapin sa 70 ka mga! (Google Translate now supports over 70 languages!)

With the exception of Bosnian, the new languages are “alpha versions,” meaning that they continue to be tested and improved over time.

“Google Translate helps bridge the divide between the content available online and people’s ability to access that information,” said Sveta Kelman, Google Translate Program Manager last May 10.
“Familiarizing ourselves with other languages broadens our comprehension for information. It adds more meaning and sincerity in a conversation, too. Cebuano is an important language to us and we hope to have helped ease the language barrier with Google Translate,” added Gail Tan, Google Philippines Communications Manager.

Kapampangan group gets involved in Wikimedia

Wikimedia has confirmed recognition of The Dila Kapampangan chapter as Dila ning Kapampangan Wikimedia Community. As a recognized community in Wikimedia, it is eliglible for grant funding from Wikimedia Foundation for qualified projects. Dila ning Kapampangan Wikimedia Community is henceforth the official representative of the interests of the Kapampangan language in Wikimedia and its components like Wikipedia. Dila Kapampangan also hopes to engage Google on creating Kapampangan Google Search & Google Translate interfaces. [Adapted from email on DILA listserve, May 30 2013.]


From a report prepared by Firth M. McEachern | Consultant, Office of the Governor | Province of La Union |


"‎Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language." Whenever speaking in English, many times my closest friends would catch me mispronounce a lot of words. They would laugh heartily as they constantly ask me questions leading to answers that would require me to speak the mispronounced word repeatedly. Slow to realize it, I would fall for the language trap several times. Initially irked, I would later see the mistake for all its worth. I realize that such paux pas isn't an insufficiency from my part, but a disadvantage stemming from a competency in another language. Phonological confusion is a production failure common among mutilinguals who speak languages that have varying phonological structures. A lot of times, in the most excited moment, a word is blurted out wrong even if the speaker has already attained fluency in a second language. Recently, I overheard a friend say, "hamberjer". Many times I said "iskars" to mean scarce or very little. The local priest says "tenk yu" to everyone, while a Marian devotee invited me to a "sinakel". My linguistics professor in college often corrected me whenever I say "etch" for letter H, instead of  "aitch". To a lot of Ilocanos I know, table becomes "teybel", edible is "edibel" and there becomes "dear". P sound  is interchanged with F, B with V and TH-sound with D. Filipinos lose the aspiration (or the air coming out of the mouth as one speaks a sound) when pronouncing words with initial sounds like T, B, P and K. Being mutilingual, though a gift, sometimes have its compromises. But it's okay. Mispronounced or not, I think I am luckier than my American neighbor who only speaks one. Here are YouTube videos about Filipino accents: Video 1 Funny yet informative language lesson with Mikey Bustos  Video 2 Russel Peters'  joke on Filipino Accent Video 3 Tim Tayag's stand-up act about ESL Video 4 Archiezzle on Filipino Accent

Ilocano 101: Superficial Anatomy

Superficial anatomy or surface anatomy is the study of anatomical landmarks that can be readily seen from the contours or the surface of the body. Ilocano 101: Superficial Anatomy is the study of these parts in its Ilocano term.  To complete this list, I have to research for days. Hard, hard task ... I just realized that my Ilocano lexicon is limited. My list is still incomplete. This needs community collaboration. Here is the preliminary list of  external body parts with its Ilocano counterpart,  from top to bottom: Head - ulo Face - rupa Hair - buok Forehead - muging Eyes - mata Eyebrow - kiday Eyelash - kurimatmat Dimple - kallit /Kal-lit/ Ears - lapayag Earlobe - piditpidit Cheeks - pingping Nose - agong Mouth - ngiwat Palate - ngangaw Saliva - katay Lips - bibig Teeth - ngipin /ngii-pun/ Chin - timid Neck - tingnged /ting-nged/ Nape - teltel /Tul-tul/ like in turtle Throat - karabukob Shoulder - abaga Arms - takyag Armpit - kilikili Elbow - siku Hands - ima Wrist - pungwapungwan Palm of the hand - dakulap Fist - danog Fingers- ramay Thumb - tangan Index finger - tammudo /tam-mu-do/ Last finger - kikit Nails - kuko Chest - barukong Ribs - paragpag Breast - susu Nipples - mungaymungay Navel - puseg Abdomen - tiyan Lower Abs - buyong /buy-ong/ Back - bukot Vagina - uki, pepet Clitoris - tilde Penis - buto, billet /bil-let(metaphorical) Pubic hair - ormot Testes - batillog  /ba-til-log/,  ukel-ukel Buttocks - ubet Anus - kirret /kir-ret/, kimmut /kim-mut/ Hips - patong Groin - sillang /sil-lang/ Thigh - luppo /lup-po/ Legs - gurong Calf - bugibugi Knee - tumeng Hock - lakko /lak-ko/ Ankles - lipay-lipay Feet - saka Heel - mukod Sole - dapan Body - bagi Skin - kudil Skin hair - dutdut Beard - barbas Mole - siding Completed with help from Camilenos and some Ilocano Yorks. For further information, below is a 3D rendering of the Human Body by Google. Names are in English.,m:1,sk:1,c:1,o:1,ci:1,l:1,n:1&nav=3.01,44.18,160&sel=p:;h:;s:;c:0;o:0  

The American ‘How are you.’ versus the Pinoy ‘How are you?’

This afternoon I saw a familiar face in the neighborhood and greeted, "How are you." While saying it  I kept on walking and by the time I was done, the guy was no longer in sight.  That was the end of it. An initiation that was discontinued. If this was in Philippine context, it would be deemed  impolite, insincere and somewhat pretentious. Fast forward 5 years. I recall that whenever asked, "How was your weekend?" on a Monday morning, my typical response would be a litany of what I did from Friday up to the last thing I did on Sunday night. I would go on and on until the conversation --or so I thought it was a conversation-- was dropped. At that time, I probably was too focused on the production of the foreign tongue that I didn't notice my workmate's reception. Or maybe she was just being nice to ever cut me off. Knowing what I know now, I could just imagine what she was thinking. She probably thought I was too gabby or worse, very self-absorbed. Language reflects thought and culture, vice versa. In New York, where every minute is precious, even greetings are cut back to make more time for other things deemed more important. In the Philippines, this same question would have been followed up with statements bordering on the lines of insult and personal, "Uuuuy and taba mo na. " (Translation: Hey, you've gained weight.).  Back there this would be received warmly while in US context, it's mean and inappropriate. And this greeting would drag and turn into a conversation even. The American How are you didn't require a real answer. The question is rhetorical and the expected answer, regardless of the current emotional being of the person, is always 'I'm okay' or its variants: Good-good, I'm all right or if you have 5 seconds to spare, throw back another "How are you" -- one that is also bereft of a question mark and functions more like, "Bye now! I still have a lot to do." So in the my most American way, now I say --- How are you?

Counting One to Ten in Ilocano

Have you ever wondered how  it would be  if  Transylvanian Count von Count, or simply The Count of Sesame Street, were Ilocano? AH AH AH AH AH! (Thunder!)
Count counting in Ilocano this time

Count von Count

Picture him counting Ilocano girls (ba-la-sang). Maysa nga balasang! (May-sa is One.) Duwa nga balasang! (Du-wa is two.) Tallo nga balasang! (Tal-lo is three.) Uppat nga balasang! (Up-pat is four.) Lima nga balasang! (Li-ma is five.) Innim nga balasang! (In-nim is six.) Pitu nga balasang! (Pi-tu is seven.) Walo nga balasang! (Wa-lo is eight.) Siam nga balasang! (Syam is nine.) Sangapulo nga balasang! (Sa-nga-pu-lo is ten.) AH AH AH AH AH! (Thunder!)

Ilocano Adjectives

Ilocano adjectives, in its most basic form, usually starts with the prefix na- or nag- with the former used for emphasis or simply euphonic purposes. Prefix nag- is mostly used in interjections. Examples: Ilocano ==>Syllabic parsing ==>Tagalog  ==> English ==> Emphasis Napintas ==> /na-pin-tas/ ==> maganda ==> pretty ==> nagpintas Nagalas ==> /na-ga las/==> pangit ==> ugly ==> naggalas Nakuttong ==> /na-kut-tong/ ==> payat ==> thin ==> nagkuttong Nalugmek ==> /na-luk-meg/  ==> mataba ==> fat ==> naglukmeg Nabanglo ==> /na-bang-lo/  ==> mabango ==> fragrant ==> nagbanglo Nabangsit ==>/ na-bang-sit/ ==> mabaho ==> smelly ==> nagbangsit