Ilocano language, culture, literature

Friday, September 22, 2006

Philippine Ergativity... er, errors

I read Ricardo Ma. Nolasco's DRAFT for What Philippine Ergativity Really Means at the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino website and found what I believe to be errors in the Ilocano examples and inaccuracies in their English translations.

[In case you're wondering what ergativity means, this is Wiki's take on the matter: The distinguishing feature of an ergative language is that it maintains an equivalence between the object of a transitive verb and the subject of an intransitive verb, while treating the agent of a transitive verb differently. This contrasts with nominative-accusative languages (such as English), where the subject of transitive and intransitive verbs are treated like each other but distinctly from the object of a transitive verb. Too technical? You bet! I won't go, however, into ergativity at this time; that will be the subject of another blog.]

On Table 4 (Personal Pronouns), there's something wrong with the code "12" for 1st person ("I") and 2nd person ("You"). You and I would be the plural "We", and this, if I remember my grammar (Ilocano or English or Tagalog) cannot be singular! The possessive "natin" under A (Agent) Sg (singular) for "12" under Tagalog implies more than one--and is therefore plural, NOT singular. I think Mr. Nolasco means the singular possessive "akin" for "mine" in this instance, instead of the possessive plural "natin" (ours). Of course the suffixes he listed under singular 12 are all plural!

Here are some samples:

Example 8:

"Rinugianna ketdi ti nangisuro" actually translates better into "He/She started, however, to teach."

"Rinugianna manen ti nangisuro" means "He/She started again to teach."

Example 14:

"Nagisagana a dagus ni baket iti pangaldaw mi" sounds stiff compared to "Nangisagana a dagus ni baket iti pangaldaw mi." This translates into: "My wife prepared our lunch immediately."

Mr. Nolasco's English translation, "My wife went to prepare our breakfast", actually is most nearly, "Napan nangisagana ni baket iti pamigat."

"Pamigat" and "pangaldaw", give or take an hour or two, are on the average 6 hours apart!

Example 15:

"Nangaldaw kami" more accurately translates into "We had lunch".

Mr. Nolasco's English translation, "We took breakfast", as pointed in the previous example, is wrong. "We took lunch" would indicate an act of physically taking/bringing lunch from one location and probably eating it somewhere else.

Example 20:

"Dayta a lalaki, sinerraknak ket kayatnak a gundawayan."

Mr. Nolasco probably means "Dayta a lalaki, sinerreknak ket kayatnak a gundawayan". "Serrek" is from the word "sumrek" or "sumbrek". The sentence literally translates into: "That man, he entered me and wanted to abuse me." Idiomatically, the sentence translates into "That man, he violated (raped) me."

"This man, he forcibly entered my house and he wants to abuse me" more accurately translates into "Daytoy a lalaki, nagpilit a simrek iti balayko ket kayatnak a gundawayan."

Example 21:

"Inserraknak" should be "Inserreknak."

Example 24:

"No ania ti makunam, Marian, ulientanto a dua." The "ulientanto" is a future tense form. And the "dua" thing implies either the two of them are going to climb something or that they will climb two whatever. In other words, the sentence could be construed: "Whatever you say, Marian, the two of us will climb it" or "Whatever you say, Marian, we will climb the two."

Example 29:

"Tinakderanna ti dadaitenna", is the idiomatic equivalent of "He/She stopped sewing."

Example 30:

"Bimmangon ni Ponso sana matmatan ti bola" should be "Bimmangon ni Ponso sana minatmatan ti bola" to mean "Ponso got up then looked at the ball."

Example 31:

"Nabayag a nagtakder iti asideg ti tawa ti kuartoda" most nearly translates into "He/She stood for a long time near their room window."

Example 36:

Same as Example 14.

Example 37:

"Insagana aminen dagiti masapsapul." There's a missing suffix to "insagana" to clarify the agent. "Insaganana aminen a masapsapul" translates most nearly into "He/She prepared all that is needed."

Example 43:

"Sinitsitan ni Diputado Agaton ti guardia. Immasideg daytoy." most nearly translates into "Congressman Agaton called the attention of the guard." To imply that it is the guard who moved toward the Congressman in the latter sentence is obviously an invocation of social rank protocol.

You tell me what kind of imagination went into Mr. Nolasco’s translation of the above: “Congressman said “psst” to the guard. He (the guard) drew closer.”

Example 50a:

"Sipapalubosak nga agkasarkayo ngem masapul nga isublim ti nagastok iti panagadal na. Lima ribu!" most nearly translates into "You have my permission to get married but you have to return what I spent for her education. Five thousand!"

Mr. Nolasco's translation "I agree, but you must return the money I spent in sending her to school. Five thousand pesos!" translates more nearly into "Umannugotak, ngem masapul nga isublim ti cuarta a nagastok a nangpaadal kencuana. Lima ribu a pisos!" Entirely missed what "I" was agreeing to.

Articles, pronouncements, etc., coming from the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, especially those posted on its website are usually taken by people like you and me (I?) as official position papers or declaration of public policy. We urge then that the information posted on the KWF website, draft or whatever, be carefully researched, rechecked or authenticated to merit our trust.

8 Comments:

  • At Sunday, September 24, 2006 6:45:00 AM, Anonymous Ricardo Nolasco said…

    Thank you for going over the draft and expressing interest over that article. there's a more updated version, which I haven't provided the editors. But you may find this reply useful.

    --- Joe Padre (joepadre@sbcglobal.net) wrote:

    Dear Mr. Nolasco,

    Re your draft for the above-titled article at the KWF website, I found some errors in the Ilocano examples and inaccuracies in their English translations.

    On Table 4 (Personal Pronouns), there's something wrong with the code "12" for 1st person ("I") and 2nd person ("You"). What you probably mean is the plural "We", and this, if I remember my grammar (Ilocano or English or Tagalog) cannot be a singular possessive! The "natin" under A (Agent) Sg (singular) for "12" under Tagalog implies more than one--and is therefore plural, NOT singular. I think you mean the singular possessive "akin" for "mine" in this instance, instead of the possessive plural "natin" (ours). Of course the suffixes you listed under singular 12 are all plural!

    RN comment: Number in Philippine type languages is much unlike English, where there is a dichotomy between singular and plural. Traditionalists would analyze "ako" as singular and "kami" as "plural, exclusive" and "tayo" as "inclusive". But that is analyzing it the english way. My analysis is different because, what we have here is a distinction between a minimal set and the maximal set. "12" is the minimal set for dual number, which includes the addressee, and 12 plus 3, is the maximum set for that category. There would no longer be any need for the exclusive and inclusive distinction.

    Example 8:

    "Rinugianna ketdi ti nangisuro" actually translates better into "He/She started, however, to teach."

    "Rinugianna manen ti nangisuro" means "He/She started again to teach."

    RN comment: You may have a point here.

    Example 14:

    "Nagisagana a dagus ni baket iti pangaldaw mi" sounds stiff compared to "Nangisagana a dagus ni baket iti pangaldaw mi." This translates into: "My wife prepared our lunch immediately."

    RN comment: This example was taken from a Bannawag story, so i defer to the author. The "pangaldaw" translation error, i already corrected. But the real point here, is the retention of the "i-" affix in what many refer to as the anti-passive construction.

    Your English translation, "My wife went to prepare our breakfast", actually is most nearly, "Napan nangisagana ni baket iti pamigat."

    "Pamigat" and "pangaldaw", give or take an hour or two, are on the average 6 hours apart!

    RN comment: thanks.

    Example 15:

    "Nangaldaw kami" more accurately translates into "We had lunch".

    RN comment: thanks again.

    Your English translation, "We took breakfast", as pointed in the previous example, is wrong. "We took lunch" would indicate an act of physically taking/bringing lunch from one location and probably eating it somewhere else.

    Example 20:

    "Dayta a lalaki, sinerraknak ket kayatnak a gundawayan."

    You probably mean "Dayta a lalaki, sinerreknak ket kayatnak a gundawayan". "Serrek" is from the word "sumrek" or "sumbrek".

    RN comment: "sumrek" is the root "serrek" plus the infix -um-.

    The sentence literally translates into: "That man, he entered me and wanted to abuse me." Idiomatically, the sentence translates into "That man, he violated (raped) me."

    "This man, he forcibly entered my house and he wants to abuse me" more accurately translates into "Daytoy a lalaki, nagpilit a simrek iti balayko ket kayatnak a gundawayan."

    Example 21:

    "Inserraknak" should be "Inserreknak."

    RN comment: already corrected in the latest version.

    Example 24:

    "No ania ti makunam, Miriam, ulientanto a dua." The "ulientanto" is a future tense form. And the "dua" thing implies either the two of them are going to climb something or that they will climb two whatever. In other words, the sentence could be construed: "Whatever you say, Miriam, the two of us will climb it" or "Whatever you say, Miriam, we will climb the two."

    RN comments: i do not subscribe to the tense category for philippine type languages. i use tense-aspect. the pragmatics of the situation in this particular instance would indicate an exhortative construal, and therefore a non-past or imperative reading.

    Example 29:

    "Tinakderanna ti dadaitenna", is the idiomatic equivalent of "He/She stopped sewing."

    Example 30:

    "Bimmangon ni Ponso sana matmatan ti bola" should be "Bimmangon ni Ponso sana minatmatan ti bola" to mean "Ponso got up then looked at the ball."

    RN comment: taken from a bannawag article, but i will check.

    Example 31:

    "Nabayag a nagtakder iti asideg ti tawa ti kuartoda" most nearly translates into "He/She stood for a long time near their room window."

    Example 36:

    Same as Example 14.

    Example 37:

    "Insagana aminen dagiti masapsapul." There's a missing suffix to "insagana" to clarify the agent. "Insaganana aminen a masapsapul" translates most nearly into "He/She prepared all that is needed."

    Example 43:

    "Sinitsitan ni Diputado Agaton ti guardia. Immasideg daytoy." most nearly translates into "Congressman Agaton called the attention of the guard." To imply that it is the guard who moved toward the Congressman in the latter sentence is obviously an invocation of social rank protocol.

    Example 50a:

    "Sipapalubosak nga agkasarkayo ngem masapul nga isublim ti nagastok iti panagadal na. Lima ribu!" most nearly translates into "You have my permission to get married but you have to return what I spent for her education. Five thousand!"

    Your translation "I agree, but you must return the money I spent in sending her to school. Five thousand pesos!" translates more nearly into "Umannugotak, ngem masapul nga isublim ti cuarta a nagastok a nangpaadal kencuana. Lima ribu a pisos!" Entirely missed what "I" was agreeing to.

    RN comment: your translation sounds more idiomatic. thanks.

    Hope you find these suggestions helpful.

    RN comment: I did.

    Joe Padre


    (NOTE: R. Nolasco’s comments, emailed Setp 23, 2006, are in bold.)

     
  • At Tuesday, September 26, 2006 12:41:00 PM, Blogger ariel said…

    dear joe and ricky:
    nagpintas daytoyen a panaginnala iti kapampanunotan!

     
  • At Tuesday, September 26, 2006 3:50:00 PM, Blogger Joe Padre said…

    Mr. Nolasco’s very own definition, 12 = 1st and 2nd person, on the Page 1 footnote of his article indicates a plural form (note the word “and”). Hence, in Table 4 (on Page 5), the suffix “-ta” under Column Sg (singular) for Ilokano for Row S (“= only argument of intransitive construction”), and Row A (“= Agent or Source of the Action”), and Row P (“= Patient or most affected entity”), and “kanyata” for Row OBL (= Oblique”), are all PLURAL forms.

    It could have helped if Mr. Nolasco gave us some examples of singular 12 construction among the Ilocano examples. If there is, it completely eluded me.

    In the meantime, let me hazard a few examples of an intransitive construction using the intransitive verb “mapan” (to go):

    For S, A, and P: Mapanta. (Let’s go.)

    For OBL: “Mapan kanyata.” (Let’s go to us.)

    I could also think of a transitive construction using, for example, the verb “ited” (to give):

    For S, A, and P: Itedta ti singsing. (Let’s give the ring.)

    For OBL: “Ited ti singsing kanyata.” (Let’s give the ring to us.)

    If you can come up with a singular construction of the personal pronoun form in my own examples above, I promise to convince those distinguished scientists/astronomers to vote Pluto back as a member of the solar system!

    On Mr. Nolasco’s Example 24:

    My comment: "No ania ti makunam, Marian, ulientanto a dua." The "ulientanto" is a future tense form. And the "dua" thing implies either the two of them are going to climb something or that they will climb two whatever. In other words, the sentence could be construed: "Whatever you say, Marian, the two of us will climb it" or "Whatever you say, Marian, we will climb the two."

    Mr. Nolasco's Comments: i do not subscribe to the tense category for philippine type languages. i use tense-aspect. the pragmatics of the situation in this particular instance would indicate an exhortative construal, and therefore a non-past or imperative reading.

    Mr. Nolasco's translation "What are you implying, Marian, that we two scale it (the mountain)" most nearly translates into "Ania't kayatmo a sawen, Marian, ulienta a dua (ti bantay)".

    I don't quite get Mr. Nolasco's point here because "ulientanto" is significantly different from "ulienta"--the former expresses an action in the future whereas the latter expresses an action in the present--yet both, I believe, indicate an "exhortative construal".

    Kenca Ariel: Yamanec unay, Adingco, no “pacabang-aram” ti panaggulagolmi a binalud dagiti samotsamot. Mabalin ngata a namnamaen ti panangipuruac mo ditoy iti salvavida inton umapay ti panangngaasim… Nangruna ket diac met napan inadal daytoy—ar-aramatec la ti sentido común.

     
  • At Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:35:00 PM, Anonymous Dr. Jessie Grace Rubrico said…

    >>> On Table 4 (Personal Pronouns), there's something wrong with the code "12" for 1st person ("I") and 2nd person ("You"). What you probably mean is the plural "We", and this, if I remember my grammar (Ilocano or English or Tagalog) cannot be a singular possessive! The "natin" under A (Agent) Sg (singular) for "12" under Tagalog implies more than one--and is therefore plural, NOT singular. I think you mean the singular possessive "akin" for "mine" in this instance, instead of the possessive plural "natin" (ours). Of course the suffixes you listed under singular 12 are all plural! <<<

    R. Nolasco Comment: Number in Philippine type languages is much unlike English, where there is a dichotomy between singular and plural. Traditionalists would analyze "ako" as singular and "kami" as "plural, exclusive" and "tayo" as "inclusive". But that is analyzing it the english way. My analysis is different because, what we have here is a distinction between a minimal set and the maximal set. "12" is the minimal set for dual
    number, which includes the addressee, and 12 plus 3, is the maximum set for that category. There would no longer be any need for the exclusive and inclusive distinction.


    The suffix -ta as an Ilocano personal pronoun form implies you and me and if I know how to count on my fingers properly--whether in English or Ilocano--that, ma'am, is unmistakeably a plural form!

    J. G. Rubrico Comment: Plural number is theoretically singular + 1. Dual is of course plural! I'd say this is the motivation for inclusive form/concept account in most Philippine languages. So dual form "kata" fits into this frame. However, speakers nowadays seldom use "kata". It is supplanted by the more common form "tayo" as in "kain tayo" –where "tayo" can mean "ikaw at ako" or "ikaw + ako + sila (or, "ako + kayo at ako").

    The dual form of pronouns, in the parlance of the minimalist, is a parameter set by the language on the universal principles of grammar (UG). Thus, Philippine languages, generally come up with seven forms (three for singular and four for plural -2 forms for "we"). Presently, the dual is no longer given specific form in Cebuano where "ikaw ug ako" is simply "kita" which is also the plural form of the said structure (ikaw + ako + siya/sila = kita). There is, of course, the form "ta ka" or its variance, "tika" (as in "patyon ta ka/patyon tika", I'll kill you), where "ta" refers to "I" and "ka" is the inclitic form of "ikaw".

    The inclusive/exclusive dichotomy is a useful point of reference for foreigners who are learning, or researching on, the language.
    My analysis of pronouns is as follows. Pronouns are inflected for:

    (1) case (i.e, (a) nominative, when it functions as subject/topic of the sentence; (b) accusative, object of the verb; (c) dative when it is the recipient/beneficiary of the action.

    (2) number-–singular and plural; and in the case of Philippine language, dual (ikaw at ako)

    (3) person-–first, second, and third persons


    ------------------------
    Example 24:

    "No ania ti makunam, Marian, ulientanto a dua." The "ulientanto" is a future tense form. And the "dua" thing implies either the two of them are going to climb something or that they will climb two whatever. In other words, the sentence could be construed: "Whatever you say, Marian, the two of us will climb it" or "Whatever you say, Marian, we will climb the two."

    R. Nolasco Comments: i do not subscribe to the tense category for philippine type languages. i use tense-aspect. the pragmatics of the situation in this particular instance would indicate an exhortative construal, and therefore a non-past or imperative reading.

    Mr. Nolasco's translation "What are you implying, Marian, that we two scale it (the mountain)" most nearly translates into "Ania't kayatmo a sawen, Marian, ulienta a dua (ti bantay)".

    I don't quite get Mr. Nolasco's point here because "ulientanto" is significantly different from "ulien ta"--the former expresses an action in the future whereas the latter expresses an action in the present--yet both indicate an "exhortative construal".

    J. G. Rubrico Comment: Nolasco is referring to verbal inflection for aspect instead of tense. I've adopted this paradigm way back in 1996 for Cebuano verbal sentences. Aspectual inflection states the state of the action –completed, progressive, intended. It differs with time of the action –past, present, or future. I've adopted this for Cebuano because the verbal affixes generally do not differentiate between completed and progressive actions.

     
  • At Thursday, September 28, 2006 4:23:00 AM, Blogger Joe Padre said…

    On the personal pronouns, I do remember the second person singular construction, which is basically a form of deference or respect for someone:

    Tagalog: Maupo kayo (in lieu of "Maupo ka"), "(Please) have a seat" or "(Please) sit"

    Ilocano: Agtugaw kayo (in lieu of "Agtugaw ka"), "(Please) have a seat" or "(Please) sit"

     
  • At Thursday, September 28, 2006 4:26:00 AM, Anonymous Dr. Jessie Grace Rubrico said…

    You're right here, Joe. This form involves extra-linguistic dynamics. "Kayo" here is the formal "You" as in "Usted" in Espanol. Another form is "sila" where you say "Sino po sila?" instead of "Sino po kayo?" My group in anthropological linguistics did a paper on pronouns as an indicator of culture. I'd send you a copy if you want one and as soon as I can locate it in my files.

     
  • At Monday, October 02, 2006 9:31:00 PM, Blogger ariel said…

    patgek a joe:
    daytoy ti maikanatad a diskurso ken diskutir--dagitoy rumrummuar a panagsasalisal ti kapampanunotan. uray no kunam a dimo inadal ti lengguahe, namnamsek nga amang dagiti kapampanunotam ngem kadagiti nagkaadu a pada nga agkaraiwara a di met agpampanunot.

    nalalapsat dagiti ideam, joe, ket sapay koma ta idalanmokami agingga iti kabaelam.

    saan a nalpas a saritaan dagitoy isyu ti ilokano, ti Filipino, ken dagiti lengguahe a babassit.

    adu, kas pagarigan dagiti matmatayen, ket patpatayen met ti Tagalog a kunkunada a Filipino, ket namak pay no dumtengto ti aldaw nga awanton ti sabali nga uni a mangngeg iti Filipinas no di dagiti laengen uni dagiti dominante a pagsasao.

    daytoy ti pakadanagak, kaka, ta uray kadagiti unibersidad ket agbalinda met nga instrumento iti kastoy nga agtultuloy a dominasion.

    anian a kinakas-ang!

    ala, igaedyo koma latta ti agsukisok para kadakami--ken para iti sumaruno a kaputotan.

     
  • At Tuesday, October 03, 2006 10:06:00 AM, Blogger Joe Padre said…

    To Ariel: Thanks for the kind words. And although I tend to believe you have overshot your quota of superlatives showered my way, I may just have it flow, soak it in and proclaim that flattery, contrary to previous pronouncements, sometimes salves the aches of those engaged in this thankless crusade for such a boring cause as the improvement of the Ilocano language.

    People who think Ilocano is already improved, specifically its orthography for instance, have erroneously placed a period, instead of a series of commas in the ongoing evolution of the language. What you and I have to say may wind up in the harsh dustbin of history as worthless. But they can't say we didn't care to participate in the dialogue. And from my low vantage point, they also serve they who only stand and...

    No la ketdi mataginayon ti anges ket agsisinnaranaytayo a mangital-o iti Ilocano, apay ket din a dinto dumteng ti canito a maipangag met dagiti amamitayo?

     

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