Monday, April 13, 2015

20 of the Most Amusing Words in Filipino, the Philippine National Language

I saw a post last week on some of the most beautiful words in Filipino, the Philippine national language. Inspired by this, I would like to share the 20 words in Filipino that I find most amusing.


Sirit (excl.)
 to give up (in a guessing game) 

This is perhaps derived from the English "share it", as in: "I give up, just share it."
Sino ang anak ng Tatay at Nanay mo na hindi mo naman kapatid? Sirit?

Syempre (adv.) 
of coursecertainly

Derived from Spanish "siempre", which means "always."
The meaning could have changed from something always happening to: Of course, it just has to happen.
Eh sinong bestfriend mo do'n? 
Syempre ikaw lang!

        Buysit (adj.) 
expression of exasperation

The term comes from "bullshit." However, the Filipino variation is much milder
and could be used in ordinary conversation.
Nakakabuysit ka talaga! 

Bek (n., v.)
to give back the basketball in a shooting practice; 
the act of giving back the ball in a shooting practice

Perhaps from the English "back", as in: "Hey man, give that ball bek."
Pare, may bek pa yan.


    Sinisituit (v.)
 making sure

Filipino adaptation of the present progressive form of see to it.
Sinisituit talaga namin na sinusunod namin ang game plan.

    Shyumyut (v.)
went in

Filipino adaptation of the past tense of shoot.
Last 2 minutes na, tumira siya, buti na lang at shyumyut.

  Shyinyut (v.)
 went in (focus on person doing the action) 
(I don't know the linguistic term for this, somebody please help.)

Filipino adaptation of the past tense of shoot.
Last 2 minutes! Nakuha nya ang bola. Drinibol. Shyinyut... at... shyumyut!

Miniminimays (v.)
 minimizing (e.g. a computer window)

Filipino adaptation of the present progressive form of minimize.
Kapag minumultitask ko ang aking trabaho sa kompyuter, 
miniminimaynimo ko kung anu-anong windows ang miniminimays ko.

  Iniskan (v.)

Filipino adaptation of the present progressive form of scan. 
Iniskan nya ang litrato.

    Iskinan (v.)
scanned, variation 1

An awkwardly conjugated Filipino adaptation of the present progressive form of scan. 
 Iskinan nya uli ang litrato.

Siniskan (v.)
 scanned, variation 2

A more awkwardly conjugated Filipino adaptation of the present progressive form of scan. 
Siniskan nya na naman ang litrato.


    Nakakapagpabagabag (adj.)
could cause anxiety

I bet you didn't read this word right the first time. Read it ten times, faster each time.
Kapag may kabag ay tunay na nakakapagpabagabag, 
nakakapagpabagabag, nakakapagpabagabag, nakakapagpabagabag.

   Hangal (adj.)

Exaggerate the consonants and you'll have a handy word to use when you're disappointed or angry.
Mga hhha-ng-ng-ng-ngallllll!

  Tampisaw (v.)
to wade in the water

You could see and hear water splashing as you read the word... well, almost.
Masarap magtampisaw sa baybayin.

Wagas (adj.), together with
Walang-maliw (adj.)
pure; endless, faithful

Didn't you feel the purity and faithfulness of these words?
Ang pag-ibig ko'y wagas at walang maliw.

Kagila-gilalas (adj.), together with
    Kapana-panabik (adj.)
daring; exciting

Just reading these words already makes your heart jump.
Nagtanghal sila ng isang kagilagilalas at kapanapanabik na sayaw.

Hanapbuhay (n.; v.)

Literally means to look for a living
Maghanapbuhay para mabuhay,
Habang may buhay ay maghanapbuhay; 
Mabuhay ang hanapbuhay!

Nagdadalang-tao (adj.)

Literally means carrying a person.
Ano!? Nagdadalang-tao siya? 
Malamang. Alangan namang nagdadalang-tsongo!

See also: Sample Tagalog Math Questions in UPCAT (UP College Admission Test)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tempus fugit

Time flies, and, according to Google Translate, you could very well fly too.

At the end of each year (well, almost), I make the following status update on my Facebook wall:

Tempus fugit,
Tu es pangit.

The first sentence quotes an old Latin saying that means "Time flies."
Tempus- Time.
Fugit- It flies / it escapes. 
The second sentence, well, is Latinagalog (mixture of Latin and Tagalog):
Tu es- You are (Latin).
Pangit- Ugly (Tagalog).  
In the first line, "fugit" is read "fu-jit" in Latin, so chances are, in the second line, you will read "pangit" as "pan-jit" and just later on realize that it should really mean "pangit" in Tagalog.

So much for explaining the joke (I don't really like explaining jokes).

This year, I was thinking of making the same post on my Facebook wall. However, I decided to first check how Google Translate would work out its translation. I got the result below.

If I were to accept this translation, I guess for this year I could add another line to my Facebook status:

Tempus fugit,
Tu es pangit;
Fuge, pangit, fuge!*

*Fly, pangit, fly!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Journey to Japanese

As I’ve explained in the About Page of this blog, it is, perhaps, the Japanese language that first got me to be interested in languages.  Two years ago, I decided to study Japanese more seriously.  For the first time, I’ll be studying a language out of sheer interest and not out of some necessity (although studying languages has always been amusing for me). I think I will have to write another post about my great discoveries in Japanese, but for this post, I will just focus on the tools that I have found useful for studying the language. 

Disclaimer: Nope, I haven’t passed (nor attempted) any JLPT exam, and, no, I don’t speak Japanese fluently, much less read or write it with ease.  If you share these with me, welcome to this post, co-language-enthusiast! If you have passed a JLPT exam or could already speak, read or write Japanese, you may recognize some tools here in your own journey to Japanese.


Shortly after deciding to take on Japanese with a bit of seriousness, I looked for some apps that could help me on my journey. I’ve installed several apps, but there are two that really helped a lot.

Splash screen of the app

The first is Human Japanese.  The app's name claims that it’s Japanese for humans. Many think that Japanese is just too difficult that it must be a language impossible for humans to learn. But in reality, Japanese has a simpler grammar and structure than several language that you and I may be familiar with (English and Tagalog, in my case). It also has fewer exceptions in terms of verb transformations (called conjugation) and noun transformations (known as declension). What could be most daunting about this language is its writing system. Japanese uses 3 scripts: two syllabaries called Hiragana and Katakana, plus Kanji, a set of characters derived from Chinese. As if mastering these three scripts were not difficult enough, Japanese offers yet another challenge: A Kanji character has an amusing (or should I say annoying?) characteristic of having 2 possible readings- a Chinese reading and a Japanese reading. This means that the same character could be read in two ways, depending on the characters around it and the meaning intended. Mastering written Japanese is indeed tough and could take a long time. However, the language, its grammar, and its structure are, I repeat, pretty straightforward. The strength of Human Japanese is its approach to learning Japanese from an English-speaking person’s point of view. It makes many comparisons between Japanese and English, providing reasons for Japanese constructs from our own understanding of the English language.  This makes understanding the new language much easier.

Human Japanese has released an intermediate version.  I installed the free version (which has some 10 free chapters or so) upon seeing it in Google Play Store.  In 2 weeks I devoured its content.  The discussion is so smooth and the treatment of lessons so well-thought-of, that reading through it was easy and, actually, entertaining.  But what really convinced me that it is a good app, was when it taught me, in the easiest yet comprehensive way possible, how to handle informal Japanese verb forms.  I have studied these forms in other resources, mostly in YouTube channels, but never have I found a discussion so clear and yet so complete, than in this app. At that moment, I was convinced that this is indeed a great app and so I bought it. Below are some screenshots of the app.

Lessons are immediately applied through some sample sentences and dialogs,
the audio of which can be heard upon clicking on the sentence.

The "ingredients" or elements that make up the sentence are properly broken down for immediate reference
(e.g. the proper kanji reading, also the conjugation of the verb that was used).
Kanji characters are introduced little by little through several chapters.

The kanji characters' readings and sample uses are also provided.

This is the second app that helped me, and continues to help me a lot.  JED is a free Japanese dictionary. You can search for words by typing in romaji (rendering of Japanese words in Roman characters). It gives the Kanji elements, their Japanese and Chinese readings (yes, as mentioned above, Kanji characters can be read in more than one way), and also the radicals (or elements) that make up the Kanji. For verbs, it could give you the different conjugations.  You can tag your favorite words for easy lookup. Below are some screenshots from the app.
Romaji lookup.

Word meaning and probable writing.

Verb conjugations.

More details on the kanji- it's Chinese/on-reading and Japanese/kun-reading.
The radicals or elements of the kanji are also given.

YouTube Channels

This one is a recent (and great) discovery.  I ignored this channel before because I found it too advanced, but when I got a bit more knowledge about the Japanese grammar, it proved to be a very important and enjoyable resource. I suggest the Ekubo Basic Japanese playlist. The lessons are completely in Japanese, but there are English subtitles, so you know what’s going on. I suggest that you use this resource after mastering the Hiragana and Katakana syllabaries and have some elementary knowledge of the Japanese language. It brings your Japanese learning experience to its first full circle- from just reading, to actually hearing the language in simple conversations.

The setting is in a classroom, with a Japanese sensei (teacher) teaching a Chinese or Korean student.  There are several Japanese sentences that the sensei would read slowly,  repeat, and sometimes act out. Just from the mere repetition and action of the sensei, one would get the meaning of the sentence.  There are also funny exchanges between the sensei and her student.

Nihongonomori has lots and lots of Japanese videos. And they continue to make more. They recently launched a series of Japanese lessons for English speakers.


The US Japan Society has a Wakuwaku Japanese playlist that gives short and light Japanese lessons-  more of set-phrases and vocabulary lessons presented in a lively and amusing manner.  Then they also have a Japanese Language series which focuses more on grammar. 

JapanesePod contains lots of playlists on different aspects of the Japanese language. It is in this channel that I learned the Hiragana and Katakana syllabaries. They also have grammar lessons which give you follow through “audio and visual cues”.  These are also helpful.

This is all for now. I’m sure that there are many more excellent resources out there.  Feel free to leave a comment about your experience with some resources you know. 

If you’re wondering where I am now in Human Japanese Intermediate, I’m already more than halfway, and so far, the most difficult thing for me are the Kanji readings. I’m beginning to call the characters Kant-ji, since I can’t seem to master them. Anyway, I’m not in a hurry. Learning Japanese for me is  an experience, and, somehow, I don’t want it to end soon.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Experience

¿Qué voy a escribir hoy? Bueno, quizás puedo hablar sobre mi experiencia en hasta aquí. Estoy disfrutándolo mucho!  Es qué, por fin tengo un medio para practicar Español, en un modo que realmente puedo mejorar sin el miedo de cometer errores. Pues veo qué los errores, cuando me corrigen, son los medios más efectivos para mejorar en un idioma. Creo que, para mí, el obstáculo más grande de aprender un idioma es el miedo a equivocarse. Pero aquí en Lang-8, estoy emocionado de descubrir mis errores por las correcciones que me dan los otros usuarios.  

Además de Español, estoy estudiando Japonés también. Sé solamente las estructuras más básicas de Japonés, pero estaba muy sorprendido cuando descubrí qué ya puedo construir frases completas en Japonés. Además, he descubierto también el modo de escribir en Japonés. Estos es algo muy emocionante e interesante para mi.

Voy a terminar mi publicación aquí. Espera más publicaciones mías en el futuro. Me gustaría ayudaros también, si estáis estudiando Inglés. Hasta luego.

Language Learning through

I discovered this week. Lang-8 is a forum where language learners can learn from each other.  You write posts in the language you are trying to learn, and then you correct posts in your native language. You gain points as you correct more posts. More points help your posts get more attention from other users so that they could be attracted to correct your posts.

The learning experience from Lang-8 comes from learning from your errors. I think the best way to use the website is to just type away what you want to say in your target language without being concerned too much about grammatical or sentence structure errors. The more errors and bias you discover on your spelling, verb conjugations or sentence structures, the better, because then, you would have taken note of your errors so that you don't commit them again.

I think I'll finally be able to make regular posts to this blog through what my posts in  This blog will thus contain my online diary of the corrections I have received in Lang-8.  

Below are sample shots of my most recent posts. The first line is my original text, the second line is a correction from one of the other users.

Post in Spanish

Post in Japanese

Here is the full text of the corrected version of my second post in Spanish.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Et Cetera : Itimology (secret meaning)

Et cetera (frequently abbreviated as etc.) is an expression derived from Latin which could mean any of the following :
  • The speaker wants to say more things, but could no longer do so
  • The speaker wants to give the impression that he knows more than what he can actually say 
  • The speaker has just forgotten what he was about to say next
  • Et cetera, et cetera...

Et cetera means "and other things." It comes from two Latin words
  • et (and)
  • cetera (for the rest)
Note: Itimology is a new section in this blog describing the secret meaning of words.  
It derives from the Filipino word for black- itim, since what is secret is usually something kept in the dark.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sample Tagalog Math Questions in UPCAT (UP College Admission Test)

For those of you who are hesitating to take the UPCAT because you are afraid of the Tagalog questions, and are doubly afraid of the Tagalog Math questions- fear no more!
I have prepared for you sample Tagalog Math Questions to help you hurdle this intimidating entrance exam! Good luck taking the UPCAT! :)

Sample Tagalog Math Questions in UPCAT
T(anong) at S(agot)

T. Kung ang triangle ay tatsulok, ano naman ang square?
S. Patsulok

T. Kuwentahin : Tatlo itinaas sa kapangyarihan ng dalawa.
S. Siyam

T. Kunin ang parisukat na ugat ng apat.
S. Dalawa

T. Ano ang simbolo ng torta*?
S. Wala (o sero).
   * sin(π)

T. Ano naman ang simbolo ng kalahating torta?
S. Isa

T. Isalin ang sumusunod sa isang ekspresyong matematikal : Lima, nagulat.
S. 5!

T. Payb taymis payb is ekwals tu __?
S. Tuwentipayb

T. Problema Bilang 1 :
Pumunta si Pedro sa isang estasyon ng gas.  Ano ang panimulang basa (initial reading) sa makina na namamahagi ng gasolina (gasoline dispenser)

S. Sero-sero.
("Sir, sero-sero," ika nga ng gas boy).

T. Problema Bilang 2:
Ako ay may lobo, lumipad sa langit. Kung ang ekis ay ang bilang ng aking lobo, hanapin ang ekis.

S. Ang ekis ay hindi mailalarawan (undefined)
Katunayan :
Hayaan ang ekis na maging bilang ng (mga) lobo.
Ang (mga) lobo ay lumipad sa langit (Binigay ng Problema).
Hindi na nakita ang lobo (Kung lumipad (ang mga) ito sa langit, malamang di na makikita).
Samakatuwid, hindi na mahahanap ang lobo.
Dahil ang ekis ay ang bilang ng lobo, hindi na mahahanap ang ekis.
Samakatuwid, undefined, o hindi mailalarawan, ang ekis.