Language play

I always find it funny how one same word can mean different things in Bisaya and Tagalog. Take for one the word “langgam”. Langgam in Tagalog is ant. But langgam in Bisaya is bird. Amazing isn’t it?

And well, there are a number of words in Tagalog which are taboo in Bisaya because they allude to sexual things. In the same way, there are a number of innocent words in Bisaya which is considered sexual in Tagalog. Back when I’ve just started working and just getting to know our field of work and would often get confused (well, I still get confused even up to now), I was even more frustrated by the mere fact that I cannot express my exasperated confusion as I deem it fit because the word I want to use – naglibog – which means “I’m confused” in Bisaya, means “I’m horny” (pardon the language) in Tagalog. I feel that the Tagalog translation “nalilito” is too weak for what I felt that’s why I want to use “naglibog” but obviously I cannot use it in the office. Thankfully, I can say it to my closest Tagalog friends who thankfully understand how I feel, even when they were giggling as I say it.

There are some Tagalog words too that we have to be careful in using here in Japan as they mean something negative here in Japan. Take for one, “baka” which in Tagalog can be either cow or maybe but in Nihongo means foolish.

And just this evening, Hubs told me that the Nihongo for the verb “kneading” as you’d do for the mochi or a dough is nerimasu (ねります). Sounds so much like “nilimas” (Tagalog, which may be pronounced by some Japanese as “nirimas” since they don’t have “l”) or “gilimas” (Bisaya) which both means “cleared away”.

Ahhh. Language is fun!


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