(On Finding or Creating Filipino-English Counterparts)
Many Filipinos assume that some Filipino/Tagalog words don’t have counterparts in English because (1) they don’t research enough, (2) they don’t have a broad English vocabulary (which includes medical, scientific, and other technical terms), or (3) they don’t know that the English language (and many other languages) are equipped with linguistic processes like nominalization, adjectivization, verbification, and adverbification—by which words may be formed legitimately (by combining affixes and rootwords); and that these newly coined words (known as neologisms) may be used also in formal writing even if such words could not be found in an English dictionary—as long as the manner they were formed followed a proper linguistic process.
These are examples of Filipino words that many people thought didn’t have English counterparts. With a bit of research on the Internet and the use of the good ol’ dictionary, I arrived at the following results.
pagkapikón – pique [noun], “state of vexation caused by a perceived slight or indignity; a feeling of wounded pride”
pikón – pique [noun], “someone who gets offended easily; an overly sensitive person”
napikón – piqued [participial adjective]
madalíng mapikón – easily piqued [adjectival phrase]
* Sóbra ang pagkapikón niyá. [His pique is intense.]
* Wag kang pikón. [Don’t be a pique.]
* Napikón ka ba sa bíro ko? [Did you get piqued with my joke?]
* Waláng gustóng makipaglarô sa kanyá kasí siyá ay madalíng mapikón. [No one likes to play with him because he is easily piqued.]
pasmá – spasm [noun] “an involuntary muscular contraction, especially one resulting in cramp or convulsion”
* Ang sakít ng pasmá ko sa leég. [The spasm in my neck is painful.]
Actually, ‘pasmá’ is the one that was derived from the English word spasm, not the other way around.
péktus – googly [noun]; google [verb] – “a trick serving or delivery in any game that involves hitting an object towards its goal”; “a ball bowled with a deceptive bounce”
* Magalíng si Efren “Bata” Reyes sa paglálagáy ng péktus sa larô ng bilyár. [Efren “Bata” Reyes is skillful in putting googlies in the game of billiards.]
* May mga manlalárò na ang tingín sa pameméktus ay isáng urì ng pandaráyà. [There are players who see googling as a form of cheating.]
* Wag mong péktusán ang tíra mo. [Don’t google your hit.]
* Haha, nasaló ko ang péktus niyá! [Haha, I caught his googly.]
The Filipino word ‘péktus’ may have been derived from the word effect, as in “to apply an effect that may render favorable or winning results” (or, figuratively, “to cast a fake magic spell”) on one’s delivery or serving in a game involving hitting or shooting an object towards its goal (e.g., volleyball, golf, basketball, bowling, curling, hockey).
The Last Leaf
Never assume. Every time you encounter uncertainty or when you’re in doubt, take the extra effort to check (double check, if you must) the available sources that may help you verify, validate, or confirm your guess. Don’t rely on gut feelings. After all, the only thing that we can really confirm when our stomachs are grumbling is hunger.
Misinformation, false claims, and wrong assumptions are often the results of one’s ignorance or lack of initiative or failure to get much deeper into the origin or nature of the matter in question.