|207. Rizal, Dapitan, 5 April 1896|
|Philological conversation with Blumentritt - Rizal treating patients from various parts of the Archipelago - The Mangianenschrift - Blumentritt comprehends the spirit of the Tagalogs - Before publishing his grammar (Rizal wants to be well steeped in Malay - And to make sure if it is the origin of Tagalog - He now speaks Bisayan - And studying Malayo-Polynesian languages - His ambition is to raise a monument to his native tongue - Correction of Tagalog translations by Rizal - On the g of Rizal which, according to Foy, is irreführend - On the w - Rizalian orthography adopted and its use is becoming general - On the etymology of Babailan and Lanaw - Meaning of Dapitan - Rizal sends three roses from his garden to the Blumentritt family.|
|Talisay, 5 April 1896 Dapitan, Mindanaw|
Mr. Fernando Blumentritt|
My very dear Friend,
It is almost three weeks ago that I received your affectionate letter. I did not answer it by the return mail because I had no time to think. Day after tomorrow the boat will be here, so I avail myself of Easter Sunday to have a colloquy with you.
At the same time as your letter, I received a copy of Mangianenschrift.(1) I do not know who has sent it to me. Thanks at any rate to the sender. Despite mynumerous occupations - for I have patients from different islands of the Archipelago, Bohol, Panay, Cebú Luzón, Sikihod, Mindanaw, Negros - I read it with the greatest interest. I see that you as well as Dr. Foy have worked hard on it and I give both of you my wholehearted congratulation. You have translated very faithfully into German the Tagalog phrases, better than I could do it. I note that you have comprehended the spirit of the Tagalog, a thing very necessary for the translation of a language. I do not see then your need for a Tagalog grammar as you say in your letter; I think that you can get along without it. If I am postponing the publication of mine, it is because I wish first to steep myself in Malay in order to put an end to the inquiry into what is true and what is false in the common belief that Malay is the origin of Tagalog. (!!) I am getting to know Bisayan and I speak it fairly well, they say. However, I need to know more other dialects of tbe Philippines, read more about Malayo-Polynesian languages, to have my library here for reference books that I do not have now, and consult other grammars that others have written. This is not possible for me while I am here where I lack everything and yet I have the conceit and the pretension to write a Tagalog grammar which, if it cannot be better than the published ones, at least should offer something more than they. This is the reason why I am not yet publishing my grammar. My ambition is to raise a monument to my native tongue. Ihave the project, but I lack the materials and the instruments.
Concerning your query about the Tagalog of Sinibaldo de Mas, what I have seen and translated when I was in London, I will give you first a literal translation of yours and then I will give you the free translation:
Aming (amig)-We (possessive kami) itapat - place in front, agreed, settled sa katuirang (katuirag) - to the right utos - order ipinatotohanan - was certified ang (ag) pinagkayarian natin - what was agreed upon by us (possessive tayo) ang (ag) pagkatotoo nito ... - the certainty of this ...
Free Translation: In accordance with the just order we made of record the truth of what was agreed upon between us and the truth of this ...
Ipinatotohanan (o must sound like u) that is, ipinatutuhanan as you know very well has for its root tutoló, meaning certain, true, sure, Latin tutus. From where did this word come? Is it the contraction of the Bisayan tutoló, three times? The reduplication of two dental consonants is found in various languages as an expression of certainty: That (German) testis (witness) tatlo (Tagalog 3 = number 3) is the expression of the truth in many languages = Ipinatutuhanan is the passive form of the past tense of ipatutoo: ipa is prefix which means to make, to order. Concerning this prefix, I wrote three years ago in my essay on the Tagalog verb the following:
ika - ipa - ipag
(Rizal, Estudios sobre la lengua tagala. Dedicated to Father Francisco Sánchez, 2 April 1893.)
If I have time and opportunity, I am thinking of making a careful study of the writings of the Mangyan and seek its translation. Perhaps I may be able to tell you something about them. I protest against what Dr. Foy says to my g that it is irreführend (misleading). Please communicate with this worthy gentleman - to whom on the other hand I am grateful for mentioning my name - that I have reflected for some time on the substitution that he makes of n for the g. I do not know Sanskrit or the reason of the scholars of Sanskrit for adopting the n as the transcription of the nasal guttural. If I have proposed the g, it is to follow the spirit of the Tagalogs and the history of their writing in the forms of mga and ng which are pronounced mag and nag. In the first form the n does not exist and in the second the n is undoubtedly what remains of the first consonant of the syllable. Confirming my suspicion at the time, now comes my knowledge of the Bisayan in which many times the form ag with nasal sound is converted into ag wich soft guttural sound. Thus they say ag ako and ag ako, (what is mine). It seems to me then that one must not lose sight of the guttural in the transcription of this genuinely guttural sound. The n, with the permission of Dr. Foy, seems to me more irreführend, because it is a nasal dental, which already makes vary the kind of consonants, besides making very difficult the explanation of the grammatical transformations as I have pointed out above in the Bisayan. We have the historical brief forms of mga and ng, genuine transcriptions of the ancient Tagalog characters that might perhaps be - and - (2). If we should follow Dr. Foy's suggestion, we would have to transcribe these characters into mna and nn which will not be accepted by my countrymen for it does not simplify but makes more difficult writing and reading. Morever, the Roman writting of the Japanese uses the g in similar cases - g that at times sounds soft, at times nasal. Arigató (thanks) is pronounced arigató and arigato or arinató as Foy likes. My proposal of the g seems to me then natural, more in conformity with the language, the history, and the spirit of my people, and topography. Dr. Foy does not say why it is irreführend; on the contrary, Pardo de Tavera has accepted it and numerous Tagalogs and Bisayans write now according to my orthography and find nothing confusing about it. On the contrary, they find that writing has been rationlized. I protest then against the irreführend with all respect. Concerning the transcription of v as w, I find no advantage except that it saves ink and time. If I have proposed the w, it is to be consistent. If the v consonant represents two i's, the w consonant ought to represent also two u's, that is, w. Besides, the v already has the Spanish sound for the Tagalogs, while the w is a relatively new consonant and cnnsequently it is easier for it to provide a sound whose transcription needs to be fixed. For these reasons, I favor the w, a consonant used also by the Japanese in similar cirumstances due to English. To give to the v the sound of w may be correct in Sanskrit but it is confusing to us who know Spanish, French, English, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and many Chinese languages in which the v has a different sound from the consonant u. I repeat then that respecting Sanskrit, the v for w has no more advantage than the saving of time and ink - a stroke of the pen and a twentieth of a second less. I still support my proposed orthography, whose use is extending every time and in which my Tagalog grammar will appear.
As to the name of the priestess, we have much to talk about; that is, to rectify. My opinion on this point is not yet crystallized. Everything is still dIsintegrated, but give me time and rest and my opinion will be formed and crystallized. It is enough for you to know that among the Subanos the religious rites for the dead are called balian, balean, balayan (ai is contracted into e, balayan = balean; e is converted into i; balean = balian. I will look up balay. If they would let me live among the Subanos for a few months, I could say something about these rituals. It can be that they may have given to the officiating person the name of the office. They assure me that the cerernony is called balian. Right here, in the midst of Bisayanismo, what Bisayan the missionaries speak! Beware! What forms do they preserve! Later the result will be a curious thing - written Bisayan will be different from the spoken Bisayan, as Ciceronian Latin is different from vulgar Latin. I have a Bisayan dictionary by Father Encarnación; how many errors it has! You are right in doubting the meaning of mag anito; it is putting the cart before the horse, as they say familiarly. They have given the name of the sacrifice to the sacrificers. The same thing happens to me as to you with respect to igueines. Cite to me the text and let us see if we get something from it.
Thanks for your valuable information on the baking of bricks.
Concerning lanao or lanaw. You say that it also means "to make superstitions in order to see under the water the one who stole something." I suppose it may be mag lanaw and in this case it seems to me possible, but does not alter its meaning of lake. What they call superstition - for the priests, everything that is not Catholic is superstitious - must be the ancient custom of subjecting the suspected thieves to the water test, as fotmerly in Europe, to the fire test. Here it is warm and there it is cold. The accused were made to dive grasping at a cane or a pole, and the first who drew out his head from the water was considered the culprit. Physiological explanation: The heart of one who is afraid beats more rapidly and violently and to the greater number of heart beats corresponds the greater number of respirations and hence the impossibility of staying under water for a long time. This case of maglanaw means to make that of the water, to try that of the lake, a figurative verb. In Tagalog maglanaw means to spill, to cover with water, to make a lake.
You ask me for the meaning of Dapitan and I take this opportunity to give you a careful answer. I have the presumption to tell you I am your right man for that. Yes, dear friend, Dapitan has its meaning and certainly a historic one. I have historical documents that two months ago I deposited in the Museo Biblioteca de Manila so that they might not be lost in my poor hut. One of them, dated 7 July 1818 and signed by Mr. Fernando Man. de Bustillo Bustamante y Rueda - the governor general who was assassinated - speaks of Dapitan and its founders. It was founded by "Lagubayan, who was a principal citizen, first of the towns of Bohol, Baclayon, Mansasan, and Dawis and later, in the serro(3) of Mindanao - today it is called Ilihan where a poor barn stands - to which he repaired with eight hundred families on account of the treachery committed against his sister Dońa Ilison by the natives. He became the lord of the Subanos and the terror of the whole Moroland ... When the first Spaniards arrived at Dapitan, he received them with love and charity and he dismissed the ambassadors of Ternate saying that he did not want any other friendship than that of the new men who had arrived at his land. And assuming as marvelous wonders the Indios were to the Spaniards and the Spaniards to the Indios, he gave them pilots and guides who took them to the chief named Catunas he had left in Bohol and from there took them to Cebú where they had established their first base, and to this fourth grandfather of the petitioner and to all the rest of his descendants the King our Lord owed the pacification of these islands ..."
This document is authentic with the seal of Mr. Bustamante and I bought it from the descendants of Lagubayan, now sunk in abject poverty. These documents, as I said, were deposited by me in the Museo Biblioteca de Manila. As it can be seen, Dapitan was founded by Boholanos before or after the coming of the first Spaniards. The name Dapitan means a place of rendezvous or meeting-place, of 800 families. Dapit in Bisayan means "to invite" - Dapitan, place to which 800 families were invited. This is the tradition of the name Dapitan.
I have great pleasure in furnishing you all the information you may wish concerning superstitions, usages, customs, etc. Ask me and if I know, I will answer you.
I salute from here those who are learning to dance and the others the same, the same. Today, Easter, I pick three roses from the tree I planted and send their petals to you; they are small for they are somewhat wild. How I miss the healthful cold of Mitteleuropa! How much I wish to breathe the perfume of the pines.
Your friend and brother who sends to your family the purest aspirations of his heart.
I have received your post card with Prosit.|
I cannot refrain from making some comments on page 14-15 of Mangianenschrift von Mindoro.
Z. 3 is in pagkabova ... etc. pagkabuhay
Kalagayan is substantive of lagay. Amin, our; the substantive is placed before; namin, our is placed after; amig kalagayan, our situation; kalagayan (na amin) namin, our situation (that our).
Tomatalagá is right as tomalagá.
I have many things more to say on this magnificent work of Messrs. Meyer and Schadenberg and Foy, whom I admire and congratulate, but I have no more time at present.
(1) Writing of the Mangyans.
(2) Tagalog characters. See facsimile of this letter.
(3) Cerro (hill)
Note: A g stands for a g with a tilde (Stockinger).
[Rizal-Blumentritt Correspondence] [Culture and History]|
[Culture and History]
created: July 30, 1996
updated: March 10, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger