[An-lang] about loan words

Waruno Mahdi mahdi at fhi-berlin.mpg.de
Tue Jul 7 09:59:03 UTC 2015

Dear Piers,

Sorry to be so slow to respond.
With regard to borrowings into Tagalog from Malay, and also from
Sanskrit and Arabic (presumably also Tamil and Persian), the
situation may be much more complicated than first meets the eye.

Borrowing from Malay continued over a period of one millennium or
more (since around the 8th century), during which time various
Malay dialects acted as donor. The most conspicuous effect is the
postglottalisation of originally final vowels (typically -a).
This is a feature of Banjarese and Brunei Malay and suggests that
at least some of the borrowings exhibiting such postglottalisation
took place during Brunei paramountcy over parts of the Philippines.

With regard to borrowings from Sanskrit (also Tamil, Arabic, Persian),
the greater majority was borrowed via Malay, i.e. these are actually
borrowings from Malay as well. Here again, some will have post-
glottalised final vowels, others not, depending on the final donor
dialect. This too is a simplification, because within Malay too,
there was significant inter-dialectal borrowing.

This is apparent amongst others from a postglottalised final vowel in
a non-postglottalising dialect. Thus, in Standard Malay _datuk_ 
final -k of the spelling denotes glottal stop. The Old Malay form of
the word is _datu_ "ruler". The second component in _barat-daya_
"southwest" and the word _Dayak_ 'hinterland inhabitant of Kalimantan"
are cognate, deriving from the same Proto-Austronesian *daya "interior,

Borrowings from Chinese apparently were not mediated by Malay, but I am
not informed about whether they were all borrowed from the same Chinese
dialect. I rather doubt that. Furthermore, during a significant period
there was an Archipelagian dialect of Chinese, spoken in Chinese
trader settlements in presentday Indonesia. Their word for "clove", was
even borrowed into standard Indonesian Malay as _cengkéh_, replacing 
older original Malay word (_lawang_. which presently means "mace, skin
of the nutmeg kernl"). It seems likely that some Chinese borrowings in
Tagalog too originated from the Archipelagian Chinese.

Will try to look up bibliographic references and let you know later.


On 2015-07-07 04:49, Piers Kelly wrote:
> Thanks all for your responses.
> I have managed to consult Panganibans _Diksyunaryo_ of 1972 which
> includes the following statement:
> "This Diksyunaryu-Tesauro Pilipino-Ingles has 27,069 main word 
> entries
> accompanied by almost 217,500 lexical items distributed among [...]
> 12,000 loan words (Sp., Eng., Ch., Ind.-European languages);"
> However, in his Introduction to Leo James Englishs_ English–Tagalog
> dictionary_ (1965), he is more specific and writes, "The present
> Tagalog-based Pilipino is estimated as having around 30,000 
> root-words
> and around 700 affixes. Of the root-words, the recognizable loans at
> this time are, in round numbers, 5,000 from Spanish, 3,200 from
> Malayo-Indonesian, 1,500 from Chinese, 1,500 from English, 300 from
> Sanskrit, 250 from Arabaic and a few hundred altogether from Mexican,
> persian, Japanese, Russian and other languages." n.d.
> The other suggested sources that I have been able to consult tend to
> describe loans without quantifying them, although some (eg, Gloria
> Chan-Yap) break down loans by semantic domain. Ill see how I go with
> Manuel sources too.
> Thanks again!
> Piers
> ......<SNIP>
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