A further note on NILA & KILA

Paz B. Naylor pnaylor at umich.edu
Fri Jul 13 18:31:24 UTC 2001

NILA and KILA belong to the analytic case marking paradigm A, parallelled by
paradigm B:

                                 (A)              (B)
nominative:             SILA           SINA
genitive:                  NILA          NINA
dative/locative:       KILA          KINA

The B paradigm has always been ascribed to "correct" Tagalog, i.e.,
Balarila-type Grammar Tagalog and the conventional wisdom was this was
Bulacan Tagalog usage.  I don't know - for that matter does anyone know -
the history of these paradigms? Usage of paradigm A is a matter of a
specific paradigm used as a variant in colloquial speech in a dialect of
Manila Tagalog.  Surely, as linguists, we need to distinguish between
written and spoken forms of the standard language - at the very least.  On
this basis, paradigm A is colloquial but "sub-standard" it is not.

When I was growing up, we "knew" that the "correct" FORM was paradigm B -
yet when we spoke, we always used paradigm A. In Tagalog literature,
paradigm A mainly appeared in dialogue parts of the text.  Unlike the
English examples you gave, the choice of paradigm A is lexical and does not
represent errors of grammar and correct usage.

"Nakala" looks gross when written but I'm pretty sure that the pronunciation
of -ka- in kala is not [ka] but [k+schwa].  Even in other phonological
contexts, the -i- of kila is not cardinal [i] but a lower vowel phone.

There are other similar examples, such as PAPATULUGIN vs. PATUTULUGIN, this
latter form, with partial reduplication of the root, being deemed the
"correct" form. Yet the choice of one or the other does not connote
"sub-standard" usage.

It looks to me that, given the development of multiple dialects of Manila
Tagalog due to the immense immigration of non-Tagalog speakers into postwar
Manila (cf. Andrew Gonzalez) and the consequent minoritizing of the old
Manila dialect speakers who use paradigm A, their ratio has declined in
proportion to the total population of Manila today (which ballooned from
about 2 million in 1941 to 10 million by the early 1950s).  Paradigm A usage
has not, however,  disappeared.

For pedagogical purposes, it is clear that a monolithic perspective of the
language is the practical approach.  However, for the purposes of linguistic
description and understanding, we need more of a polylithic perspective to
arrive at greater adequacy of description.

Thanks for lending me your ear.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl Rubino" <carlrubino at home.com>
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 11:06 AM
Subject: what is standard Tagalog?

> Dear Mng. Paz,
> Thank you for the information about the old and modern use of kila and
> and the fact that they originated in Old Manila. I erroneously thought
> were modern innovations.
>   I still think there is a colloquial/substandard connotation with "kila."
> (A few days ago I heard "nakala" used by a Manilan who said "kila" was not
> Tagalog word (like some Chicagoans who use "I says" and insist they
don't) -
> so even speakers who use it recognize the "l" forms as being colloqiual or
> substandard, e.g.
>   ..nakala Jogee...  ((he's) at Jogee et al's place).
>   If you do a Google search (mostly modern Tagalog of course) you will
>   kina + mga  returns 43 pages
>   kila + mga returns 9 pages (10 at first screen, but last page is empty)
>   (I used the word "mga" to weed out the Hawaiian stuff). So even if both
> old and modern Manila speakers prefer kila to kina, it appears that some
> more hesitant to do so in their writing.
>   I have no ties to Bulacan Tagalog, and do not wish to have a regional
> prejudice - I just think that since Tagalog is taught all over the
> Philippines in primary grades (in most cases by non-native Tagalogs), what
> children see in the books are the "n" forms, not the "l" forms. And
> who do not speak Tagalog at home, but are forced to use it in school don't
> always have access to televisions and Liwayway magazines. So if the "l"
> forms are to be given standard status, they must be taught by the primary
> school Tagalog teachers and included in the grammars and text books too.
> (When I say substandard, I do not mean what it is less commonly used, but
> what doesn't have official recognition, e.g. English "with Jane and I";
> "ain't" -- what we learn on the streets as opposed to what we are taught
> school).
>   I have one more question for you, in teaching Tagalog, do you give both
> forms? How about when students used "sila" instead of "sina"?
>   Thanks again for all your help,
>   Carl
> P.S. Could you believe that ANG + MGA only returned 44 pages in google,
> one more than KINA + MGA??!!
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Paz B. Naylor <pnaylor at umich.edu>
> To: Carl Rubino <carlrubino at home.com>
> Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 12:32 AM
> Subject: Tagalog
> > P.S.  (Please see the "original message" [edited]  below)
> >
> > I'm afraid I was in a rush earlier today so I missed some of the points
> you
> > made about NILA & KILA vs. NINA and KINA.
> > 1. NILA is used in "modern Manila dialect".  It has always been used
> (along
> > with KILA) in old Manila dialect (i.e., pre-WWII and earlier).
> > 2. "The sub-standard form 'kila' must have been invented by analogy -
> I
> > have no idea who uses it as I have never heard it"
> > a) Substandard?!  What is standard?  Is there no variation at all within
> > "standard"?  Is Bulacan Tagalog "standard"?  Why? It is the register
> in
> > literary text but try speaking Bulacan Tagalog and you will immediately
> > marked as a non-native speaker.
> > b) NILA and KILA have always been in use side by side in my old Manila
> > dialect and everyone else I knew - my contemporaries, my parents and
> > grandparents and their contemporaries.  What I said above of KILA
> to
> > NILA as well.  This has not changed amongst speakers of old Manila
> dialect -
> > a fact that was confirmed on my last visit to Manila in 1995 as well as
> > excerpts from Liwayway, TV programs, videotapes and audiotapes I made
> then.
> >
> > Take it from someone who has been there - in more ways than one.
> >
> > As An-Langers, we have tacitly agreed to disagree, right?  So, no love
> lost.
> > All the best, Manang Paz
> >

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