4 operations

potet POTETJP at wanadoo.fr
Wed Jul 25 13:13:55 UTC 2001

This debate on Tagalog _ang_ and _nang_ reminds me of the difficulties I
encountered in the Philippines when I wanted my informants to give me the
four arithmetic operations in Tagalog. You know that digits and operators
are among the few ideograms we have in the modern Latin alphabet system. The
advantage with these ideograms, the numbers written with them, and the
formulae in which they appear, is that all these can be read in any
language, so that I use them to dicover basic structures.

Thus I gave them my informants the following lines to read ( the figures may
have been different, but this is immaterial to the issue).
9 + 3 = 12
4 - 3 = 1
5 x 3 = 15
8 : 2 = 4

I expected my informants to offer the equivalents of the two readings - the
short one and the long one - we have in English, or French etc., to wit
"Nine plus three, twelve." and "Nine plus three equals twelve."
"Four minus three, one." and "Four minus three equals one."
"Three times five, fifteen." and "Five multiplied by three equals fifteen."
"Eight (divided) by two, four." and "Eight divided by two equals four."

Their first reaction was to read the formulae in English. I insisted and
asked them to read the formulae in Tagalog. To my dismay, they seemed to
have problems doing it in Tagalog.  Some said they had been taught this in
English, and could only offer equivalents in Tagalog without being sure
these were the correct readings. All these equivalents involved AY.
e.g. Ang siyám na dinagdagán nang tatló ay labindalawá.
/IF / nine / Linker / add-focused on "nine" / nang / three / Anteposer /
twelve /
"Nine plus three equals twelve."

Needless to say I was extremely disappointed because I wanted to see what
the short readings were, and whether they used _ang_.
Now, you, Tagalog tagalists, my friends, what short readings would you


Jean-Paul G. POTET

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