Pretty wild. And it’s just one country. Yeah, okay, with over 7,000 islands, but still. Recently, there’s a hashtag on Twitter going around. People are putting #FilipinoMotherTongue on their tweets along with stories about their first language and experiences with others. Theater and film actress Chai Fonacier (mostly known for starring in Patay na si Hesus and Respeto) gave birth to this hashtag on Dec. 11. The actress, who hails from Cebu, is openhearted and fervent on the social media platform when it comes to championing the beautiful languages in the country and regionalism. She even conducts Cebuano classes on Twitter—from shopping tips in Cebu to Cebuano insults.
I am from Eastern Samar and my #FilipinoMotherTongue is Waray. However, some words vary in meaning from place to place in Samar-Leyte. In Eastern Samar, “mulay” means to curse. In Leyte, it means to play. Language is beautiful.— Galo Glino III (@thirdyglino) December 13, 2017
Of course, there are tweets about various meanings of words in different languages. Like libog, which means “confused” in Cebuano, but sexual urge in Tagalog.
Ambot in #Cebuano means “Ewan.” Wow this is interesting. Share more about your Filipino Mother Tongue, peeps. Oh hey, Kinda want to spread this idea: my #FilipinoMotherTongue is Cebuano. https://t.co/E5phKzZ57A— Chai Fonacier (@rrrabidcat) December 11, 2017
my #FilipinoMotherTongue is Kapampangan & there,“Kaluguran,” w/ very little nuances, both means “love” and “friend”, which is why my life basically fell apart when I didn’t know enough how to tell the difference when I met my first friend… and love. my “Kaluguran” ? — Petersen 4-Ever (@petersenvargas) December 12, 2017
@rrrabidcat When we were in Bacolod, an acquaintance said to my bestfriend, “Kabolbolon mo gid!” We laughed our asses off because “bolbolon” in Cebuano means having a hairy private part. He actually meant hairy in general which is “balhiboon” in Cebuano. #FilipinoMotherTongue— Seth A. (@SETHitonfire) December 12, 2017
My #FilipinoMotherTongue is Cebuano-Visayan, and I’ve always marveled at how wonderfully onomatopoeic our words are. For example, for the word ‘fall’ or ‘hulog’, there’s tagak, hagtak, hagbong, hulog, dakdak, bundak, antog. There’s like a word for specific ways of falling.— elvin there, done that ? (@estudentetser) December 12, 2017
When you ask a Tagalog and a Surigaonon to look for “langgam”, they’ll be searching at different directions.The Tagalog will immediately search the ground for ants, while the Surigaonon will be looking towards the sky in search of birds. My #FilipinoMotherTongue is Surigaonon. — Prosti the Snowman (@khenyounot) December 12, 2017
#FilipinoMotherTongue –I once got told off in Manila for speaking in English and not Tagalog. 1—I am from Mindanao. 2—our national hero, Rizal, spoke and wrote in Spanish. My path away from “nationalism” was carved out with criticism like that.— Sekki Tabs (@sekkitabs) December 12, 2017
Then there are tweets of thanks for this kind of initiative.
Kwento: someone described Bisaya as “Tae Language” and I told people not to mind it. Shortly after, people are sharing stories on their #FilipinoMotherTongue. Note: this is how you tapon tinapay pag binato ka ng bato.Keep it informative, enriching. Also: we’re classy like that. — Chai Fonacier (@rrrabidcat) December 12, 2017
Been liking tweets with this hashtag for the better part of an hour. Sobrang entertaining and educational. Nakakatuwa. ? #FilipinoMotherTongue— Eunice Rodriguez (@eunivrce) December 12, 2017
Why is our national language Tagalog-centric? The way you think is shaped by the languages you know
I agree. Sometimes, the most fruitful conversation comes after tense clashing, when the walls that divide us go crumbling, there we’ll get the chance to see that we’re more alike then different. Haaay, hangtod karon mahingangha gihapon ko sa kamabulokon sa atong pagka-Pilipino.— elvin there, done that ? (@estudentetser) December 12, 2017