Lovin’ My Mother Tongue

A jousting talk with a blogger friend this afternoon had me coming up with this entry.

He mentioned the Bikol word “sputing” which I haven’t heard for ages. I loved the sound of it! The last time I heard this word was when my maternal grandfather and my Papa were very much alive. If you are curious, “sputing“  means dressed to the nines or well-dressed. I don’t know if this is still used in Albay nowadays or  this has already been classified  as “archaic.”


The mention of this word was a good timing. Aside from I was given an idea what to write  about today, this would make me recall these Bikol words which I haven’t been using for several reasons. First, I transferred residence. Uprooting myself from Albay created a wedge from our language especially when I moved to Manila and later on got married to a pure Tagalog. Second, I became physically separated from my siblings when they started settling down. Our being still complete then would make us use those words especially when we were in a playful mood in the house. Third, I was no longer in direct contact with my kababayans who would use these words which I am not sure of on how to classify.
I would like to consider them as may be slang or colloquial.  Let me first distinguish these two terms:
1. slang –  very informal usage in vocabulary and idiom that is characteristically more metaphorical, playful, elliptical, vivid, and ephemeral than ordinary language
2. colloquial – the characteristic of writing that seeks the effect of informal spoken language as distinct from formal or literary english
If I will base on the given definitions of slang and colloquial, it is clear that the list of Bikol words that I have listed down really fall under these categories. On the other hand, I could say that these words were usually uttered by Bicolanos when they are in a negative mood such as  impatience, annoyance, irritation, and anger. My eldest brother is an expert on these words. 😁😂 I would often hear him and his friends talk using this lingo which I was not allowed to use in my young age.  Recalling it now, I could deduce that these words were taboo for the children.
For those non-Bicolanos/bicolanas who’ll come across my post today, this will be a crash course on Bikol-Legazpi, which is one of the languages under central Bicolano or Bikol Central. This will also be a challenge to my linguistic ability. An important piece of information though —  these words may mean differently in other parts of Bicol. You see, we have a lot of vernacular divisions in Region V. 
In fact when I was in college, I made an ambitious paper as an off-shoot of my curiosity why there is already a difference between Bikol-Daraga  and  Bikol-Legazpi when these two districts are just separated by a five-kilometer distance? For example, in daraga, TIL is foot while in Legazpi, it is called BITIS. ILAAG in daraga, while IBUGTAK in Legazpi.
Another distinction between these two kinds of Bikol is on the accent or stress. To exemplify this, take a look at the words below:
    BIKOL-DARAGA                  BIKOL-LEGAZPI
1. uring’                          –          u’ring                (charcoal)
2. uli’                               –           u’li                     (go home; return)
It seems Bikol-Daraga speakers are not as sweet as Bikol-Legazpi users the moment they talk. Hehehe. If you will listen to Daragenos, their tone is always emphatic. There’s a trace of aggression. One would rather converse with Legazpenos because of the calm tone of voice that they use.
Well, I can go on and on listing down the Bikol words in these two places, but my real focus in this article are these words which have elicited a smile from me. With this short list goes my fond memories of those days when I was already given the go-signal to say them.
1. luki-luki   –   mentally deranged; crazy
2. gusgos   –    old, antique
3. kasmag   –   cat
4. alimantak   –   head
5. madiris   –   mother
6. padiris   –    father             
7. magkatipla   –   sleep
8. lasdo   –   clothes
9. purbari   –   try; test         
10. malsok   –   eyes
11. gadya   –   dog
12. lapiga   –   sit
13. kusmag   –   cat
14. du’lag   –   pig
15. batikwalun   –   to wip   
16. bagratan   –   hit by storm
17. putbulon   –   to cane
18. samingkil   –   feet
19. tugalsik   –   chinese
20. tu’mak   –   to step on
21. gulsok   –   famish; hungry
22. maldos   –   chicken
23. lamigtis   –   feet; legs
24. kamolmog   –   hand
25. tawil-tawil   –   hanging
26. minasbad   –   bolo
27. paslo   –   greedy
28. tigbak   –   kill
29. bagla   –   untidy; unkempt
30. uragon   –   great
31. bu’ngilan   –   punch
32. tabil   –   talkativeness
33. rabas   –   walk
34. si’ba   –   eat
35. taplungun   –   slap
36. kuring-kusingun   –   pinch
37. bul’tuk   –   drunk
Special thanks to my sister, Nano, who immediately contributed three slang/colloquial words in the list, when I sent an SOS. The forum at  goBicol.com also helped me in a way to recall these words which I personally used when I was still Bicol-based.
“Mabalos” (Thank you) to my eldest sister, Olen, for responding to my request via sms to send me other Bikol words that she knows. Ever reliable, she was able to provide number 25 to 32 words, a very clear evidence that she was born ahead of me (Hahahahahah), thus enjoyed the immunity to use these “for adults” words earlier.

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