Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Language as Culture Part 3

COMMON PHRASES
English
example:
 Good morning.

Filipino
example:
 Magandang umaga.

Japanese
example:
 Ohayou gozaimasu.

Now, this is the fun part. One can tell a lot about a people through how they do their greetings. Let's take "Good morning," for example. For a people to greet each other a good morning means they view a new day and life in general as something that is supposed to be good. And though we always say, a certain phrase is another language's counterpart to "Good morning," most of the time, that is not what that phrase actually means. Take the Filipino greeting, for example. "Magandang umaga" does not translate to "Good morning." It actually translates to "Beautiful morning." So for the Filipino people, life doesn't have to be good. But life has to be beautiful. And beautiful doesn't always translate to good. A beautiful story can be a sad and trying one. And thus, the Filipino as a people may not always struggle to have a good life, but rather a beautiful life. One might argue, "Of course not. What about the overseas Filipino workers? Aren't they out there to better the lives of their families?" True. But tell me this, while their dollars are certainly appreciated, isn't the thought of them being out there, "battling loneliness in a foreign land, just to alleviate their families from poverty," the one that sways us more?

Let's move on to Japanese. "Ohayou gozaimasu" does not translate to "Good morning." "Ohayou gozaimasu" is a polite form of, "Ohayai de gozaimasu" or simply, "Hayai desu." Literally, it just means, "It's early." No flowery words, no wishes, just simply a declaration. It's early. You tell me how they view life.

Since my Rian people are servers and slaves, I think their lives would revolve around efficiency.
Rian
 example: Hebak an oray.
 (Productive day.)


COMMON PHRASES
English
example: 
 Good bye.

Filipino
example:
 Paalam.

Japanese
example:
 Sayounara.

Let's go to goodbyes now. In English, "Goodbye" used to actually be, "God be with ye." Over time, it got contracted to "Goodbye." How a people say goodbye can tell us how a people deals with things they have little control of, or things that don't always go their way. Goodbye in Filipino does not translate to "God be with ye" or anything close to that. "Paalam" means, "just to let you know." The Filipino people, although easily homesick, are not too affected by parting or other things they have little control of. The Japanese language's "Sayounara" shows us that the Japanese people are a very resigned race. "Sayounara" is simply another form of "Sou nara," which literally means, "if that's how it has to be." The next time you read a sad Japanese love story, think of the word.

My created people's reaction to things they have little control with would be fear.
Rian
 example: Daer.
 (Kindness.)


COMMON PHRASES
English
examples: 
 Take care.

Filipino
examples:
 Ingat.

Japanese
examples:
 Ki o tsukete.

Let's take one last phrase: "Take care." In the Filipino language, when one says, "Ingat," though it roughly translates to "Take care," it really has a more "Be careful" feel to it. Which tells us that it may be a bit more dangerous to go out in the Philippines. In Japanese, they say, "Kiotsukete," which is acutally "Ki o tsukete," where tsukete means to turn on or put on. So in Japanese, when you tell someone to take care, you tell them, "Turn on your ki." Ki is like spiritual energy, but more for awareness than strength. In other words, "Power up."

For Rian, Take Care will be quite similar to Goodbye.
Rian
example: Daer as laka.
 (Kindness to you.)

And that's it! Hope you enjoyed the past 3 entries.

2 comments:

  1. O_O genius! I read all of your "language as culture" posts. I enjoyed reading it!! :D please post more. i'd love to hear about your stories too ^_^ very interesting! please keep it up!
    -Layne

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you very much, Layne! :)

    ReplyDelete