August 23, 2009 in columns
By JUDY Cariño
Finally, some city-bred Ibaloi folks are doing what they had previously resolved to do some day: to learn the Ibaloi language.
I have always been a bit shamefaced and sheepish when my relatives would try to start a conversation in Ibaloi, needing to decide quickly what to do. Do I just nod my head and pretend to understand, or be honest and admit that I never learned the language? And when we attend clan reunions, cousins joke each other that we need an interpreter to be able to understand what is going on.
So, we have started our Ibaloi language lessons. Vicky Macay and Auntie Rebecca from Loakan are our teachers. We are learning the Ibaloi of Baguio, which is slightly different from the Ibaloi of Itogon, and other neighboring towns. Our strategy is to have informal conversations in Ibaloi, and to question each other and our teachers on ways to express common ideas and phrases. Each student takes notes, which are reviewed over the week, in preparation for the next lesson.
Our first lesson was full of laughter as we started to appreciate the humor and culture of our ancestors. Short and simple English words translate into multi-syllabic equivalents. Short is entitikey (NTTK in text language), and up is naikayang. And kayang is naijahangkang! Yes! Ibaloi is a wonderful language, making maximum use of sh, j, and f.
Our strategy seems to be working. After two lessons, my notebook is filling up with Ibaloi words and phrases. I can understand what is going on and won’t allow myself to be sold by my Ibaloi relatives. We can now text each other in Ibaloi and I look forward to the day when we will be able to write articles, and maybe a song in Ibaloi.
It is said that each language reflects a unique world-view. As we acquire new words and phrases, we take a peep into the world of our great-grandparents. Here’s a taste of Ibaloi philosophy: “No towey kad-an ni asok, sikatoy daguan mo”. (Go where the smoke is.)# nordis.net