Filipino Language: Bababa ba?

*In an elevator in the Philippines*

Elevator operator: Bababa ba?

Filipino: Bababa.

Foreigner: What the hell is this language?

The humor of this joke relies on seemingly simple structure of the Filipino language, but what the foreigner in the joke didn’t understand is that those two sentences are more complex than he or she has perceived.

To understand this “weird” conversation, one must start with the root word baba. It means “to go down”. To turn this word into a verb with a certain tense, the Filipino language usually adds syllables at the start, middle, or the end of the word.

In the case of the first sentence, bababa ba, the first word is the root word baba with the syllable ba added at the beginning. The added ba turns the root word into a present progressive tense.

The second word ba is a syllable added to Filipino sentences to turn a declarative sentence into an inquisitive sentence.

There are also words that left out, but are implied because of the intonation of the utterance and the context of the sentence. The full sentence is supposed to go bababa ka ba? Ka means you, but since the elevator operator is already facing the one he or she is taking too, it is unnecessary to say it.

The response of the Filipino in the elevator is the present progressive version of the root word baba with an implied “Yes, I am”.

Whew, that’s my language. Cool!

More Philippines:

Check out my other blog categories.

If you like this post, please subscribe to this blog. Ja is also on Twitter and FacebookTumblr, Bloglovin (for blogfor Tumblr). Email Ja at: ageofthediary@gmail.com.

Note: For some entries in this blog, a few names and details have been deliberately and willingly changed by the author. This is a personal decision made by the author for specific reasons known to her and is not an endorsement for censorship.

All the opinions expressed in this page and in this blog are my own and do not represent the official stances of the companies, institutions, and organizations that I am affiliated with. I am a person. I’m not just a manifestation of corporate interests. I have an identity that is separate from my company because even if human beings are paid for a service by corporations, human beings are not owned by corporations.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Filipino Language: Bababa ba?

  1. A Spanish prof told me that ba in Tagalog was adapted from the Spanish ‘va’ (i.e., se va = leave, depart etc..). with so many adapted Spanish, I would be least surprised.

    Like

  2. It’s just now that I realized this is funny. I laughed when I tried to say that. Hahaha. If I were a foreigner I might laugh at it. It’s so cool. I am proud of my language! Proud to be a Filipino :))

    Miss Cielo

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s