A Brief Review of Some Cebuano Dictionaries ( ...continued )

by Jessie Grace U. Rubrico

American Regime

II. Rafferty, Patrick; S.J. 1928. Visayan-English Dictionary. Cagayan, Misamis Oriental. 112 pp.

The dictionaries compiled during the Spanish period were mostly bilingual, either Cebuano/Bisaya-Español or Español-Cebuano/Bisaya. It must be noted that almost all, if not all, of the compilers were Spanish friars. The American Regime paved the way for trilingual or even four-language dictionary with English as its common element. Of course, the bilingual English-Cebuano/Visaya and Cebuano/Visaya-English still dominated the lexicographic works of this period. One of the compilers during this period was a Jesuit priest, Patrick Rafferty who came up with a dictionary in 1928 which he later enlarged and published in 1940 (Enlargement of Bisayan-English Dictionary. Manila: n.p.).

Rafferty (1928) may be considered representative of a genre of dictionaries produced during this period, which includes Cuenco (1920 and 1927), Gullas (1937) among others. The sources of Rafferty(1928) are the Diccionario Bisaya-Español by Encarnacion (1866) and the English-Visayan Dictionary of Jose Maria Cuenco (Cebu, 1920). This dictionary has been intended for the use of English-speaking missionaries in Mindanao.

Ir adopts a simple columnar format. On the left column are the Cebuano entries; beside the entry classified as verb or verbal is a "v." --lexical categories of non-verb entries are not indicated. On the other hand, verb derived from non-verbal entries are indicated by "v." before its English gloss on the right column.

Generally, root words are entered as main entries. Although some derivations and more common expressions are also treated as main entries, most of them are entered as run-on entries below the root word from which their forms are derived. Examples of main entries which are phrasal are: "angang sa hagdan (stair step); anak nga babaye (daughter); babayeng hamtong (lady), babayeng kaslonon (bride); balay nga abtanan (lodging house); balus nga makadaut (vengeance), hulog sa infierno" (damn), etc.

Under the main entry "batasan" (character, conduct, way, behavior, custom, habit; v: accustom, behave) are the run-on entries "may batasan, walay batasan, dautang batasan." And other the main entry "bati" (feel, perceive, etc.) v. is the run-on entry "pagpamati" (listen). The stem [ka-/ma- + rootword] dominates the letters K and M section of the dictionary. The author explains: "Many meanings have been given of words using the prefixes KA and MA, and the beginner will be pleased with this superabundance." (p.4).

This compilation is a plain word list where the Cebuano entry is given an English gloss. This can be useful in acquiring the more common lexicon in the language, but it can also mislead the learner who does not have a good grasp of the Cebuano grammar. For instance, entries tagged as verb do not come with the proper affixation information. The root "lumlum" v. is glossed as "brood or hatch." Unless the learner knows that in order for this root to become a verb, it needs the verbal affixes nag- or -an > naglumlum or lumluman, he will be confused and in the end may become frustrated. The author himself has this to say: "Many prefixes are used in Visayan. A small Dictionary must confine itself mainly to giving the words according to the letters in the roots."(p. 4).

It must be pointed out that this wordlist suffers from inappropriate or erroneous English gloss or description. For example, the entry "samut" v. is given the gloss "augment" instead of the more appropriate "aggravate" or "worsen"; another entry "saguyod" (drag) is erroneously glossed as "creep". These two entries are not isolated cases. Another error is evident in the form of the entry itself. The entries "kasalop sa adlaw" (sunset) and "kasuki" (disobedience, rebellion) should have been "pagsalop ..." and "pagsuki" respectively.

In addition, some entries are obviously missing as shown by some derivations written as run-on entries to unrelated main entries. Example, the main entry "hatudkawat" (telegram) has under it "pagpapahawa" (oust, etc.) as run-on entry. The root of "pagpapahawa" is "hawa" which is obviously a missing entry between "hatudkawat" and the next main entry "hawak." Another example are the run-on entries under "hulat" (v. wait, expect), "pagpahulay" (rest) and "pahulayan" (resting place) which are derivations from the stem "pahulay." Perhaps, the compiler identified the root here as "hulay" and must have intended to enter it as main entry between "hulat" and "hulga." A number of cases similar to these are noted in the compilation.

This wordlist is not the ideal lexical compilation for the learners of Cebuano. Although its presentation is very simple and economical, it does not give the learner the adequate and appropriate basic information necessary to getting a grasp of the language. Besides, the errors mentioned above may mislead and confuse the learners of the Cebuano language.

Of course, it must be considered that this compilation must have helped its target users --the English-speaking missionaries in Mindanao. In the backdrop of the era when this was produced, the value of this compilation must not be underestimated.

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