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

by Jessie Grace U. Rubrico

Contemporary Period

V. Guerrero, Amparo T., Nazario D. Bas, and Reynaldo de Dios. 1970. English- Filipino-Visayan(Ilongo-Cebuano) vocabulary.Manila:Manalili Bookseller. 422 and 20 pages.

This compilation contains about 25,000 entries, 16,000 of which are Cebuano lexical items. Although this is intended as a learning tool for learners and users of the language, this is published primarily to help in the evolution and propagation of the Philippine national language. The Constitution provides for the enrichment of the national language through the study of the existing lexicon of the major languages of the Philippines for the purpose of incorporating them into the national lexical inventory. Pilipino, Ilongo and Cebuano are three of the major languages of the Philippines.

The main entries in English are followed by the lexical category --n., v., adj., adv., prep., conj., pron.-- or by annotation, such as colloq in a few cases.Where the term falls under two lexical categories, both are written one after the other immediately after the entry. Example, ashore, adv., adj. Following the lexical categories are the Pilipino, the Hiligaynon, and finally the Cebuano gloss.

Entries are categorized according to their English lexical classification. Take note of the entry "calm, adj. --payapain; patahanin; pahupain; adj. payapa-- matawhay -- pagpuypoy adj. bugnaw"

Note that the first three glosses in Pilipino are more like verbs and "pagpuypoy" in Cebuano is more like a nominalized form.

Take a look at the entries labeled "verb"

communicate v. -ikalat; ibalita; isulat; makipag-ugnay --pahibaloan -- pagbalita, pagsibya, pagpahibalo

educate, v. - turuan; paaralan (?); sanayin - magtuon; pagtudlo - pagtudlo; pag-edukar


The basis for selecting the verbal affixes is not defined. The Pilipino gloss is predominantly in the passive voice. Of course, makipag-ugnayan is in the active voice, but what about the more common active verbal formation, do they apply here? Besides, in Cebuano, pag- + Verb root > Noun or Imperative form. Example:

1. Maayo ang iyang pagtudlo. > Her/His (manner of) teaching is good.

Good the her/his teaching

2. Pagtudlo aron makakwarta ka > (You) Teach so that you can earn money.

Probably, a brief introduction explaining verbal affixes would clarify this question and simplify the choices of preferred affixes. Economy demands the exclusion of productive affixes and of predictable derivational affixes in the entries, so it is necessary that they be explained in the introduction.

This work is wanting in the linguistic treatment of the lexical items --some forms are problematic and somewhat inconsistent with some rules of derivation, especially in Cebuano. But then, the purpose of this vocabulary is to provide a listing of lexical items from the three Philippine languages to "help propagate the national language and also the major dialects (sic.)." Toward this end, this vocabulary listing has indeed contributed its fair share. The list is practical, current, economical, and user friendly.


4. Trosdal Mimi B. 1990. Cebuano-English Dictionary. Cebu City: J. Clavano Printers. xlvi and 493 pp.

This is a compilation of Cebuano lexical items used in Cebu City since 1941 to 1990. Its objective is to help foreign students of the Cebuano language in their acquisition of the lexicon and also to develop in the native speakers of Cebuano an awareness of the special feature of their native tongue. Called a formal-functional dictionary, this looks at the phonemic-phonetic venue as the formal aspect of the entry, and its construction position in grammatical structures of the Cebuano system as its functional aspect. All lexical items are classified as parts of speech depending on the position they take in the construction rules of the Cebuano language.

Main entries in Cebuano are basically roots and are free morphemes. Derivations from the root are entered as run-on entries. There are lexemes which are entered twice, as noun, then as verb --see abaga below. The general format is as follows: main entry; the lexical category of the entry; English definition in quotation marks; the etymology, if there is one; derivations in parenthesis, followed by their English definitions. Sometimes sample sentences are given. A sample entry is given below:


abaga --/n/ : "shoulder" (isigkaabaga) "both shoulders (abaga-abaga) "shoulder pad; simulated shoulder; something shoulder-like" /adj/: (abagahun) "broad-shouldered" (taga-abaga) "shoulder high" /V1 nf/: (mahaabaga) "be . . . on the shoulder" Ex. Nahaabaga siya pagkaigo, happened be on shoulder he hit, "He was hit on the shoulder."

abaga --/v/ "shoulder a burden; assume the responsibility of; tackle"> /der/: (abagahay) "shoulder together" (abagahan) "shoulder habitually" /V1 nf/: (muabaga) "shoulder" (mag-abaga) "shoulder" (mangabaga) "shoulder several" (makaabaga) "can shoulder"> /V2 un nf/: (abagahun) "be shouldered" /n/: (abagahun) "burden, load" (tig-abaga) "who usually shoulders" (pangabaga) "assistant"

abang -- /v/ : "pay rent" /der/ : (abang-abang) "rent in disparaging sense" (abangan) "rent regularly" (hiabangan) "be rented unintnetionally" /V1 nf/ : (muabang) "rent" (mag-abang) "renting" (mangabang) "rent several" (makig-abang) "together want to rent" (makaabang) "can rent" /iV2 nf/ : (iabang) "be rented for" ; /V2 an nf/: (abangan) "be rented"; /n/ : (abangan; abang) "rent" (tig-abang) "who usually rents" (mangangabang) "who rents" (inabangan) "manner of renting" (ig-aabang) "that which is used for paying"; /adj/ : (hingabang) "likes to rent" (pakiabang) "likes to receive rent (palaabang) "likes to rent"


It is worthwhile to note the following: the sense of the main entry abaga is basically the same and it would have been more economical if the entry for verb were made a run-on entry as derivation; the repetition of verbal affixes in the two entries classified as verb could have been avoided had the usage of these productive and predictable affixes been explained in the grammar notes of the Introduction or entered as main entry and defined accordingly. It is also noted that Trosdal adopted only three vowels, /a, i, u/, in her ortography.

Although we can consider this presentation as user friendly since it lists practically all the frequently used formations derived from the root and also because of its short English definitions, we miss other helpful tools which are equally important to the thorough learning or internalizing of a language like the sample sentences, or the synonyms and antonyms, or cross references and variant forms.

This volume is handy for students to use and the listing of formations makes it even easier for them since they donít have to memorize the meanings of affixes and constant exposure to the forms will eventually make them adept in their usage. But if we decide to be economical and cut out the derivations with predictable formations, what will be left of this dictionary? A wordlist of Cebuano entries with their corresponding English gloss. And this may be inadequate for the learner of the nineties.

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