Ang Nadadarama: “How We Feel”

Tagalog  – one of the flowery, warm languages that you would hear whispering, pervading your ears if you were to wander the crowded streets and alleys that nestle themselves in the Palayâns, the rice paddies, of the Philippine countryside. In such a country where the summers throw sizzling daggers of sunlight into the valleys below, and the armies of the wind and the rain invade the warmth of one’s home, the human spirit – the relationships the people of the Philippines have towards each other- is of utmost importance. This most important truth has been ingrained into how the people of the Philippines talk to each other. Every sentence, every phrase, every word could weave an elaborate tapestry – one of deep emotions and profound feelings. This feature of Tagalog and of the rest of the Philippine languages makes for an incredibly unique way of telling other people just how we feel.

The language has a varied collection of affixes that can determine a similarly varied array of distinct meanings. “Humalik” means to kiss, but “hinalikan” means to have kissed someone in a way that would mean that you loved them and, again, “naghahalikan” means to be kissing someone with spontaneity and a certain passion that would insinuate fiery lust and attraction. 

The ability to be able to modify and add to the verbs in many different ways contributes to the emotionality of the Philippine languages – adding more detail and meaning as the words get longer and more elaborate. The verbs can communicate the tense, the mood and even what article is going to be utilised.

The grand, prestigious languages that came to be in the western half of Europe such as French, Dutch and most certainly, English, can refer to something specific with the use of a definite article; similarly, Tagalog and most other Philippine languages find this to be an incredibly advantageous feature. However, more uncommonly, the Asiatic languages of the seven thousand lush islands that are scattered across the archipelago can also emphasize the action as opposed to the receiver of the action. 

The Tagalog language can add elements to the verb to entail a certain energy, a certain vigour or lack thereof. Take, for example, the verbs “bumabasa” and “nagbabasa” which both, when transliterated into English, would mean “to be reading” but are differentiated nonetheless. “Nagbabasa” would suggest that reading in this sense is routine, uneventful and ordinary – that it simply is and is nothing more than such; “Bumabasa” however, adds life into the verb – it would mean that you had a wanting, a desire to read and that you’re putting effort into it. 

Some verbs, however, cling only to one form or the other as the speakers of Tagalog view them to only be suitable to such. The most notable example of this is “to be loving” or, in Tagalog, “nagmamahal”

“Mumamahal” simply doesn’t exist.

Tagalog, and its speakers, view the act of loving someone to be a passive one – one that requires no effort in the right circumstance for one can never force someone to love someone he or she simply doesn’t. Love, such a human emotion, holds great importance in the hearts of the many cultures of the Philippines for, though the country and the islands bear different riches, different cultures, and different traditions, love, in all of its forms, is love and is the most beautiful thing any human being could feel.

Love, as all emotions are, is what makes us human; it’s what makes us capable of understanding and empathizing with each other. Feeling, to have the innate ability to comprehend the many complexities of the human psyche, is what has made the human condition what it is today.


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