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Oct 04th
Home Sections Literature and Fourth Estate How Filipinos Are Enriching Foreign Languages and their Adopted Country’s Cultural DNA
How Filipinos Are Enriching Foreign Languages and their Adopted Country’s Cultural DNA PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Literature and Fourth Estate
Thursday, 23 August 2007 05:05

Part One of an Occasional Series


Dr. Eddie AAA Calderon of Minneapolis, Minnesota, started a discussion group, the collective inputs of which are posted also in some e-forums like the NaFFAA_forum and the Botomo.

A very interesting thread dubbed the "Philippine Influence Overseas" (PIO) is now the current topic. A Chicago-based participant, Ms. Lourdes Ceballos, wrote: "Aside from 'Filipinizing' these newly-arrived foreign styles of culture, the Philippines itself as host country must have influenced the manners of the foreigners, thereby contributing to the travelers' ways and to world culture in general. Particularly now that our OFWs are spread throughout the continents, one can imagine how the savor and smell of bagoong (sautéed shrimp paste), Philippine adobo (chicken and/or pork cooked in vinegar and spices) or sinigang (Filipino equivalent of stew) must be winning the hearts and appetites of hundreds of nations."

Dr. Calderon answered Ms. Ceballos by posting: "Yes Lourdes, the
RP has also brought its culture to many countries where the Filipinos have dwelt. Consider the fact that the word ‘Boondocks’ which is common here in the USA, Australia and other Anglo-Saxon countries have been adopted by them. Also our Maria-Clara dresses have also become popular abroad; so are our Adobo recipe and other Philippine cuisine. These are just few examples."

This writer commented in the online forum: "Thank you, Dr. Eddie, for your observation. But it is not only the word, ‘boondocks, which the Western World has adopted. At least in the United States, everybody uses ‘Manila envelope’ to mean the brown envelopes.
Google has the historical background why it became so. Then there is the ‘Manila clam,’ which you can order at the seafood restaurants in Santa Monica pier in Southern CA. ‘Manila clam’ is just the American term for the ‘tulya’ variety of clams used to be edible and readily available along the shores of Manila Bay (before it became so polluted). Of course, there is also the ‘Manila hemp,’ which Americans and Westerners used wrongly in calling the abaca fiber. The abaca does not belong to the hemp family but to the banana species. And I still own the domain name,, although a Filipino agriculturist pointed out to me its wrong connotation in science. So, I decided that it was not worth turning the domain name into a web site.

"And as a Filipino, I may have a verifiable claim of inventing one word that is now in use in the English language. The word is ‘
Yimby,’ which I came up in 1997 as the antonym of ‘NIMBY’ (‘Not in my backyard’). The proof that I was the first to coin it and use it? I was the first to register the domain name, ‘’ In fact, I registered also ‘’ and ‘’ but I gave them up as it was costing me $35 per domain name per year. I still hold the right to ‘’ as computer experts say that the is the most-valuable domain name of all. Of course I came up also with the, which we published until the webmaster, Bill Saunders, died."

No doubt Overseas Filipinos, especially Overseas-Filipino workers (OFWs), will have an impact in enriching the languages and the cultural DNA of the countries where they have migrated to or are working. This is especially true in the cases of the tens of thousands of Filipino maids. This means that many of the future leaders of countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the United States and Canada would grow up with nannies coming from the Philippines. Perhaps the special bonds that the future generations of foreign leaders would have a positive impact in the relations between their countries and the Philippines.

(To be continued . . .)


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Last Updated on Monday, 17 September 2007 14:18

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