Word for the Travel Wise (06/01/06)

America is one of the biggest melting pots around – hands down. With each turn in most major cities the traveler is bound to find different tastes, smells, and even sounds. While some words in various languages slowly sneak their way into to the average American’s vernacular many won’t. There are several words that wiggled their way in long ago and the average person has little knowledge of the word’s origin with the exception of child geniuses in spelling bees. Tonight I want to toss to you a word from a smaller melting pot in the world where certain words have close ties to those such as: Malay, Tamil, English, Spanish, Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian.

Today’s word is a Tagalog word used in the Philippines:

alak – liquor

Alak is a loanword from the Persian language used in the Philippines according to this table found here.

Tagalog is one of the major languages in Central Philippines and part of the Austronesian language family. For some reason I was surprised by the number of free GOOD resources available to prospective Tagalog student. Wikipedia has great background info on the lingo as well as related languages, Bikol, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, and Cebuano. Mongabay pretty much covers all the really good, up and running links to sites that help teach Tagalog, after checking out a few I’ll do the favor of pointing the best out. The first is an interactive language and Filipino culture resource site tools are provided for both teachers and students. A pretty intense breakdown on local slang and how it is derived can be found here. Travel Lang has word and phrase generator that spits out all the basic words you’d use while visiting.

Past Tagalog words: taon, kalye