1 UNDERSTANDING WHY CHINESE SPEAK TAGALOG THE WAY THEY DO Mayyali Joy E. Ng University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (+63)9164608496 [email protected] ABSTRACT This paper explores some prosodic and morpho-syntactic characteristics of the speech variety employed by Mandarinspeaking Chinese-Filipinos when conversing in Filipino. The first section of this paper discusses how speakers of a tonal language adapt to the speech rhythm of a non-tonal language. Mandarin is a tonal language. It possesses four lexical tones. The third, when used in a combination, is simplified by means of toneme deletion (Schoenfeld &Kandybowicz 2008). On the other hand, Tagalog is a non-tonal syllable-timed language. What would be interesting to find out is if the tone inherent in a Chinese word or utterance is carried over by the speaker to its Tagalog equivalent. The second section of this paper deals with how speakers of an isolating “SVO” language talk in Tagalog, an agglutinating “VSO” language. It is noticeable that the Tagalog that most Chinese employ in conversations are different. This study posits that these Chinese, though using Tagalog lexical items, utilizes the syntax of Mandarin in their constructions. The Chinese do not inflect their verbs to show case or aspect. Furthermore, their pronouns do not differ according to case, thus case is determined through strict word order. Interviews with several informants will be conducted where informants will be asked how they speak a certain Mandarin construction in Filipino. The gathered data will be used in morpho-syntactic analysis. A short film will be shown to each interviewee and asked to relate the story they have seen both in Tagalog and in Chinese. The recorded stories will be used for prosodic analysis. 1. INTRODUCTION From gold to trade to a search for a better life, many reasons prompted the Chinese to migrate to various corners of the world, including the Philippines. The Chinese has had a long history with the Philippines, starting from the 9th century when the first of the Chinese junks docked in Manila. Most chose to settle in the Philippines, nurturing and adding to their families while growing their businesses. In the course of their interaction with the Filipinos, learning the language of their hosts became a necessary to work and function in the society. This paper aims to explore the speech variety the Mandarin-speaking ChineseFilipinos employ in conversations. Mandarin refers to the language spoken widely across northern and southwestern China. It is a language with the most native speakers compared to other Chinese dialects. When the Chinese settled in the Philippines, they brought along the knowledge of their language with them. Tagalog refers to the Austronesian language spoken in the regions of the Philippines. As stated, the first part explores the speech rhythm employed by the speakers of this speech variety. Mandarin is considered to be the most widely used tonal language. In a tonal language, pitch levels play an important role in determining the meaning behind a word. That said, Mandarin possesses four lexical tones and one neutral tone. Each Chinese character is a monosyllabic lexicon and same syllables with different tones will have a distinct meaning (Liu 1999). What the speech rhythm of Mandarinspeaking Chinese-Filipinos is will be the focus of this part. The second part of the research explores the morpho-syntactic realms of this speech variety. A huge difference in the syntax of the two languages can be noticed right away. Mandarin starts a sentence with the subject while Tagalog has verbs as its sentence-initial. The research will show the grammaticalization that occurs with this speech variety. 2. METHODOLOGY The researcher conducted interviews with several language consultants. Two factors were asked for in the selection of language consultants: 1) must be able to converse in Mandarin and Tagalog and 2) their first language must either be Mandarin or Hokkien. The language consultants were first shown a short film and were then asked to narrate what they have seen first in Tagalog, next in Mandarin. Recordings were then loaded onto PRAAT where the recordings of the Tagalog narration were compared to that of the Mandarin. Snippets of conversation where the usage of Tagalog sounded most natural together with the sentences gathered during recording were used for morpho-syntactic analysis. 3. HYPOTHESES The first question this paper aims to answer is whether the intonation patterns and speech rhythm the Chinese employ in their own language is carried over when conversing and speaking in Tagalog. One of the hardest things to lose when acquiring a second language is the phonology of the first language or L1, including its prosody or speech rhythm. Some of the phonemes found in the second language might not be present in the first language. Because of this, the second language learners replace the phoneme with the nearest phoneme found in their first language. The same thing happens when Mandarin speakers use Tagalog. Mandarin has no voiced bilabial, dental and velar stops found in Tagalog. They use either voiceless or aspirated voiceless stops instead. 2 Figure 2. Tagalog Kita The second question this paper will answer is how the speakers of this speech variety construct their sentences. As previously stated, Mandarin constructions begin with the subject followed by the verb and the object. Tagalog constructions, on the other, begin with the verb followed by the subject and the object. Aside from that, Tagalog inflect their verbs to show aspect. Mandarin constructions have no verbal inflection and instead use markers to show aspect. The nominative and objective pronouns in Mandarin do not differ and is determined only by strict word order. Tagalog has varied morphemes to differentiate between the two cases. I then posit that though speakers of this speech variety use Tagalog lexical items in constructions, the syntax of Mandarin is still the pattern employed. 4. ANALYSIS & DISCUSSION 4.1 Mandarin and Tagalog Prosody This part of the paper will discuss whether the speech rhythm and inherent intonations of Mandarin are carried over when the Chinese speak Tagalog. As stated previously, Mandarin has four lexical tones and one neutral tones. The first tone is high and leveled, the second tone rises in pitch, the third starts from a medium tone, lowers then rises up to a high tone while the fourth begins from the highest tone and lowers strongly. The neutral tone has is flat. Stress is often found at the first syllable of a disyllabic word. Some constructions may have three syllables but one of the syllables must carry no stress. The particles 的, 得, 了, 把, 被; the aspect markers 了, 过, 在 and the measure words 个, 杯, and 本 may carry a neutral tone.1 The word 看过 in Chinese, which means ‘have gone’, is both in the fourth tone. As seen in Figure 1, the pitch of 看 starts high then abruptly lowers. The same happens with the pitch of 过. 看 begins at 155.94 Hz and ends at 90.94 Hz; 过 at 130.8 Hz, ending at 114.91 Hz.. However in the word ‘kita’, the Tagalog equivalent of 看过, the pitch of both syllables appear to maintain a high and leveled pitch. 2. The Mandarin ‘电影’ and the Tagalog ‘Sinehan’ Figure 3. Mandarin 电影 The researcher compared the resulting pitch of several constructions to determine if the Mandarin intonation is carried over in Tagalog. The researcher compared the pitch of the Mandarin lexical item to its equivalent in Tagalog. 1. The Mandarin ‘看过’ and the Tagalog ‘Kita’ Figure 1. Mandarin 看过 1 Yip, P. & Rimmington, D. 1935. Figure 4. Tagalog ‘Sinehan’ 3 4.2 Mandarin and Tagalog Morpho-syntax Mandarin sentence constructions begin with the subject followed by the verb alone or by a verb and an object. 1) 2) 3) 我睡觉。 I sleep. 他们 吃 面条。 They eat noodles. 我去 公园。 I go park. I go to the park. Verbs are not inflected. Instead, aspect markers are used to signify completion of an action. Verbs with no aspect marker can either be a completed, continuing or a non-completed action. Let’s now examine ‘电影’ and ‘Sinehan’. At first glance, we can see that there is more diversity in the pitch of 电影 compared to sinehan. If we compare the pitch of each syllable, 电 starts at 135.45 Hz and ends with a lower pitch of 116.53 Hz. 影, on the other hand, begins at 116.53 Hz, dips as low as 97.03 Hz, the rises once more to 130.38 Hz. Its Tagalog counterpart, seem to show little change in pitch. The word begins at 136.05 Hz, slightly lowering its pitch when it reaches the second syllable at 126.29 Hz then hitting 103.51 Hz at the end of the word. If anything, it clearly shows that the pitch of the Tagalog word does not follow the up-down pattern of its Mandarin equivalent. Looking at a full construction, it is easily noticeable that there is far more pitch diversity in a Mandarin construction compared with its Tagalog counterpart. 3. 4) 5) 6) 我睡觉了。 I sleep COMPLETED I slept. 我们在 吃 面条。2 I CONTINUING eat noodles I am eating noodles. 我想 去 公园。 I will go park I will go to the park. There are constructions in Mandarin that have two lexical verbs in once sentence with no intervening marker to indicate subordination or conjunction. It occurs simultaneously. 7) 我看过那本小说 vs. ‘Kita ko ang isang istorya. 8) Figure 5. 我看过那本小说 我去 市场 买 东西。 I went market buy things I went to the market to buy things. 爸爸 叫 我 叫 姐姐 教 弟弟。 Father tell me tell sister teach little brother. Father told me to tell sister to teach our little brother. Mandarin pronouns are easier to remember compared with other languages. There is only one form for each—case is determined by strict word order. 我送给 他 一个 礼物。 I gave him a + measure word gift I gave him a gift, 10) 他 想 看 电影。 He will watch movie He will watch a movie. 9) Figure 6. ‘Kita ko isang istorya.’ The figures show that aside from the high pitch range at the beginning and at the latter part of the construction to signal the start and the end of a thought, there is little pitch variation in the Tagalog construction. However, if we look at the Mandarin construction, the pitch varies per syllable—changing according to the tone one character possesses. Notice that there exists only one form for ‘him’ and ‘he’. Any pronoun that precedes a verb is in the nominative case and any verb that appears after the verbs is in the objective case. Simply put, the pronoun before the verb is the doer of the action and the pronoun after the verb is the receiver of the action. Furthermore, Mandarin uses the possessive marker 的 to mark the genitive case and the marker 们 to pluralize a pronoun. Not to be confused with the locative marker 在. 在 functions as a locative marker when followed by a place name. 2 4 Table 1. Chinese Pronouns 1st Person 2nd Person 3rd Person Nominative/ Objective 我，我们 你，你们 他， 她， 他们3 Genitive 我的，我们的 你的，你们的 他/她的，他们的 Tagalog, in contrast, has different forms to differentiate between cases. 11) Pumunta ako sa SM. Went I to SM. I went to SM. 12) Ibinigay ko sa bata ang laruan. Gave I to child the toy I gave the toy to the child. In Tagalog, ‘ako’ is in the nominative case while ‘ko’ is in the objective case. Furthermore, as seen in sentences 9 and 10, Tagalog constructions begin with a verb. Aspect is showed through inflection of the verbs. 13) Kumain ako ng kanin. Ate I marker rice I ate rice. 14) Kumakain ako ng kanin. Eating I marker rice I am eating rice. 15) Kakain ako ng kanin. Will eat I marker rice I will eat rice. Let’s examine the constructions of Tagalog-speaking Chinese. 16) Ikaw gawa pagkain. You make food You cook. 17) Huwag hawak ‘yan, dumi! Don’t touch that dirty Don’t touch that, it’s dirty! 18) Ikaw saan aral? You where study Where do you study? As stated previously, Tagalog constructions usually begin with verbs. What would be normal for native Tagalog speakers is: 19) Gumawa (Magluto) ka ng pagkain. Make you marker food You cook. 20) Huwag mong hawakan ‘yan, madumi! Do not you touch that dirty Don’t touch that, it’s dirty! 21) Saan ka nag-aaral? Where you studying Where are you studying? 她 is used instead of 他 to indicate that the person being referred to is a female. 3 Now, if these sentence constructions are translated into Chinese, the resulting sentences would be: 22) 你 做 饭。 You make food You cook. 23) 别 摸 那个，肮脏。 Do not touch that dirty Don’t touch that, it’s dirty. 24) 你 在哪儿 学习？ You where study Where are you studying. There are constructions in this speech variety that use two verbs in one construction. 25) Ako punta SM nood sine. I go SM watch movie I went to SM to watch a movie. 26) Siya hindi payag ako labas. He do not allow me go out He did not allow me to go out. 27) Ikaw akin bag kuha pera bili spaghetti. You my bag get money buy spaghetti Get money from my bag and buy spaghetti. 28) Ako bili ito bigay iyo. I buy this give you I bought this to give to you. If we examine these sentences using Tagalog, we will notice that these constructions will not have two verbs. 29) Pupunta akong SM at manonood ng sine. Will go I SM and watch movie I will to SM to watch a movie. 30) Hindi niya ako pinayagang lumabas. Not he me allow go out He did not allow me to go out, 31) Kumuha ka ng pera sa bag ko at bumili ka ng spaghetti. Get money from my bag and buy spaghetti. 32) Binili ko ito para sayo. Bought I this for you I bought this for you. However, if examined through the Mandarin syntax, these constructions will sound more natural. 33) 我去 SM 看 电影。 I go SM watch movie I went to SM to watch a movie. 34) 他 不 准 我 出去。 He not allow me go out He did not allow me to go out. 35) 你 在 我 包 拿 钱 买意大利面。 You at my bag get money buy spaghetti Get money from my bag and buy spaghetti. 36) 我 买 这个 给 你。 I buy this give you I bought this to give to you. 5 When Chinese speakers often use the Tagalog time words ‘ngayon’, ‘bukas’, ‘kahapon’, after the subject, as opposed to native Tagalog constructions where these words appear at the latter part of the construction. This is because in Chinese words meaning ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’, and ‘yesterday’ can be found after the subject of a Mandarin construction. 37) Ako ngayon bili pagkain. I today buy food. I bought food today. 38) Kahapon ako kita siya. Yesterday I saw him. I saw him yesterday. 39) Ako bukas meron trabaho. I tomorrow have work. In Filipino, the previous constructions will sound most natural if the time words are found at the latter part of the sentence. 40) Bumili ako ng pagkain ngayon. Bought I food today I bought food today. 41) Nakita ko siya kahapon. Saw I him yesterday I saw him yesterday. 42) Meron akong trabaho bukas. Have I work tomorrow I have work tomorrow. Obviously, the Tagalog sentence is far different from the construction of the Chinese speakers. Where the time phrase should be found at the latter part of the construction, it is placed either on the beginning or after the subject. However, if we compare the construction of the speakers of this speech variety with the Mandarin constructions, we can see how similar the construction is. 43) a. 我今天 买 食品。 I today buy food. I bought food today. b. 今天 我 买食 品。 Today I bought food. I bought food today. 44) a. 我昨天 看到 他。 I yesterday saw him I saw him yesterday. b. 昨天 我 看到 他。 Yesterday I saw him I saw him yesterday. 45) a. 我明天 有 工作。 I tomorrow have work I have work tomorrow. b. 明天 我有 工作。 Tomorrow I have work I have work tomorrow. 5. CONCLUSION The Chinese, when speaking Tagalog, employs the pattern Mandarin S-V-O as opposed to the Tagalog V-S-O construction. Due to the lack of inflection of case and aspect in Mandarin, Chinese often lack inflection in their constructions. To mark the aspect of a construction, they make use of aspect markers. Similar to Mandarin, their construction may either begins with an aspect marker followed by the subject or the subject followed by aspect marker. It is then followed by the locational marker and the location, then the verb then the object. Chinese speakers do not carry over the lexical intonations of their first language. The speech variety these speakers use may sound different possibly because of the difference in thephonetic inventory of the two languages. Every speaker may have a different level of grammaticalization. Since many are in contact with Filipinos on a daily basis, some learn, at the very least, the use of affixes and, if not, at least the proper Tagalog word order. The speakers who’ve learned to speak Tagalog show direct and constant with Filipinos through work and business. 6. REFERENCES  Cao, Jianfen. Intonation Structure of Spoken Chinese: Universality and Characteristics. Retrieved January 18, 2010 from http://ling.cass.cn/yuyin/report/papers/cao/Intonation%20Structu re%20of%20Spoken%20Chinese%20Universality%20and%20C haracteristics.pdf.  Lim, H. & Wang, Q. Mandarin Rhythm: An Acoustic Study. Journal of Chinese Language and Computing 17 (3): 127-14. Retrieved January 15, 2010, from http://www.colips.org/journal/volume17/JCLC_2007_V17_N3_ 01.pdf.  Lee-Schoenfeld, V. & Kandybowicz, J. Third Tone Patterns in Mandarin Chinese: A New Perspective. Retrieved January 16, 2010 from http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/faciliti/wpl/issues/wccfl27/paper s/lee_schoenfeldetal.pdf.  Yip, P. & Rimmington, D. Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar. Routledge, New York. 2004.