Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Filipino Slang: Province

This is the last of a series of blog entries that will attempt to tackle various Filipino slang words that have their roots in English but have been appropriated for our own. I am no logophile though so if you have something to add on my subjective history, feel free to comment. Next week, I will have a new feature replacing this segment.

During one of my fiction classes, the writer Alfred "Krip" Yuson reminded us about the nuances of Philippine English and how it's not 100% identical to American English. Case in point is how we use the word province. There are I think two Filipino cultural attributes to take into account when hearing the word province. One is that the Philippines is Metro Manila-centric, which is quite an urban setting. The other is that many Filipinos weren't born in Metro Manila and still retain their houses in the province. Strictly speaking, we're not using the word province incorrectly, but it does carry with it a certain connotation that others might miss. When Filipinos mention "I'm going to the province" or that they're taga-probinsiya ("from the province"), the American English equivalent would be that they're going to "the country" or that they're country-folk. When we use the word province, it's really more a comparison to the busy urban activity in the metro and the province is more of a tranquil, laid-back lifestyle which is why Filipinos use the word in romantic, utopian tones.

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