|Graphics is not mine. Credits go to the link provided.|
How many times you’ve told someone ‘keep your head above water’ or ‘I’ll drop you a line’? Many times, right? But it doesn’t mean you literally wanted the other person to keep his head above water or that you’ll drop someone a line. Figurative language, like idioms, has a funny way of conveying a message yet the person who received it still understands what it means. However, idioms are best understood by people who are born, raised or exposed to the same culture, while those who live in another country also has a set of idioms that are unique like the Filipino idioms. So, when visiting the Philippines, get acquainted with some popular Filipino idioms as it will help you better understand the language and consequently break communication barriers.
In this chapter, you be presented with some popular idioms, the approximation of its meaning, how it will be used in a sentence and how it will be pronounced in syllabication.
Filipino idiom: balat-kalabaw
English translation/context: Literally, balat means skin and kalabaw is a water buffalo that is thick-skinned. Out of this literal translation, Filipinos has been able to refer insensitivities or dense as being thick-skinned thus being balat-kalaw. To simply put it, the idiom means as being insensitive or dense.
Usage in sentence: “Si Pedro ay balat-kalabaw,” Marty said which means ‘Pedro is being insensitive’.
Pronunciation: ba-lat - ka-la-baw
Filipino idiom: balat-sibuyas
English translation/context: You already know the meaning of balat so that leaves you with sibuyas which means an onion, and out of this, you’ll have onion skin in literal translation. Onion skin on this context is referred to the sensitivity of a person wherein the ‘sensitivity’ was likened to the thinness of the onion skin.
Usage in sentence: “Si Maria ay balat-sibuyas. She was easily affected by what Pedro said,” Marvin relayed which means that Maria is sensitive because she was easily affected by what Pedro said.
Pronunciation: ba-lat – si-bu-yas
Filipino idiom: bantay-salakay
English translation/context: Literal translation of bantay is to keep watch while salakay is to attack. The idiom refers to the trait of a person that connotes negativity wherein he will pretend or will show his good side but will grab the opportunity once no one is looking; in short, the person is an opportunist.
Usage in sentence: “Norberto took advantage of Jessica’s situation. He offered her marriage after knowing that Jessica’s family was in big a financial problem. Norberto was bantay-salakay.”
Pronunciation: ban-tay sa-la-kay
Filipino idiom: basag-ulo
English translation/context: Literal translation of basag is break while ulo is a head. Just like bantay-salakay, the idiom refers to the trait of a person that connotes negativity wherein the person is the type who is always looking for trouble and even instigating troubles.
Usage in sentence: “Oswald is a basag-ulo. He is always looking for a fight.
Pronunciation: ba-sag u-lo
Other idioms are segregated or grouped according to what it connotes of refer like characters or traits, situations and many more.