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Englog, in the Philippines, is an informal form of English infused with Tagalog words, a popular type of which is called Konyo English. Akin to this is Taglish, which in turn, is Tagalog infused with English words.
A type of Englog—English with some Tagalog words—is called Konyo English. Konyo or conyo is a neologism that refers to certain stereotyped affluent sectors of society. These people are often considered to be the children of affluent families. They are often typically identified by their variant of English that introduces Tagalog words. The word konyo itself came from the Spanish coño (cunt)—.
Features of Konyo English
The most common identifiable aspect of Konyo English is the phrase combining the English verb make with the base form of a Tagalog verb. This phrase replaces perfectly acceptable English equivalents. A classical example of Konyo English is the following sentence:
- Let's make tusok the fishballs.
- Let's pierce [onto the stick] the fishballs.
- NOTE: Fishballs are a Filipino delicacy.
- Make cuento to me what happened...
- Tell me the story about what happened...
- NOTE: Cuento is a Spanish word meaning "account" or "story" which is also used in Tagalog.
Sometimes, the Tagalog interjections na (or nah), e (or eh), and o (or oh) are interjected into the speech. Also some English words are sometimes replaced with their Tagalog translations.
Some other examples are:
- I'm so init na; make paypay me naman o.
- I'm so hot; please fan me now.
- You make hintay here while I make sundo my kaibigan.
- You wait here while I fetch my friend.
- He’s so “galing.”
- He’s so competent.
There is some stratification within the use of Konyo English, and at its core level, it is used primarily by members of the old Creole families, though this is often imitated by their non-Creole friends and people who aspire to circulate within their group. Evidence of this is in the use of many Spanish-derived words or Spanish-grammatical devices or participles.
- Tostado (Toasted) and Jamon (Ham)
- Keep my jamon on the grill... I want my jamon tostado.
- Baño (Bathroom)
- Where's the baño?
Phonologically, Konyo English, as spoken by members of some Creole families and their close associates, takes a lot from Spanish pronunciation, as is evidenced in the pronunciation of certain words. The word "no" is often pronounced by speakers of "Konyo English" as "noh" which shows a substrate influence from Spanish.
The "gentle" stresses and mild sing-song intonations of Konyo English (as an Englog) are highly opposed to the slighly rougher sounds of Taglish as spoken by cab drivers. Konyo English is softer and less pointed, and to the ears of some people, may seem a tad bit on the effeminate side.
On the other hand, in order to sound more plebeian (with the attempt to be socially-acceptable to them), many male Konyo English speakers tend to overuse the Tagalog corruption of the Spanish word for co-parent (which connotes a close friendship) “compadre.” The Tagalog corruption is “kumpare” or shortened to “pare” which roughly means “pal” or “buddy.” As a result, many males among them pepper their speech with “Pare” to start a sentence and to end it.
- Pare, he’s so malabo, pare.
- Dude, he’s so unreliable…
History of the term
The origin of the term "Konyo" or "coño" to refer to the affluent members of Philippine society draws from an earlier (1800's) usage of the word coño to refer to Peninsular Spanish expatriates living in colonies such as the Philippines and Latin America. This, in turn, was a result of the ultra-excessive use of the word coño as a swear word and expletive on the part of Peninsular Spaniards beginning sometime in the 1800's and continuing today. Many Latin Americans and educated Filipinos of the late 1800's, while they spoke Spanish, did not always use the same oral expressions that Peninsular Spaniards from the "Mother Country" used. Aside from the "ceceo" (pronouncing the "Z" or the "C" in "ce" or "ci" as a soft "TH" sound), the over-used coño expression set the expatriate Spaniards apart from the native-born locals. Coño thus became a term that certain Latin Americans (as well as Filipinos of the late 1800's) used for Spaniards which was in analogous fashion to how New Zealanders and Australians continue to refer to the British (especially the English) as "Pommies." (Pommy derives from "POM", or Prisoner of the Motherland - which refers to the England-born English as not being "adventurous enough" to settle outside of the English Motherland.)
The usage of coño as the favorite expletive for expatriate Spaniards therefore gave them the label. As these expatriate Spaniards, referred to colloquially as "coños, were at the top of the food chain in the Philippines and generally held the highest prestige, the term coño later on found itself being used on the broader creole and mestizo caste who may not necessarily have been of Spanish descent (some were of French, German, Lebanese, etc backgrounds).
As time went by, the label's usage broadened further to include most members of the Philippine upper classes, regardless of their racial background. Today, rich people who are seen to have a very affluent standard of living, even if they are of Chinese-mestizo or native Filipino descent are sometimes referred to as being coño."
The word coño often requires a certain Eurocentric orientation, since the richest members of Philippine Society - namely, the ethnic-Chinese Taipan class - do not even qualify for the label due to their non-European orientation. That the word coño originally meant "cunt" and later meant "Spaniard" has surely gone a long way to becoming a word associated with a certain Euro-centric sector of the upper crust of Philippine society shows just how far a word's meaning can change.
The Origin of Konyo English
There is no definitive explanation why some people use this corrupted form of English, and why only a certain sector of society predominantly uses it. One plausible hypothesis has been proposed regarding the origins of Konyo English, namely, an attempt by younger members of the affluent and highly prestigious Creole caste (people of noticeable European / Caucasian descent) of Manila to assimilate or be accepted into mainstream Tagalog-speaking society.
Prior to World War II, Spanish was predominantly spoken in the homes of the upper class Creole families (usually of Basque descent), the situation altered drastically after World War II's liberation from the Japanese and the granting of Independence by the USA to the Philippines. The Americans were seen as benevolent liberators and the prestige level of American English increased at the expense of Spanish. Creole and upper-class families thus began shifting their focus towards making English the first or major language of their children. Some Creole families tried to maintain the use of Spanish at home, but due to the heavy influence of English-language media and the need to communicate with their peers in the English-oriented exclusive "schools for the very rich" ensured that English would be the language that such children of affluent families would grow to be most comfortable in.
By the time many of these children entered Manila-based Philippine universities, they had to contend with their exposure to a large number of people who did not necessarily speak English as their primarily language of expression. While these "Konyos" were rather comfortable speaking English among themselves, other people were not so comfortable with their own English ability and thus spoke Tagalog most of the time, speaking English only when required to do so by their teachers or superiors. The Konyos, mostly being Creoles (of largely unmixed European extraction) or Mestizos (mixed-race) often stood out among the crowd due to their European features and lighter complexion, and sometimes faced potential alienation from the mainstream Tagalog-speaking majority in Manila. Moreover, the Philippine capital in the 1960's was characterized by a rise in expressions of nationalism such as the "Filipino First Policy" and many other movements that paralleled the growth of nationalism among former colonies of Western powers.
The Konyos of Metropolitan Manila, therefore, seem to have felt the need to proclaim their oneness and solidarity with the Tagalog-speaking majority in Manila in the light of this nationalistic resurgence. If not that, they at least needed to appear “acceptable” and non-foreign to the mainstream. In part because many of these Creole Filipinos (sometimes of unmiscegenated Basque descent) appear completely Caucasian and could therefore be mistaken for foreigners.
One variant of Konyo English is known as "Colegiala English" (pronounced "ko-leh-hya-la") which refers to students of very expensive all-girl Convent Schools (formerly known during the Spanish-dominated era as "Colegios") which were run by Roman Catholic nuns. The bulk of the students in these schools were, of course, Creoles and Mestizas. It is primarily Colegiala English which contributed to the "make + tagalog verb" sentence construction found in Konyo English. This variant largely developed in parallel to the Konyo English spoken by their male counterparts who were sent to Manila's all-boy schools for the rich.
In other words, Konyo English (as an Englog) has been analyzed to have primarily arisen as an attempt by English-dominant people of physically foreign-looking physiognomy to assert their Filipino identity through the heavy use of Tagalog words.
For the most part, Konyo English is not used (and is in fact abhorred and avoided) by English-dominant members of the non-Creole Filipino professional-classes (families of doctors / lawyers / engineers / office workers / writers / educators - often referred to as the "Educated Middle Class"), and instead, the most highly English-influenced among them strive to speak straight English with an American accent. For the most part, members of this class are often described as "highly diluted" or "highly miscegenated" Chinese-mestizos (some would probably have distant or not-so-distant links to a European ancestor) who may bear some foreign-looking facial features, but are not too foreign-looking to be mistaken for white foreigners. Among this caste, the need to assimilate with the Tagalog-dominant majority of Manila is low. As they know themselves to be unmistakably considered Filipino by other Filipinos due to their physical appearance, they feel they have no need to prove their Filipino identity by overusing Tagalog words while speaking English.
However, due to the general prestige and respect that the Creole caste still commands, many other Manila-based Filipinos of non-Creole backgrounds have slowly begun to copy Konyo English, since it strangely connotes "class." Usually these people are classmates or close friends of the originally Creole core group of Konyo English.
Konyo English is an English-based pidgin which uses an underlying English structure and draws from a Tagalog lexicon. Filipino English, which is primarily American English spoken with a slight Filipino accent and uses English words that have been indigenized for local Filipino use, is a largely middle-class phenomenon and is used by the educated class. Taglish, on the other hand, is the pidgin that is essentially Tagalog but merely uses English nouns and verbs, yet retains Tagalog grammatical function words for the most part, and is used by the broadest range of people in the Philippines.
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