Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ilocano Trademarks - The Rolling 'R'

Q: What is the Ilocano for helicopter?
A: Chopperrrr!
Q: How about traffic?
A: Bumperrrr to bumperrrr!

Of course this is a joke. It tries to humorize how Ilocanos rolled the 'r' in the end of a syllable. There is also this song "Bumper to Bumper" by Bituin Escalante which exaggerates the rolling 'r' in words like passenger, flyover, etc. This has became an identity of Ilocano pronounciation. Ilocanos were not aware about this but non-Ilocanos often notice it and try to exaggerate it when they mimicked the heavy 'r' accent.

They say, Ilocanos were identified when they speak because of the rolling 'r' pronounciation. I was amazed when Deo Macalma, an Ilocano anchorman of DZRH in Manila once identified a caller as a fellow Ilocano when the caller spoke the word importante.

The 'r' is really a trademark of the Ilocanos and how they speak it. It can be found in many words of the Ilocano vocabulary. Comparing to other ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines like those natives of Cordillera which can not pronounce 'r' and the Tagalogs which has a very few 'r' in their vocabulary (when the borrowed foreign words are not included). It maybe considered that the Spanish has a heavy influence in the Ilocano language. The Spanish has the rolling 'r' accent. Spanish verbs (which all ends in 'r') is very numerous in the present Ilocano language. Words like abandonar, kuntar (contar), kortar (cortar), labar (lavar), proponer, pundir, eksplikar (explicar), desidir, komprar are some of the derived Spanish verbs which are now part of the present Ilocano vocabulary.

And yes! Ilocanos always stress the 'r'...

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