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(mina)mahal & (minu)mutya...

Discussion in 'Tagalog and Filipino Languages' started by briceman, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. briceman New Member

    Boston, MA USA
    Hello again!

    I'm trying to understand the connotations of the mina-/minu- forms of these two words:

    mahal --> minamahal
    mutya --> minumutya

    The longer versions are listed as separate stems in the Father Leo Tag/Eng dictionary. And I've seen it said that minamahal is more "poetic" than mahal.

    I think I understand that the mina/minu are the Incompleted Object Focus prefixes -- reduplicated ma/mu with -in- infix, (per Ramos). So the focus is on the beloved, and the aspect indicates the love/specialness extends into the future (without end?).

    But for a native speaker (especially Filipinas) what does minamahal say that mahal doesn't? And what does minumutya convey that mutya doesn't?

    Would someone please paraphrase these words for me?

    Thanks! & Salamat po,
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  2. DotterKat Moderator

    California, USA
    English (American)
    The difference truly lies in the context within which either word is used, or perhaps how far away one is from being slapped with a restraining order. Both "minamahal" and "minumutya" convey ideas of tender affection for someone or even something (like a pet). If you think of it in terms of gradations, "minamahal" is less intense than "minumutya", since the latter denotes uniqueness or preciousness ("mutya" means pearl, a treasure, something unique and by extension, somebody you hold in very high regard ----- by comparison, "mahal" almost sounds common).
    These differences can be very subtle:

    minamahal: loved one
    hirang/hinirang: beloved
    minumutya: adored, revered, held in very high esteem, somebody you would put up in a pedestal

    For context, think of the beauty contest "Mutya ng Pilipinas" (Pearl of the Philippines) in which, just like other contests of this nature, the winner is literally crowned, put on a pedestal and celebrated for their attributes. "Minumutya" denotes a love that is similarly singular.

    Having said all that, in my opinion, one would not use "minumutya" or "hirang" in everyday conversation, unless you are one who can slip phrases such as "you are my beloved/ I adore you / I worship the ground you walk on / I revere you" and not provoke giggles.

    Finally, just to finish the line of gradation I mentioned earlier, I would say that "kinalolokohan" (obsession/object of obsession) can come after "minumutya" in a similar manner that "adoration/reverence" can degenerate to obsession.
  3. briceman New Member

    Boston, MA USA
    As we say here (where you are too), Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm... ;) Wow! I'm not gonna ask how you learned all this! :) Just gonna hope you had good friends with bail moneys! But joking aside, thanks for your take!


    I understand the order you put these words in. I would have guessed mahal < mutya < minamahal < minumutya.

    But what I really want to understand is how the addition of the mina/minu prefix changes the meaning and connotations of the root word. I'm more interested in the grammar behind these words than the specific words themselves. So let me rephrase my question:

    When you add the Incompleted Object Reference prefix to a word of affection (mahal, mutya, hirang, etc.) is there a consistent shift in meaning? OR have the affixed words (minamahal, minumutya, hinirang, etc.) taken on connotations that are somewhat independent of their derivation? Do the meanings of the derived words come directly from the grammar (i.e. predictable) or are they more idomatic and idiosyncratic (i.e. unpredictable)? In other words, does the following analogy hold true: minamahal is to mahal as minumutya is to mutya (as hinirang is to hirang)? Or does minamahal have extra connotations (over mahal) that differ from the extra connotations in minumutya (over mutya)?

    I hope this makes more sense than my vague first post! I was hoping for a native speaker (Filipina) to paraphrase the difference in meanings between the root words and the Incompleted Obj. Ref. derived stems. With three pairs (mahal, mutya, hirang) it should be easy to see if there is a consistent pattern of derived meanings or not.

    I want to "get inside" the words minamahal and minumutya. I want to understand what is "more poetic" about them than their respective roots. I want to understand this because my own prose writing tends to be rather poetic in English, and I want to be able to write "as me" in Tagalog someday. So I want to know more than the dictionary meanings. I want to know how the derived words relate to the roots, as heard by native ears. Someday I might even try writing poetry directly in Tagalog...

    Salamat po,
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2009
  4. niernier

    niernier Senior Member

    Manila, Philippines
    Bicol & Filipino
    Mutya means "muse" or "pearl" (although pearl is usually translated as perlas in Tagalog). Mutya is a noun, so you don't use it as a verb. By minumutya, it means "to be held in high esteem", or to be adored. It is poetic in the sense that the image of a muse or a pearl is projected to a person or to the object in focus. And like what DotterKat said, you will hardly ever find this word used in everyday conversations. Additionally, minumutya is in present tense and will always be in present tense(yes, grammar books may call it incompleted object focus). The Tagalog grammar does not prohibit us from forming its past and future tenses but I never heard of minutya or mumutyain. Google returned only 1 hit for 'mumutyain'(I think this word was not properly used in that context) and a couple of hits for minutya(so I think its form in past tense is possible). Furthermore, Google suggests that you should have entered minumutya and not minutya or mumutyain.

    As for mahal and minamahal, they are almost interchangeable in any context, but mahal can do without having the affix. You might wonder, what is difference if one would say mahal kita and minamahal kita? For me, there is no other shade of meaning added to minamahal except that the latter is not the common way of saying I love you. Its English translation is close to I am loving you. As a noun, minamahal can also mean a special someone or loved one.
  5. Onager Senior Member

    English, Tagalog

    In practice and usage, "Minamahal kita" and "Mahal kita" both mean "I love you." It seems to me that the difference is that "Minamahal kita" is a more active statement.

    Unfortunately, I can't think of a way in English to demonstrate the difference.
  6. briceman New Member

    Boston, MA USA
    niernier, thanks for your input! You might be interested in the following papers -- if you have an interest in linguistics. David Gil studies Philippine, Malay and Indonesian dialects. He has put forth a theory that Tagalog does not possess internal syntactic categories like Noun and Verb. I've read several versions of his ideas and I find his arguments convincing.

    NOTE: If you are not a linguistics person, you can safely skip through all the stuff that looks like mathematics. Gil makes his main points in plain English.



    Looking for Parts of Speech in a Philippine Language. Does Bikol have Nouns and Verbs?

    Ludlings in Malayic Languages: An Introduction

    The main idea is that English and Eurocentric syntax have very little relation to Tagalog as spoken natively. The ideas of Noun and Verb are imposed. For me this has helped simplify my learning Tagalog because in practice it is very very alien to a native English speaker. The search for parallels between the behaviors of "Nouns" and "Verbs" in both languages just bends my head. In English we are proud that we can "verb any noun," but in Tagalog you can morph just about any stem to any "part of speech". Only linkers and "prepositions" seem exempt from this syntactic liquidity.

    Gil argues that in reality Tagalog has only one base syntactic category. Almost all words (except linkers, etc.) fit into this single category. One of his most convincing arguments (to me) is that even single bare words can be full stand-alone sentances in Tagalog. In English you can do this with a very limited set of words in limited contexts, but evidently in Tagalog you can do this with the vast majority of words (root, stem, and derived). The meanings of these Tagalog "sentances" will vary because the meanings are often set by convention. There are always implied subjects and objects to complete the thought called forth by the stand-alone single-word "sentance". These one word sentances may not always sound like good Tagalog, but they don't sound "wrong" like they almost always do in English.

    So for me I am learning Tagalog as a language of "phrases" that can be combined freely. Gil's vision of Tagalog structure makes it a more "poetic" language than English. If you have read dense descriptive English poetry you will understand what I mean. The language of such poems calls forth images and ideas and lets them all stand together in our imagination. The larger meaning of the poem is not syntactic or grammatical, but almost purely associative. Gil implies that everyday Tagalog works similar to English associative poems. A Tagalog "Noun" might really mean something like "the X (in front of me) is a Y" -- already a full thought. Tagalog brings together full thoughts like this and the meaning of the full sentance comes more from the associations between the phrase-thought-words than from any syntactic order / relation between the words.

    My 2 cents: English is a very analytical language -- it is good at taking thoughts apart into pieces and ordering the pieces. Tagalog seems much more like a "synthetic" language at heart -- it seems good at bringing meanings together into new wholes -- which is "synthesis," the opposite of analysis. A naive example from my own studies so far is the creation of color word in Tagalog. English has a huge vocabulary for specific shades of color. Tagalog borrows most of it's color words from Spanish. But Tagalog has the capacity to say "X color-of-Y" which is unnatural in English. You don't have a native word for orange, but you can say "the color of an orange" and use the compound word as a simple adjective. Instead of analytically naming the color of an orange like English does, Tagalog brings together the ideas of "X" and "an orange" and uses the "color of" marker word (kulay-) to associate the color of the orange to the object X. Tagalog can easily say things like "the color of happiness" = kulay-masaya. In tagalog this is a natural extension of the color-word system. In English this is complex and sounds unnatural -- colors in everyday English are expected to be concrete, not poetic. See:

    Conversational Tagalog: a functional-situational approach By Teresita V. Ramos
    http://books.google.com/books?id=p1...r+of"#v=onepage&q=tagalog "color of"&f=false

    I hope that makes some sense to you...

    This was my gut feeling after listening to 100s of hours of OPM, even though the Leo dictionary says minamahal is "more poetic." Artists seem to pick one or the other based on how it fits rhythmically into a song and it's lyrics. If they want to go beyond mahal they go straight to mahal na mahal.

    I know the feeling! :) I've been studying Tagalog on my own for maybe two months and I already sense that Tagalog can say **a lot** of things that cannot be said in English. The languages are *very* different. They focus on very different aspects of the world. For instance the Filipino awareness of interpersonal and family relations is deeply embedded in Tagalog grammar in a way that English cannot replicate. Tagalog is an inherently social language. English is very strong when dealing with objects and things outside a person. I will guess that Tagalog is stronger than English when dealing with things inside a person -- loob -- especially in a social context.

    Perhaps this is why English has had such an easy time becoming the de facto world language. Tagalog is so tightly intertwined with Filipino social culture that it might be very difficult to transplant Tagalog to a different culture. On the other hand English has been coopted by every kind of culture. English seems to me to be fairly independent of it's originating culture... in the sense that you don't have to understand American or British culture to learn how to use English effectively. Even the wacky idioms can be learned rote and then used relatively well without needing to understand where they came from.

    Maybe it's just because I'm new to it, but Tagalog seems like a language that cannot be effectively used without first understanding Filipino social culture.

    :) well that's my article for this week!! :)
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2009
  7. niernier

    niernier Senior Member

    Manila, Philippines
    Bicol & Filipino
    You're so smart! To study Tagalog in this level you must have had big interest in learning the language. I am happy to know what your impression is, because as you see, not many people here write a report like you did. :thumbsup:Truth is, I don't know what to say about the syntactic liquidity of Tagalog. :eek: Maybe if we can find a good example to support this, we can have a discussion on it.

    When compared to Bikol language, I would say that Bikol can accept transformations of a stem to any parts of speech that Tagalog cannot. A good example of these are the adverbs of place(igdi,diyan,duman which in Tagalog is dito, diyan, doon) being transformed to a verb. You might find it quite surprising but the reason for that is because we don't have the verb 'to go' in Bikol.

    Having learned how very very alien Tagalog is to a native English speaker like you , I hope your confidence to study Tagalog will not falter.:)
  8. briceman New Member

    Boston, MA USA
    Sometimes I get carried away with words... "syntactic liquidity" sounded so cool I couldn't resist. Usually I do resist because most people are intimidated by dense, poetic, technical language. I try to be plainspoken with people who don't know me well. I must have been on a roll :) or tired or sans coffee, or all of the above! ;) If I ever say something you don't understand, just call me on it. Words are only fingers pointing at the moon. Glittering jewelery on those fingers can be very pretty or just distracting (or both). I'm usually trying to communicate, not impress.

    Earlier this year I decided to adopt Filipino culture as my own. Not because of marriage, but because I like it... and my upbringing didn't give me many good examples to follow. Filipino culture emphasises many things I've come to value. Most of my current friends are Filipino. Plus learning an alien-alien language is fun! Really. (Yes I know I'm unusual... abnormal... ummmm.)

    Yeah, I'm not here for you to translate a few lines of date-speak for me. Nothing wrong with that. I hope some of the guys who pass through here end up making their Filipinas happy... and learning enough of the culture to stay the course. I've been around Filipinos long enough to know that commitment is not just a concrete value, it is a supernatural promise that all but the most religious Westerners will fail to understand the depth of. Filipinos fervently **believe** in things that Westerners think only happen in storybooks. I find that amazing. Our dreams are your reality. If life really were a storybook, magical realism would be the Filipino genre.

    I'm reading a bunch of books by Merlinda Bobis. (Very good stories and poetry.) She calls the Philippines "a land of big emotions." I would say that most Westerners would consider the average Filipino emotions to be bigger than life. Is your life bigger than ours? I think in some senses it is -- in some of the senses that matter most. Perhaps Filipinos are more alive? (I'm not going to qualify that, but just leave it open-ended... It's a big big topic and I gave up on philosophy a long time ago.)

    That's exactly what I meant by "syntactic liquidity". Syntax (as you probably already know) is the set of rules that govern the ordering of words in sentances. In English, words of a given syntactic category (n., v., adj., etc.) can be placed in very restricted positions relative to other words and the sentance as a whole. Tagalog words can shift categories almost like water flowing around rocks in a stream. Those rocks are the English rules of syntax. Syntactic liquidity.

    That's what those four papers are talking about. English words are like jigsaw puzzle pieces -- they only fit together in specific ways. In English a huge amount of information is conveyed by word order. Your words -- Bikol and Tagalog are both Austronesian / Philippine languages so I'll guess they differ mostly by vocab, not internal structure -- your words are more like play-doh -- you can shape them to the purpose at hand.

    Nope! :) I enjoy puzzles, especially ones that make me think and think and think... Someday I hope to be able to think in Tagalog -- at least a little bit. For French that took a few years back in highschool. For Tagalog? I dunno. But I'm attracted to the alien worldview. I sense that Tagalog is complementary to English in many ways. There are studies about Taglish -- which in linguistics circles is called "code switching". No one has nailed down "the rules" for where you can switch from Tagalog to English and back. I wonder if Tagalog dominates the emotive and social parts of a Taglish conversation, and English the concrete parts dealing with things (objects). ?? (Of course some of the switching is for shortest way to say something... or hippest way :) )

    At the very least I will gain a better understanding for the difficulties some of my Filipino friends have when trying to express themselves in English. I know a few Filipinos that have **perfect** English. My awe and respect for them will only increase.

    Longwinded too. :)
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  9. niernier

    niernier Senior Member

    Manila, Philippines
    Bicol & Filipino
    Your words really make me proud to be a Filipino. :) If you could get a copy of books written by Bob Ong, you'll find it very very interesting. They are pocket-sized books, fun to read and written in conversational Filipino. Yes, the language used is simple and conversational, not the one you will usually find in Tagalog tutorial books. If you like the Filipino culture, want a good laugh, then you may as well give it a try. Every scene is so realistic that they seem to jump out of the pages. Absolutely every Filipinos can relate to his stories.

    You guessed it right. My native language, Bikol is just like Tagalog. All the markers in Tagalog are also available in it, just a difference in vocabulary and accent. If you know Tagalog well, learning a language next to it (like Bikol or Cebuano) should be fairly easy.

    I believe that most Filipinos are bilingual, even trilingual (in cases where one knows a regional language) have the stretegic competence to calculate which language could best express his thought. This is currently very evident in classroom discussions, a teacher will revert to Tagalog(or a regional language in that area) if he would like to crack a joke or to explain a concept then switching back to English to give the main points(for formality).

    Function words like 'eh' and 'pa' and other enclitic particles like pala, naman, po, daw, nga constitutes an obvious reason for code switching. Those little Tagalog words carry a lot of meaning and can be communicated in English in only a round-about way. Lots of English words are needed in order to convey the same meaning for these particles.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  10. briceman New Member

    Boston, MA USA
    Salamat ho! I'll watch ebay for Stainless Longganisa and ask my Filipino friends. National sells his books but the shipping is killer :( $50US to ship a $3.50 paperback... There's gotta be a better way.

    If I lived on the other coast I could goto the Daly City public library -- Filipino capital of the US. Their *public* library has copies of Rolando Tinio books! Here in Boston even the venerable Harvard University library system hasn't a clue who he is... sad. Daly City is 3000 miles / 6500km away... so not much I can do about it.

    I'm glad my words made you happy. :) That's what life's all about: giving what we've been given so others are lifted up as we ourselves have been. You are obviously just as smart as I am. I recently read a joke about how students of various universities talk... are you at one of the Ateneos? :) I'm not really asking for that info 'cause this is the internet, but you can take it as a compliment if you like. :) You should slog through some of those papers I linked. You obviously have an interest in linguistics -- at least you talk like a linguist here...

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  11. mataripis Senior Member

    Minamahal is really loved in english/Minumutya is "no one except you" is direct english equivalent. We may love more than two people(the word minamahal is approriate to use) but if you love the solo person(minumutya is used indicating that you don't look another person as your second lover)

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