Cebuano / Bisaya: Tagolilong & Reduplication

Discussion in 'Tagalog and Filipino Languages' started by briceman, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. briceman New Member

    Boston, MA USA
    Hello to all Bisayan Filipinos out there! I am learning some Bisaya and some Tagalog and I have a question about the word "tagolilong"=invisible in English.

    To me this word looks like a combination of "tago"=conceal;disguise;hide + "lilong"=conceal (meanings from dictionary). This looks like a reduplication of meaning, not the usual reduplication of roots or syllables.

    Does the word "tagolilong" read as "conceal-conceal" to bisdak ears? Why not say "tagotago" or "lilong-lilong"? Is the meaning of tagolilong somehow different from the meanings of tagotago or lilong-lilong?

    I know Cebuano likes to make new words from contractions, for example "bisdak"="bis-dak"="bisayang dako". And all Filipino languages seem to use reduplication to form new words or add emphasis.

    But tagolilang="tago-lilang" is different I think. No?

    Another example might be "tangkas"=undo;unravel. This might be derived from "tangtang"=remove;unfasten + "kakas"=detach what is stitched. Do bisdak ears hear it this way? There are actually many reduplicated words with similar meanings to tangkas:

    katkat=unravel ?= ikat x2;
    tangtang=unfasten ?= tanggal x2

    So why "tang-kas"? What is new and different about this combination? The two source words seem to cover a similar range of meanings. Is this a contraction of "tangtang-kakas"? Or a reduplication of meanings "untie-untie"? Or something more subtle?

    Daghan kaayong salamat,
  2. niernier

    niernier Senior Member

    Manila, Philippines
    Bicol & Filipino
    I don't know much of Cebuano, but if you would ask me, my guess is you couldn't tell if tangkas is a derivation from two words of similar meaning. Tangkas is also a Bicol word and it's a term we use that covers almost all sorts of undoing such as to detach, unfasten, unravel, untie etc. Tangtang and kakas as you have mentioned are pure Cebuano words since I don't have a clue what they mean.

    As words are passed from one place to another, a part of the word is changed. It could be a change in one or few syllables, or a change on just one of the letters . The word may also be completely different and may be hard if not impossible, even for a Filipino to figure out what the word is in their local language. Ask a Tagalog and he wouldn't know what tangkas is. :)

    As for tagolilong, from what I know, it means the ability to appear or disappear when one so desires. Something that is invisible like the air is not tagolilong. This term is usually used as an idiom or in most context, applied with the paranormal or supernatural. In literature, there's a creature (a bird, if I correctly remember) called a tagolilong, a certain creature which if you can get hold of its "invisible" egg, you'll get the power of invisibility. But as for its etymology, I think it should be treated as a whole and not a reduplication of meaning.

    By the way, in Bicol, ribong means dizzy, and in Cebuano, its lilong. We also reduplicate it, becomes ribong-ribong and in Cebuano, lilong-lilong. Both mean dizzy. Tago-tago is a game of hide-and-seek. But there's -an at the end, so it should be tago-tagoan.

    ribong-ribong(Bikol), lilong-lilong(Cebuano), hilong-hilo(Tagalog) all mean dizzy. See how good we are in the game of pass the message. :)
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
  3. bernardocarpio New Member

    There is a discriminatory difference between the meaning of "tago" and "lilong" being used here. "Tago" means "hide or to conceal from sight; prevent from being seen or discovered" while "lilong" means "secret or kept hidden from knowledge or view; concealed". In other words tago is an act of hiding from view while lilong is an act of keeping things secret. In short tagolilong may literally means a person hiding from view of another person and keeping his things hidden, hence invicible.

    Tastas (undo stiches), tangtang (unfasten or take off something from view), badbad (untie), katkat (climb), kaskas (strum), tangkas (to rip open the seam or rip off the hinges or the like) and etc. are not repetitive words. These are Cebuano root-words that seem to be repetitive. And for correction there are no such words in Cebuano as matmat and kakas. A word in Cebuano and almost in all other Philippine languages when duplicated will change in meaning like bata (child) when duplicated as bata-bata (goon) for a goon is acting like a child by following orders of his master en tutu; or as bata-bata-on (childish). But it doesn't follow that you can duplicate all words in Cebuano. Not all words in Cebuano can be repeated to change in meaning.

    I'm sorry to correct you. Lilong in Cebuano means being kept secret and not dizzy. Dizzy in Cebuano is lipong. And there is no such syntax in Cebuano as lilong-lilong.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2013

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