Tagalog Idioms
by Tinkerer

I Tagalog Idioms in Greetings
You can't take tagalog-idioms forgranted in your letters. However corporate or business-like, letters still need to sound personal.

Often, the translator is involved in listening to two people -- the client who speaks in his language, and the reader, who listens to the "tongue". But while the translator filters the client's thoughts using images native to her culture, idioms sometimes become scarce, and she resorts to word for word transfer. Tagalog-idioms don't always come easily during fast and rushed translations. But anybody can always improve on what has already been done.

So, tinker away at....

1 Minamahal na Katrabaho, or
Mahal na Katrabaho?

The Tagalog idiom used as greeting in letters “Mahal kong (pangalan ng tao)” literally means “[to] (name of person), whom I love.” The English “dear” naturally translates to the expression “mahal kong”. The pronoun must agree of course with the number of the addresee and the one writing the letter.

In Tagalog, using the plural form of pronoun connotes respect for authority. It’s a Filipino way of addressing its elders and when talking to a stranger. Thus, instead of “na”, an objective preposition, “naming”, “our”, is a more respectful way of greeting the addresee in a letter.

Thus, Mahal “naming” Katrabaho, ([to] the colleague “we” love), is preferred here. However, not using the pronoun (because using it will give the expression an intimate connotation) does not subtract anything from the meaning of the original.

2 In Minamahal vs. Mahal, the latter Tagalog idiom is preferred because it is more widely used in the vernacular.

See also Tagalog idioms in literature or
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Inuulit

alon-along buhok
naturally curly hair

bata-bata
a bit younger

dahan-dahan
slowly

gutay-gutay
shredded/wrecked

halo-halo
mixed /dessert of mixed fruits on ice and milk

isa-isa
one by one

kanya-kanya
individualistic

laban-laban
opponents/against each other

maya-maya
later

oras-oras
every hour

palo-palo
a wooden paddle for washing clothes

sama-sama
together

usod-usod
move a little

yakap-yakap
hugging

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