Monday, April 5, 2010


RANK AND FILE. The Gonzalez children, dressed as harlequins, line up for a souvenir picture. Starting from the first boy on the left, the back caption identifies them as: Joaquin Gonzalez Jr. * years, 5 months, 5 days), Zenaida Gonzalez (7-3-8), reinerio Gonzalez (5-6-28), Jesus Gonzalez (4-6-2) and Augusto Gonzalez (3-1-18). Dated 8 February 1931.

Then, as now, Kapampangan fathers and mothers have always held up their children with love and pride; after all, the future of the family bloodline depended on them—their ‘anaks’, products of their union, the beloved ‘sulul’ or offspring of their marriage. In general, our ancestors valued family relationships and there are several terms referring to children, some defunct and others still in use today, that describe their age, rank and place in the family tree.

The eldest child is called “pangane”, and his birth is often attended with pain and difficulty being a firstborn—hence the term “mangane”, said of a mother delivering a child for the first time.

The second child is called “dalanan yang pangane”—the one who follows the firstborn. The “bungsu” is the youngest among the siblings.

Children of the same mother also come from the same belly, hence they are all ‘kapusu’ or ‘kayatian” (from the same tummy). They are all ‘mikapatad’ or ‘mikaputul’ – from the same cut.
Younger kids would address their older sibling as “Kaka”, which is also used to address an older person with respect. Many prefer to use the gender-specific term “koya” (for older brothers) or “atsi” (older sisters). The elder children were tasked to look after their ‘wali”—the youngest sibling. The particle “di” is often used as a term of endearment, as in “Mekeni di” (Come here, dear young one).

A ‘bingut’ (infant) who grows up to become a bratty, crybaby is described as having “makaba iki” (long-tail, as in the train of a woman’s skirt). After a few years, he becomes a “anak a bagong tubu” (newbreed child or adolescence). If a child is big for his age, he is said to be “maragul ya tubu” (large breed). One big compliment is to be considered a grown-up—“magintau”. A boy eventually becomes a “baintau”, while a girl, “dalaga”.

Down the family tree, a grand child is called “apú ” and the proximity of the descendant to his forebear is determined via distance from certain body parts; the lower you go, the farther the vertical relationship-- hence, “apú king tud” (grandchild of the knee) is a great-grandson—the child of a grandson, “apú king talampakan” (of the sole of the foot) is a great-great grandson, while “apú king kuku” (of the toenail) is a great-great-great grandson.

Extending to other branches, a godchild is called “inaanak” or “inanak”. Outside of official marriages, there are also terms for an adopted child ( “inanakan”), an illegitimate offspring (“anak sulip”) and a child of an unfaithful wife (“bitô”).

Of course, today, many contemporary terms have sprouted, with many either coined or adopted from Western sources. A brother can be addressed as “bro” or “brod”, while a sister, regardless of age is simply “sis”. A child born out of wedlock is called ‘anak kilwal’ and the baby of a single girl is referred to as ‘anak king pagkadalaga’. A slang for ‘bastard children’—sanabagan—is actually a corrupted version of the American expression, “son of a gun’. Even more derogatory is the swear or cuss word—‘anak puta” (son of a bitch), which has spawned milder, safer versions such as “anak baka” (son of a cow), “anak pating” (son of a shark) or the nonsensical “anak ng huweteng” (product of smalltown gambling).

Terms to denote family relationships may change with the passing of years, but for Kapampangan parents, children will always be the center of their universe, to be lavished with pampering, love and attention.

No comments: