Monday, October 31, 2011

A Surprise E-mail from a US-based Bambang Isinay

Got a surprise email recently from a kind-hearted fellow who I never met but, as our ensuing interchange would show, seemed an old friend.


Iva an Charlz,

Taon ya Isinaya^ an nai-ana^ siri Bambang.  Diyoya^ situ California manlaput sirien 1968.  Uria^ mot pojdan amtan mamba^ba^ si Isinay toy nayid an at-atup an tajun domonan kasabayat u si ba^ba^ tauwad.  (Isinay Bambang)  

Misalamata^ isi-a toy mabet ri ap-appiomad si ba^ba^  ta-uawararin Isinay.  Taon naila' ri website muad ot amma-i ri gayhaya-uad toy diyoy si tajun Isinay an mansulsulat si bilaynad sirien poto^ siri Dupax.  Diyoy ra pelat bona^mi sina Dupax. 

Attached is a Spanish-Isinay Grammar study printed in 1889. The Isinay language is preserved in this book.  I'm certain it would be of great help to you in your endeavor to put out an Isinay-English dictionary.  May the language be preserved through your love for the language.  God bless you.

Jimmie Scott Genoves

PS.     There another book in Isinay available in the internet, "Catecismo de la Doctrina Cristiana en la Lengua de Isinay o Inmeas".  


Dear Uwa Jimmie,

Adday, maserot, magayjaya, on masing-aw poddan sorpresa ri email muar isaon!

Si atuttuwanar, Uwa, it came just when I was feeling a little "low-battery" with the Isinay-English dictionary project that I'm trying to put up. Ampaylamo pirayawa^ otia tien libru mu mabus, masait on malingot attoj ri mangappiar si attu, lalo toy bea (first time ever) an dioy si attun sinajung u.

Medio mabayina^ bayao isia toy marri^ ensigidan naka-reply. You must have heard of the twin typhoons Pedring and Quiel that hit northern Luzon a few days before you sent the copy of Fr. Joaquin Lazaro's Estudio de la Lengua Castellana en Isinay. Yes, it didn't only cause us on-and-off power outages here in Baguio (and days-long blackouts in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino); it also disturbed our internet connection in the house. Marri^ pay makabuttat beyoy miar ta man-internet otia siri downtown Baguio, toy dotdot an man-uran si masde ya tungnin podda.

Anyway, I hope I would be able to make up for my late reply. You know what, when you said "Diyoy ra pelat bona^mi sina Dupax", I immediately thought of the Scotts in Dupax who had been our neighbors (in fact, two of the Scott houses are around 100 meters away from our house in Domang and some of the Scott boys were my playmates siren unga^ tay).

It's good I have the cellphone number of Joseph, son of Uwa David Scott who I only talked with last May when I went to attend my mother's 78th birthday. Mansutsura isia (I'll tell you a story), Uwa, toy insulat ut notebook uwar di naapiar.

First, I sent Joseph this text message: "Si lavi, joseph. Santuwom man i amam mu dioy si pangivan yu an JIMMIE SCOTT GENOVES. Nan-email ampay isaon toy nabalitanan mangap-appia^ si isinay dictionary. Amtanan man-isinay toy dati anun taga-bambang nanung an nan-otan USA. Dioy ra anut relatives na sina dupax."

Joseph's reply was this: "O, uwa, pinsan buo ni amang."

Wanting more details, I texted him this: "Andere, lei o mu bavayi? Mari^ ampay segurado mu ande tawaj uwar, mu sir o mu madam. Adday, manggayjaya re mu subveta^ di email nar. Si^nu mot ni tinaw-on nar?"

Joseph Scott: "Mari' cgurado edad nar, beyaw ot unga mu si ancle totoy, dauway poda nu isi'a re.. isinay bambang takallo... Uwa mot lohom ayah mwar isiya. Ana' lola diana scott an ivan lolo condrado scott an aman amang un david."

My text message again: "Suspetsa ar iman ya dauway mu saon toy 1968 la anun immoy siri california. Ande sostowar ngaron uncle mun yoles? Marawum santuwo na mu ibalita^ an nantext ta."

Joseph again (answering my "panantu" about the full name of Uwa Yoles and my earlier query what your probable age is): "Eulises salgado scott. Dauway ana' lei da papa ado on mama dora'. Halos kaedad na."

My parting text to Joseph: "Ay atdi... sige man emaila mu bijat. Ibalita^ tu isia mu ande ri subvet nar. Thank you, joseph. Musta mot lojom i amam. Nxt an umuli ya^ ya mampasyala^ abuwew."

Back to you, Uwa Jimmie. Misalsalamata^ podda toy impawit mu ri libru war. I should say you didn't only make my day (and week!) fruitful but also gave a major, major boost to my writing on Isinay, especially the dictionary I am trying to complete.

You know what happened? For the past few days that I could not reply to your email, I spent many exciting hours going over the pages of Lengua Castellana en Isinay. In the process, I got to learn that, except for a few words (such as ela, eman, lea-i, babayi, and manuara), Bambang Isinay and Dupax Isinay were very much the same when the book was printed (1889) or during the Spanish period. Yes, if Fr. Joaquin Lazaro fully based his book on Isinay Bambang, I was curious to discover that he even used the word "mebbes" instead of the "mabbet" currently used in Isinay Bambang.

I shall write about my findings and reactions to the book in my Isinay-Bird blogsite, so you are please welcome to visit the site again one of these days. But, before that, I have to buy a copy of Spanish dictionary so that I would be able to supplement whatever is left of my 60-year-old brain's man-oj o mu uritti^ poddan naadal ut Spanish siren nan-escuela^ St. Mary's Dupax on siren nangeya^ si Spanish 1 on Spanish 2 subjects siri UP Los Baños.

Atdi tay lojom, Uwa Jimmie. Again, pasencia amot toy marri^ naka-reply ensigida. I hope an mabbet dotdot on matde tay ri batang muad!

Iva mar an Irupaj,

From: Jimmie Genoves <>
To: Charlz Castro <>
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2011 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: Estudio de la Lengua Castellana en Isinay

Hi, Charlz,

Mabet an ejaw isi-a, Iva.

About myself:  I met Joseph Scott a couple of times when I visited in Dupax over 50 years ago.  I remember him as an amicable, lively and very likeable fellow.  He would not remember me well as he was probably seven years of age when I met him.
My mother, Melviney Esnaola Scott, was Conrado Scott's sister.  Their other siblings: Elizabeth (Diana), Leana (resides in Florida) , Randolph, and Jeremiah (resides in California).     Totoy (Benito Jr) is my elder brother. 

In parting, here's something very interesting: About 10 years ago while I was in Florida, I visited  with Bella (Magalad ?) Lamb, a cousin of mine from Dupax.   While I was in her home, she contacted a cousin who lived in England.   I think she's a daughter of David Scott.  Charlz, have you ever imagined listening to one from Dupax speaking Dupax Isinay with another from Dupax.  Well, when Bella and Cousin (I forgot her name. I met her when she was very young.) were conversing, I heard the melodious "sing-song" accent of Isinay Dupax between the two.  The Dupax accent was so pronounced that it instantly made me homesick.   The musical accent of spoken Dupax Isinay is quaintly unique as the language is.   The interesting thing is when Cousin spoke in English with me, she spoke in purely English accent without any trace of another national origin.  It's interesting how one can switch from a heavy accent to a totally different and unrelated one.

I'm very glad that the book will be of help to you.  Check out also "Catecismo de la Doctrina Cristiana en la Lengua de Isinay o Inmeas".  The book was written in the 1830's.  I find written Isinay in that era to be difficult to understand.  It would be a challenge to any Isinay language researcher as it was with the writer when he wrote the book. 

Please pass on my regards and love to my relatives in Dupax.
I wish you the best. 
The Lord be in your spirit.


PS.  Charlz, what's your mailing address?

Dear Uwa Jimmie,

That was quick! I thought I'd never hear from you again but here you are.

Your description of the melodious "sing-song" accent of IsinayDupax made me laugh, Uwa. All along, I thought Bambang Isinay was more musical compared to the staccato and argumentative sound of Isinay Dupaj. You see, I stayed in Buag when I was Grade 1 for some months at the Bambang Central Elementary School (near the mountain road connecting downtown Bambang and the Junction near San Antonio) and I liked the tone of the Isinay spoken there.

You mentioned your cousin Bella. If she is 61 or 63 now, I think she was the one who lived with Ina Dora^ Scott and her maiden name is Guiab, not Magalad. If I'm not also mistaken, your cousin in England is named Elsa. I guess I'll have to ask Joseph though.

I already have a copy of the Catecismo de la Doctrina Cristiana that I downloaded from the internet last year yet. Published in 1876, it is supposed to be the oldest book in Isinay.You're correct -- its Isinay is very difficult to understand, particularly that the spellings are using the now obsolete orthography for Philippine languages. 

What I'm raring to get hold of is the book Isinay Texts and Translations by Ernesto Constantino. I tried downloading it but I only managed to get a few paragraphs. Printed only in 1982, I think its Japanese publishers have not released it yet for free reading in the internet.

By the way, Uwa Jimmie, may I publish our email exchanges in my isinay-bird blogsite? I want your letter to serve as prelude to my "book review" of the Spanish-Isinay grammar book you so kindly sent. 

Your fellow Isinay advocate,


Oh yes, my mailing and home address is:
88 Amistad Road, Camp 7
Baguio City 2600, Philippines

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