WE MAY THUS consider my initiation into the world of dictionary-making as nipeyar (providential, guhit ng palad). As a forester the closest to the world of dictionary-making that I got into was polishing the glossaries of forestry technical reports and checking the operational-definition-of-terms sections of MS and PhD theses passed on to me for editing.
Neyir porat esep uwar an mileleman si pangapyat diksyonaryo. (It was never in my mind to meddle in making a dictionary.) And considering that a dictionary is vital in the revitalization of Isinay, I must admit I didn’t have an inkling either that my professional and personal interests in forest conservation would be expanded to include language conservation.
It is during these gatherings that I get to add some more words to my collection, and to check with them what this word or that one that I saw mentioned by a friend in Facebook means, and to please use it in a sentence. Recently, I got invited to join the lunch MWF meetings of the Senior Citizens Association of Dupax del Sur (SCADS) whenever I am in town.
- Among the lalahay (old men) I have met is Romy Tamba who still remembers the names of the trees and birds that, prior to the coming of commercial loggers, used to abound in the forests of Dupax. As a former driver of a logging truck for the logging concession that tapped the dipterocarp-rich forests of Dupax, he also knows the names of mountains and rivers as well as the history of the sawmills and logging companies that opened up the sylvan areas of our town to exploitation.
- There is also a bi-al (senior lady) who recalls that her father used to gather beeswax and dye material from the nearby forests of Dupax to be used in processing the raw materials for her mother’s pan-ave (cloth weaving) livelihood. This same lady (Leoncia Castillo-Seupon), who I later learned to be my distant aunt, also mentioned how the uwes (blanket) and indong (G-string) that her mother Felipa Mayangat wove were treasured by well-to-do Igorots, particularly those in Bokod, Benguet.
- Then there is this former hunter and nursery worker (Isio^ Luma^nga) who had a fascinating story about how the reputedly biggest forest fire to happen in Dupax started. Lasting for "duwan ehaw, duwan lavi" (two days, two nights), it was intentionally set, he said, by a fellow forest nursery worker to get even with the abubbulih (giant red ants) that bit his gulir (buttocks) when he went to move his bowels among the tinder-dry giyun (cogon grass).
- The Isinay for flood is datong, but this has now been replaced by the Ilocano layus.
- The Isinay for rainbow is tavungeyon, but even adult Isinays today now use reynbo.
- The Isinay for effeminate males is binavayi, but the pervasive influence of TV has replaced it to bakla.
- Fullmoon (tallivong) -- Isinay kids are not interested to sing songs associated to it anymore, preferring instead to watch telenovelas.
- Dragonfly (atittino^) -- Isinay kids are no longer thrilled at catching one by the tail nor can they even distinguish this insect from the cicada (duluriyaw).
- Beans (gayya^) -- Isinay kids don’t join their elders in tending the vegetable garden anymore; instead of the legume veggie beans, they know Mr. Bean.