Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blog sticker

I mounted a sticker on this blog. And if I'd have my way, I wanted to add a definite article "the" before the Philippines since the official name of the country is "the Philippines." Similarly, "The Netherlands" comes with a definite article "the." But as opposed to it, note that the "t" in "the Philippines" is in the lower case.

Years ago, I recall that I attended a linguistic seminar for English teachers. The speaker, Dr. Jonathan Malicsi of Linguistics Department of UP Diliman, asked the participants why the Philippines is called "the Philippines." I guess all of us were roused to come up with a logical answer. After all, we may be English teachers, but we all belong to the country called "the Philippines."

I figured out that "the Philippines" may be a rough translation of "Las Islas Filipinas" (the Philippine islands) as the Spanish colonizers coined it. I blurted this out as a feeble attempt and you know what? I got a "no" answer from him. Other teachers also generated educated guesses. But nobody seemed to have gotten the answer.

The answer, Dr. Malici explained, is simple: it's the official name of the country.