Filipino and Spanish Words: Homonyms

Scanning the Filipino dictionary shows a lot of words borrowed from Spanish. In fact, there’s more than 4,000 of them still being used in everyday conversation by the Filipinos. Most of these words have exact meaning in Spanish, with the spelling and pronunciation adopted in most cases.

However, there a few Filipino-Spanish pairs that we might have thought as “twinning”: words that seemingly look alike, and in fact spelled exactly the same, but aren’t synonyms nor related in any way.

Take a look at the list of homonyms in Filipino and Spanish:

In Spanish, lupa means “magnifying glass” that refers any object to make something look bigger, such that of binoculars, microscopes, and Sherlock Homes’ gear for mystery cases. In computer terminology, it’s also the term used for the search icon usually found in search bar or field.

In Filipino, however, it’s totally different. Lupa means “soil” or “a piece of land.” Actually, its pronunciation is a bit different from the Spanish. It’s rather pronounced as lu-pà, which is pronounced in malumi way, a type of pronunciation in Filipino language with a stress on the second syllable.

Also read: Filipino Phrases Borrowed from Spanish that You May Find Amusing

Puso is perhaps one of the most used words in the lyrics of any Filipino love song. It’s a strong powerful word with emotional value as it means “heart.” It’s so valuable that the national team’s tagline goes like “Laban Pilipinas! Puso!” which can be translated to “Philippines, flight! Fight with a heart!”

Theoretically, it’s pronounced as pu-sô, which is in maragsa way: a rapid pronunciation with a circumflex (^) on the second syllable.

Meanwhile, puso in Spanish is a simple past tense translated as “placed” or “put.” Its infinitive verb poner is conjugated irregularly.

Aside from being the capital of Peru, lima has several meanings in Spanish. It may refer to a “nail file” or a “lime.” In the Americas such as in Mexico, lima may also refer to “lemon.” This, however, isn’t widely used in Spain because they’d rather stick to limón for “lemon.”

In Filipino, lima simply means number 5. It’s pronounced as li-má, which is pronounced in a fast way with an accent on the second syllable (a type of pronunciation called mabilis).

Also read: Why Filipinos Should Also Learn Spanish Aside from English

In Spanish, pito is commonly known as “whistle,” an instrument for signaling or calling attention. It’s that tool used in sports, or by policemen, or even by Flo Rida (“Blow my whistle baby!” LOL).

Although pito may also mean “whistle” in Filipino, it has another different meaning: the number 7. It’s pronounced in a faster manner (mabilis type) as pi-tó with the stress on the second syllable.

Now that’s how you call the lucky number in Filipino!

Being a nation with hundreds of festivals, pista is a word that connotes a happy vibe for the Filipinos. It means “celebration” or “feast.” Actually, it’s a loaned word from the Spanish’ fiesta.

Feasts are commonly celebrated in towns and provinces in the Philippines. In most towns, the feast day is usually dictated by the feast day of the town’s patron saint. Aside from church-related events, a pista consists of colorful parades, street dancing, and band music.

Meanwhile, the Spanish homonym pista has a lot of meanings yet not of them are close to the meaning in Filipino. In a guessing game, one usually say: ¡Dame una pista! (Give me a clue!) as pista means “clue” in Spanish.

Do you know any other homonyms in Filipino and Spanish? Comment below!

Shelly C. Dimaculangan was a language translator in the Philippines. She finished AB Journalism at University of Santo Tomas in Manila where she took her first Spanish classes. After college, she continued learning Spanish at Instituto Cervantes de Manila. 

Filipino and Spanish Words: Homonyms Filipino and Spanish Words: Homonyms Reviewed by Shelly Viajera Travel on 17.11.17 Rating: 5
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