Why not use 'salongganisa' for men's underwear, netizen asks
MANILA – There are no such words as “salungki” and “salungso,” Filipino language experts said, and use of the words can imply a double meaning.
“Ang salungki at salungso ay coined words, hindi totoo,” said National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario. He added that such words are usually created as euphemisms for other terms.
During the Senate hearing this morning about the “sex-for-flight” issue, one of the alleged victims accused Labor attaché Antonio Villafuerte of sending her a text message which offended her.
“Michelle” showed a text message from Villafuerte, where he said that “salungso” and “salungki” she asked to be given her had arrived. The words loosely translate to underwear, but are deemed taboo as they use Tagalog words for female private parts ("suso" or breasts, and "kiki" or vagina).
However, Villafuerte defended himself by saying he was embarrassed by the overseas Filipino worker’s request for underwear, and that he used the words because he was Tagalog and had heard them being spoken by others.
“Nagmula [ang paggamit ng mga salitang] iyan sa mga kalokohan noong 1950s, pinagtatalunan sa Congress kung ano ang silya sa Tagalog ang sabi ay salumpuwit,” Almario said.
“Lahat na ikinabit sa salo. Kunyari sa dibdib, imbes na sabihing bra, salungsuso, mga ganoon. Pero hindi iyon totoo, mga kabastusan lang iyon.”
The better and more euphemistic way to refer to underwear, Almario said, would have been to use “damit panloob” instead of “salungki” or “salungso”.
Meanwhile, award-winning writer Vim Nadera said while the words “salungki” and “salungso” could have been used as euphemisms in order to avoid giving offense, they could have also been used with the intention of conveying innuendo.
“Kung sa news, 'di normally ginagamit ang ganyang salita, kasi gusto mo mag-inform. Pero kung sa poetry [halimbawa], gagamit ka ng may suggested meaning,” he said.
“Iwas-pusoy—gagamit siya ng salitang di offensive, [pero] pwede naman siyang gumamit ng ibang salita. Posible na innuendo, kasi bakit sinabi? Doon ka magsususpetsa, unless palabiro lang naman. Pero [kung sa taong nasa posisyon] dapat aware ka sa sexual harassment.”
According to Almario, words such as “salumpuwit” to refer to a chair were used by legislators in the post-war era to attack Tagalog, and show that it is “puristic” and rejects the use of borrowed words.
“Noong araw, kaya sinabi ang salumpuwit, kasi inaatake noon ang Tagalog na ‘puristic’, na ayaw gamitin iyong silya, kaya nag-imbento ng salumpuwit. Ayaw gamitin ang eroplano, kaya nag-imbento ng salipawpaw,” he said.
It was declared by President Manuel Quezon in the 1930s that Tagalog should be the basis for the adoption of a Philippine national language.
Filipinos online also made fun of the words after today’s hearing, and said other words Villafuerte could have used include “salongganisa” for men’s underwear and “salungguhit” for panties.
Buwan ng Wika
The discussion both online and offline about the words and Villafuerte’s being Tagalog, which came up during the Senate hearing this morning about the “sex for flight” issue comes during the Buwan ng Wika, when schools celebrate the Filipino language.
Though the reason the Filipino language is in the limelight is controversial, Nadera said that as an educator, he thinks it is a good thing. “Natitingnan ko pa rin sa positibong paraan dahil nakakatulong iyan sa wikang Filipino. Mapag-uusapan lalo na ng mga estudyante sa kolehiyo, nagpapayabong ng wika.”
However, Almario disagreed with Nadera. “Ako personally, ayaw ko ang mga ganyan,” he said. “Mainam na pinag-uusapan [ang wikang Filipino], pero hindi sa ganyang paraan.”
“Para sa akin, mas mainam, gamitin ang Pilipino sa mas napapanahon at seryosong usapan, hindi ang ganyan. Nagiging kalokohan tuloy, lumilitaw na mababa ang uri ng Filipino.”