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My Ilocano Phrasebook Wants You To Know

Irene Villaseñor



There is value in the reduplication of sounds:

Dára is blood, Dáradára is covered in blood

Tápok is dust, Tápoktápok is covered in dust and

Báles is revenge, while Balembáles is mutual revenge




Tone is unreliable

Ania ket is an important interjection

allowing you to sarcastically express

shock and displeasure when gossiping

or venting your frustration over someone




Be precise

Aniaka metten communicates your

condemnation, disbelief, or surprise directly

to your subject, while Ania ketdín

conveys your disapproval of a situation

Ania ketdín a kinasiglátna!

Translated is How alert he is!

Meaning He escaped me!

Irene Villaseñor’s writing appears in Queer Nature: An Ecoqueer Poetry Anthology, My Phone Lies to Me: Fake News Poetry Workshops as Radical Digital Media Literacy, Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, TAYO Literary Magazine, The Santa Fe Writers Project's Quarterly Journal, and The Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought. She’s on Twitter too @IreneSenor.  

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