WATCH: Swiss author Annette Hug speaks Filipino like a native

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Swiss author Annette Hug speaking Filipino
Annette Hug has embraced the Philippines and its language. Screengrab from Switzerland Embassy video.

Swiss author Annette Hug is showcased in an Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines video speaking Filipino like a native.

The Swiss Embassy social media post on August 28, 2020, was its “Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month)” offering that features the writer who has mastered the Filipino language.

The 6-minute “Meet The Swiss” video posted on the embassy’s Facebook page had the writer recalling her experience of visiting the Philippines – speaking in Filipino.

The Zurich-based Hug studied at the University of the Philippines Diliman from 1992 to 1995 taking up her Masters in the Women and Development Studies Program where she met professors who seemed like global pioneers. Since then she has been regularly coming to the Philippines to meet her friends and conduct research.

In 2016, Hug released her third novel “Wilhelm Tell in Manila” that featured her translation of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal’s journeys in Spain, France, and Germany as well as the martyred hero’s work as a German to Tagalog translator of ‘Wilhelm Tell’ by Friedrich Schiller. Tell is the Swiss national hero.

In the video, the Swiss writer was seen answering questions about learning the Filipino language, to which she shared some funny anecdotes.

“Nasa Quezon City ako, sa mga ukay-ukay at natuwa sa mga pangalan ng shops dito. Isa, mula sa Hapon (Japan) ang mga suot na ibinebenta nila tapos ang pangalan ng shop ‘Nakamura’ (Filipino for “got it cheap”). At sa Tomas Morato ito kaya sa tabi may ibang shop na ‘Murato’ (Filipino for “this is cheap”) ang pangalan,” Hug recounted.

(I was amused by the names of thrift shops in Quezon City. One store selling clothes from Japan was named ‘Nakamura.’ Another shop in Tomas Morato was named ‘Murato.’)

The writer, journalist, and translator said learning Filipino was easy at first but then the deeper words were challenging but she kept at it and appreciated it.

Hug said that every time she went back to Manila, the language of the youth became different, even the jokes were different, and so the learning for her never stopped.

When asked about the similarities and differences between the Swiss-German or French and Filipino languages, Hug said both German and Filipino had long words, but that the Filipino language is more precise.

She also recalled meeting an elderly Filipino in Hong Kong who would often say “chechebureche”, especially when referring to bureaucratic processes. Hug said the word was nice and funny to hear.

“Madalas niyang ginagamit ang salitang ‘chechebureche’ lalo na ‘pag nagsalita tungkol sa mga hassle sa bureaucracy. Maganda at nakakatawa ang salitang ginamit niya pang larawan,” Hug recalled.

Hug also says remembering the word “makulimlim (dark skies)” lightened up her mood when overcast skies are over Switzerland.

The Filipino language is being studied in a course in Philippine Studies offered at Humboldt University of Berlin and in Alberta, Canada schools.

An American survey had also revealed Tagalog among the top languages spoken in the U.S.

WATCH the Swiss Embassy video here and SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Swiss writer Annette Hug for speaking Filipino like a native!

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.