What does “Sálangí kó pû” really mean?
The greeting culture of Kapampángans can vary from one town to another, as evidenced by the many Kapampángans dialects that they use.
The fact that we have a very rich language and a word for almost all situations means that there is simply no generic “be all end all” greeting for all Kapampángans.
Kapampángan greetings are divided into two – and these are formal and casual. In the modern times, people seemed to have lost touch of the formal greetings, even among the upper classes who have used these extensively over the years. This can be attributed to our foreign influences, mostly from the Americans, who have introduced to us a simpler, more generic way of greeting.
However, contrary to popular belief, our greetings aren’t just confined into the so-called “MAYAP SERIES” which are Mayap a Abak, Mayap a Gatpanapun, Mayap a Aldo, or Mayap a Bengi. While they may seem to be the popularly accepted way to greet in Kapampángan, they only scratch the surface of our rich greeting culture. This is simply because these are mere translations of the English greetings Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Day, and Good Evening.
Pamanatu ampong Pámagmanánu
The first set of Kapampángan greetings are known as Pamanatu or common, casual greetings.
These are the following:
- Ói. (Hey.)
- Musta! (How are you?)
- Mustá naka? (How are you?)
- Nú ka munta? (Where are you headed?)
- Migalmusal* naka? (Have you had breakfast?)
- Méugtu naka? (Have you had lunch?)
- Minápun naka? (Have you had dinner?)
- Múna náku. (Goodbye, I’ll be on my way!)
Notice that we’ve included “Nú ka munta?”, “Migamusal naka?, “Méugtu naka?”, and “Minápun naka?” in the list. This is because, more often than not, Kapampangans would almost always stop to actually have a conversation with the people they meet down the street.
It’s also probably the reason why we’re always late.
*Note that the word almusal is Spanish, the correct term in Kapampangan is abakan, though there is a slight difference, abakan is a meal eaten at about 9-10am. There is no term in Kapampángan for an early morning breakfast. It means Kapampangans don’t eat very early.
The next set are called Pámagmanánu, which are common, polite greetings that can be further divided into polite casual and polite formal greetings.
The polite casual greetings are :
- Kómusta! (How are you?)
- Nú ka umé? (Where are you headed?)
- Minábak/Meúgtu/Minápun naka? (Have you had breakfast/lunch/dinner?)
- Umé náku. (Goodbye, I’ll be on my way!)
On the other hand, the polite formal greetings are:
- Kómustá kó pû? (How are you?)
- Nú kó pû umé kanian? (Where are you headed?)
- Minábak/Meúgtu/Minápun nakó pô? (Have you had breakfast/lunch/dinner?)
- Mámun náku pû (Goodbye, I’ll be on my way!)
Notice that the addition of the syllable Kó with the word mustá made the greeting a notch more formal, rather than just saying it casually with mustá. We also affix the word pû, as an honoring gesture, especially towards our elders.
When a highly respected person is being addressed, we do not address him or her directly. We say “kayu”. We make “ko” plural. As in “ komusta kayu pu?”. Same is true not just in greetings. (e.g. “Lukluk kayu pa pu”)
…And then there’s “Dispû”.
The word Dispû is a contraction of Dios Pu, and is most commonly used by elders as a generic way to greet anyone. It is usually added to typical greetings such as Máyap a yábak ning Dispû or Máyap a Béngi ning Dispû, to connote a sense of respect towards the addressee. When we say Dispû, it is usually accompanied by a slight bow, with men removing their headwear and placing it on their chest, while women placing their index, middle, and ring fingers from both hands towards their hearts.
Dispû is also the beautiful Kapampángan word we use when we enter a house. Instead of using the Tagalog phrase “Tao po”, we instead use Dispû or the polite formal Dispung Máyap.
“Tao po” is just saying there is a man at your gate. But “Dispu” is asking permission or blessing in reference to God to enter one’s house, or to proceed with whatever transaction you may have with that person. Asking for one’s blessing is considered very vital in Kapampángan and biblical culture.
Dispû is also affixed to greetings that indicate the time of day, as shown in the following:
- Ábak ning Dispû! (polite casual)
- Aldó ning Dispû! (polite casual)
- Gatpanápun ning Dispû! (polite casual)
- Béngi ning Dispû! (polite casual)
- Máyap a yábak/gatpanápun/béngi ning Dispû. (polite formal)
Dispû is also commonly used as a response to another greeting, Sálángî kó pû, which is commonly used to welcome guests to a home or establishment.
It is in these three words that the beauty of the Kapampángan language reveals itself, as apart from welcoming a guest, Sálángî kó pû, also means “please enlighten my home”, from the word sálángî or sálángian, which means to enlighten.
Whenever we tell our guest these words, we are thanking them for adding light to our home, for enlightening it, and thus adding warmth to our surroundings. We feel blessed when we are with them.
In the coastal towns of Pampanga however, instead of Sálángî kó pû, we use Mampit kó pû, which literally means please park your boat.
These greetings describe the diversity of the Kapampángan culture and its language. In every city, every town, and village, there is a great deal of nuance that conveys the vast tapestry of people, language, dialects, cuisine, and greetings that form the identity of the Kapampángan.
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Thank you for these posts. They are very helpful in learning Kapampangan. I also appreciate that they are written in English, though I fully understand why they might be written in Tagalog for those who speak it, or only in Kapampangan, for those who want to learn more about the origins and uses of their home language. (I’d also be happy to volunteer some English editing skills to the project.)