February 3, 2023

“SO, THAT’S IT?” “That’s it, and how it will always be?” “That’s that.. and shall stay as such.. until derision?” All these three are nearest-meaning equivalents of our title Expression and discussion today?
AT FIRST GLANCE, Hamman ma aya? (Literal: “That already Question Marker [QM]?”) appears ungrammatical; but an EXPR it is, it is widely used (and understood!) – in appropriate contexts.. among Ibalois, even among Nabaloi-using ‘outsiders’.
BUT FOR THE Grammarian’s sake, said Expression ‘must have been derived from a longer, more plausible Form: Hamman ma [plus an Adverb, or Adverbial phrase, of time, frequency, etc.] aya? The likes of. Hamman ma ni ulay aya? (n.b. the adverbial phrase ni ulay translates “for all-lines”); or, Hamman ma y kaiingsaan to aya? (n.b. the phrase y kaiingsaan to means “with obstinate frequency [he’ll do such]”; et cetera. For these – and similar meanings are exactly what are implied or meant directly.. i.e. upon accurate contextual use of the EXPR – Hamman ma aya?
LET’S OPERATIONALIZE BY citing some situation-examples where said Expression (EXPR) comes ‘handy’.. or else: inevitable of refined speech application. Our first example:
BOYPAY LAUNG IS confiding to his own father, Ekhetan, that his son – Kotito, sharply answers back, masungbat, whenever advised or corrected of his bully-like tendencies over other playmates; and now Boypay is asking his father:
“WHAT DO YOU THINK, Dad? How must I best approach my son, Kotito Kadseran?” Ekhetan thought for a while, then said:
‘KEEP ON COUNSELLING him. Select the best time to do it.. like when there’s only two of you, and he’s not sleepy, etc. We Filipinos call that Timing, remember? I’ll try to help, anyway. Then, we’ll see.
‘KOSTO, SALAMAT TA inkowan mo..’ (Transl: “That’s right, thanks for telling me..”). If we don’t do something about it now, hamman ma aya?’ [Unsaid further, but implying to mean: “what will happen? We’ll have our ownselves to blame, etc., in addition to the literal translation of the EXPR hamman ma aya?]. Our next example:
TWO OLDER MEN – relatives (5th cousins actually) before Covid time – was it a February or January (?) of this year.. exchanging little good nothings about Kinship among the Southern Cordis. Then, a bit later, a younger man passed by and ‘mixed’ with them – in the Conversation. Shortly after, he left – waving so hurriedly and friendly at the two and saying: Te tohga, oh? (Transl: “Bye for now, EXPR?”).
THE OLDER (OF the two) asked: “Who could he be.. d’you know?” And younger Julius answered:
“OH.. YES, I’M sorry I didn’t introduce the two of you. Well, he’s an elected official in our Barangay.. Purty lucky with the Electorates, he really is! He won – three times in a row: as Barangay Chairman; after which
“HE REPEATED THE same Feat – as a Councilman. Finishing his third term, he ran (again!) for the same Chairman position. He lost. But, in
“THE ELECTIONS FOLLOWING, he ran again for Councilman, and he won. Last Election he was again re-elected. Nine years as Chairman and going 17 years total as Councilman.. but we don’t see any ‘landmarks’.. nor semblances of.. xxx Hamman ma aya? (EXPR plus implying further: “those are what.. and what else, or what next, etc?”). Bvt the older one cut him questioning-in-mind with a:
‘WELL, WELL.. HAVE you forgotten what they say.. that: “Politics is a slippery game?” L.A.U.G.H.S. Our third and final example:
DAKIYAM AMISI IS a Construction Skilled Worker who just came home from the Middle East. His contract term now completed, he’s here home ‘for Good’.
PRESENTLY, HE IS in deep Conversation with one of his closest friends, Matt Matnung; and it seems Dakk (his nickname) is on the verge of Tears. He’s saying:
“THAT’S NOT THE first.. say, not even the 3rd time – she did that to me. After some hours of talking, she suddenly becomes irritable.. incensed even. She seldom returns my soft or simple Tone of voice. Hers is that quick, cutting, ‘hitting’ style – buntac karakdan kha.. “(Transl: “hard-hitting monstly..”);
‘YOU MEAN SHE’S not changed a bit since you left three years ago? You’ve been saying that to me before.. I recall.’ [Dakk nods – head low, but never saying a word. So, Matt again]:
“I SUGGEST YOU try a ‘one-on-one’ encounter; or maybe you seek Professional Advice.. from a Counselor; or, other avenues of Assistance! Apay, Hamman ma aya?
[TRANSL. “EXPR, That’s how it has always been.. and?] implying further: …and you won’t let it stop? Why don’t you do somethin’ about it? before it’s too late..? Or even this: Act now. This time should serve good enough – for both of you!
A LOT MORE of: implications-stored semantically by that innocent-seeming Nabaloi EXPR: hamman ma aya?