From Xandra Holazo Marfori via Lino Gerona comes this gem:
In stating a fact, Manilenos say, “Talagang mabait si Weng.”.In Davao, we say. “Mabait bitaw gyud si Weng”..Too assertive? One asks, “Ano nga `yong pangalan mo?”.In Davao we say, “Ano gani `yong pangalan (or worst, ngalan) mo?”.When somebody commits a mistake or surprises someone, we always never fail to say, “Halaka!”. Duh!.
The other day I asked Dr. Ricardo Ma. Nolasco, professor and head of the Linguistics Department of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, what he thinks about how the MLE issue is handled within the Singapore education system and here’s his response:
“The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that there is a substantial number of the Singaporean population that speaks English as a first language, a situation that is not present in the Philippines. This is a very crucial element in the equation that must be taken into account. If you have a fourth or a fifth of the class speaking English, the potential for learning English as a second language for the rest of the class is multiplied several times. A second factor is the type of multilingualism in Singapore in which there is a homegrown language that has come into contact with immigrant languages (Indians, British nationals). The motivation to have a common language, a lingua franca, whether homegrown or foreign, appears powerful. It looks to me that the Singapore education model matches well with the demographics of its population.”
The articles, “Diversity shock“, “Quest for a multi-culture“, “Losing the mother tongue“, “Customer is always right, right?“, “Kankana-ey being replaced by Iloko?”, and “No longer cool to speak IloKo?“, were forwarded to me by Atty Manuel Faelnar. I found out later that they were written by Firth McEachern, a young Canadian Harvard graduate who is presently stationed at La Union. I don’t normally look kindly at outsiders/foreigners who criticize us. But I would take this one as an exception because I know that the writer’s intention is not to put us down but to help us by denaturalizing things that we thoughtlessly do or say on a daily basis.
The articles should make us (especially Ilocanos) pause and ponder. I used to think (quite to my shame) that a language is just a commodity that we can use, replace or dispose of. It was actually not too long ago that I came to realize that my language is a major part of my soul and identity. And so when I let go of my language, a part of me dies too. This is the other side of MTBMLE which is not simply an instrumental view of language as something that mediates learning, but something that defines who we are.
By Firth McEachern
“Pizza po,” said the little girl.
I guess they think Ilokano is not “cool” or “fancy” enough for a Little Miss Barangay contest, I thought, as I watched the event. Don’t they realize that Ilokano is just as rich and old a language as Tagalog? And don’t they realize that by excluding the local tongue from high profile events like Little Miss contests, they further undermine its prestige?
I turned to the gentleman to my right, the Hon. Vice-Governor Aureo Q. Nisce, and said, “I’m sad that these little girls are being forced to answer in Tagalog. The emcee should set an example and speak Tagalog AND Ilokano interchangeably, so that the girls know it’s acceptable to answer in either. Continue reading
By Firth McEachern
“ADDA Black Forest Sundae yo?”
“Wala po,” the Jollibee cashier replied.
“Adda Beef with Mushrooms?” I asked again.
“Ilocano ka?” I probed.
“Tapos, apay agtagtagalogka ket Ilocano ti pakisarsaritak kenka?” I asked her, curious.
She blushed and looked surprised. “Diak ammo, sir.”
This is the scene I go through practically every time I go to establishments like Jollibee’s, McDonald’s, Greenwich, KFC, and the CSI mall here in San Fernando. Even though I speak to them in Iloco, they frequently respond to me in Tagalog, even if they are Ilocano!
Whatever happened to the maxim, “The customer is always right?” If I am a paying customer, it is up to the establishment to be as accommodating to the customer as possible. If I speak in Tagalog, they should respond in Tagalog. If I speak in Iloco, they should respond in Iloco. Of course, this is not always feasible because not every waiter is guaranteed to know the local language, but if he or she does, there is no reason not to. Continue reading
By Firth McEachern
THERE are very significant and unfortunate reasons why Filipinos devalue their mother tongue. Whether you are Iloco, Bikolano, Pangasinense, or from any of the other 120+ language groups, you are more likely to view Tagalog and English as more important, and might even fail to teach your child your own language. Why is this? The first factor I’ll deal with is education.
Teaching Filipino (which uses Tagalog as its basis), is mandatory in all schools, but there is no formal instruction of vernaculars like Ilocano alongside it, at any level. Rumours have it that next year DepEd will start incorporating local languages in early primary school curricula, which would be an excellent idea. Like many great ideas, however, it may fall short in implementation. So far the vernaculars have been consistently excluded from educational settings, and have even been outright banned: the antiquated penalties for speaking local languages in schools are widely practiced in private schools and unofficially practiced in some public schools, decades after European countries have removed such discriminatory policies for their minority languages. Continue reading