Last year, Inquirer.net reported that the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) was rethinking its purpose and was aiming to preserve RP’s other languages. This is a welcome news since we are slowly losing our identity as our culture is slowly swallowed by the different colonizers that came to ‘teach’ us the proper way. The alibata is almost extinct while there are some dialect that are slowly becoming a dialect only spoken among the senior generation. So, the move by the KWF is welcome news. Personally, I believe if we know our language well, then we have a chance for development and better understanding of other languages. Filipino is based on the Tagalog dialect, strictly speaking if we follow a pure Filipino language not everybody will be able to understand it. My Filipino teacher back in High School pointed out that in Tagalog, month and moon are spelled the same–buwan, so, how do you differentiate month from the moon? In Filipino, (if my memory serves me right), month is buwan and moon is bulan. Some of my Bicolano readers might say–ei that rings a bell. Well indeed it does because the Filipino language, ideally, is a mixture of all the dialect of the Philippines.
The Philippines had an advantage, being a colony of the US, of being one of the best English speakers in Southeast Asia. This advantage landed most of us jobs in various levels of government and organizations around the world whether be it managerial or a modest school cleaner. Our grandparents could speak fluent Spanish back then and our parents are fluent in English. When most Filipinos decided to abandon English, they were doing it as a nationalistic act–well some at least. The move to focus more on Filipino, however, became a disadvantage to some X and Y generations as the quality of English proficiency in the Philippines started deteriorating (just as the world ranking of our leading universities).
As I turned on the radio this morning, I was surprised to hear a seemingly familiar accent–a Filipino speaking English. As it turned out, it was an excerpt of the question and answer segment of the Binibining Pilipinas 2008. Here’s a video of that fateful Q&A:
I was smiling while the radio hosts were flabbergasted and laughing their hearts out–“why can’t she complete the sentence?!!” It was funny at first then I also felt embarrassed as it was a topic over the radio in Perth! I also had some grammar slip-ups both in writing and speaking (whether Filipino or English, that is) but to highlight it like this is like Spongebob under the bright sun.
Well, my whole point for this post–I do agree that we should develop our language, our culture (as in preserving our alphabet, scripts among others) but we should also be ready for the world–it’s a global village becoming smaller and smaller each day and it is inevitable that we compete head on.
Mabuhay ang Filipino!