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Language, Learning, Identity, Privilege by James Soriano

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As a fellow Filipino I disagree to the piece of “Language, learning, identity, privilege”, even though English is primarily the language for learning in almost all parts of the world it does not mean that we should treat our mother language less. But yes he brings a good point in his piece but we as Filipinos should know better.

Perhaps the goal of his article is to expose the ill-conceived perception on our national language. We have bastardized the language over the years. Tagalog is a beautiful tongue, but what we have today is nothing but a pidgin of what it used to be. Taglish is what is masquerading as Filipino these days. It’s a far-cry from the things that we hear on the streets, or from the brainless banter on our typical Sunday afternoon Showbiz talkshow. In some points Soriano is mistaken to claim that Filipino is the lingua franca of the uneducated. In fact, true fluency in the language is rare these days. Competent and eloquent Filipino speakers in the country are even more scarce than those who can actually speak in straight and grammatically English. Now if he is merely referring to its more common and corrupted counterpart, then yes, perhaps he is right. Maybe such nonsense can never be considered a language of the learned.

His article came out arrogant and snob instead of trying to expose the sad truth about our language and what it implies on our national identity. We must somehow encourage everyone to pay a deeper attention to our language in the hopes of exposing the various dependencies we have on the English language. We should reflect more about what it really means to be Filipino. Ultimately, the end result is more appreciation for the culture that we say is “ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES”. For indeed, where can we find people who are patriotic and genuinely proud of themselves as a nation but otherwise challenged to speak their mother tongue which is the very source of our identity.

I have grown to love and appreciate the Filipino language despite my own limitations in speaking or writing in it. Genuinely we must hope that Filipino languages be given primacy over English as the language of education, of the courts, governments, etc. We must also hope that efforts are exercised to promote its proper use. I may not be the most fluent Filipino speaker, but I try to speak it correctly when I do. Taglish simply sounds cheap and dirty, and quite frankly, makes its speakers come off as uneducated.

Complain all we want about how Filipino has taken a backseat to English in matters of importance (education, government, etc.), but returning the language to relevance starts with learning how to use and communicate in it correctly. If we are not willing to speak proper Filipino, then don’t even bother acting outraged when someone points out its plight in today’s society. The infectious habit of “Tagalizing” English words are just another big part of the problem.

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