Language Struggle, 2


Dialogues in Philippine Diversity, 2

(Note: This is an exchange I had with Prof. Raymund Pascual Addun, an authority on translation studies in Spanish and a scholar on Amianan cultures and languages. This exchange was from an e-mail group of language advocates that pursues cultural pluralism as a template for a revisiting of the conception and praxis of public life in the Philippines. Hon, HI, Nov 16/08)

Aloha Raymund, kia ora:

You are right: this is not going to be a walk in the park. 

This patriarchy (you have to understand that Anonuevo and his ilk is a product, plain and simple, of Tagalog patriarchy) has combined with the restive politics of our languages, and the same patriarchy is no longer secure in its perch precisely because its crown and its victory is based on an unstable ground. 

Remember that metaphor about revolutions and the useless victories of a crown when that crown is perched on bayonets–well, Tagalog, Tagalogization, and Tagalogism have an army and a navy, literal and real, as our tax monies are being used to protect these inutile positions of monolingualism when the whole wide world is opening up to cultural pluralism–and the bayonets stand on a quicksand?   

Those in the know about Tagalog aesthetics, particularly Tagalog poetry–which is being passed off as P/Filipino poetry and which is the same kind of poetry that is being vended as THE poetry of the Filipino people at the Palancas–is sired–yes, ‘sired’ is the term here which is ‘putot’ in Ilokano, by Tagalog patriarchs, many of them based at the University of the Philippines and whose salaries, from our taxes and from our foreign debts and from our foreign remittances we are paying.

What is this? 

We pay the salaries of people to destroy us via the institutions of our culture, education, and language? 

Where on earth can we find a situation like this except in countries like the Filipinas where the peoples of the periphery have accepted to be docile, subservient, and vigilantes against their own sense of self and interest? 

Obviously, that Tagalogistic guy operates from a position of comfort and convenience. 

Someone ought to tell him to learn–no, force to learn Ibanag or Ilonggo in much the same way we are forced to learn, indeed, his Tagalog language via a subtle tactic we call for want of a better term, Philippine monolingual/bilingual education and let us see what he says.

Oh well, I have heard that some of those in his group–they have a powerful bloc of Tagalistas, some of them are useless Ilokanos, by the way–are afraid to speak up, for reasons that are economic, relational, and, hold your breath now, ‘baka tilian sila ng kanilang Tatay–their Tatay might scream at them.’ (I am quoting here; I am not inventing.) 

Your guess is as good as mine. 

At a lecture I delivered at the University of the Philippines Los Banos in July 2007–a lecture attended by faculty of that university, the better students, and many teachers and officials of the Department of Education of that part of the country–I challenged them with this: “Let us start to translate the meaning of social justice in our classrooms. 

“The only way to get us into a national conversation is for your Tagalog students or pro-Tagalogistic mindsets to get to learn other Philippine languages. 

“You are doing a disservice to the Tagalog students by pampering them with the idea–and making them believe–that the privilege and entitlement of the Tagalog language is natural, is the state of affairs, and is God-given. It is not.”

I only had silence when I said those words in a hall packed with strange spirits and sympathetic souls who could see the points I was raising.

But one professor, Dr. Paul Zafaralla, stood up to say that I was right.

So here is the logic: Why ram into the throat Ilonggo students with Tagalog strange sounds and strange words when you do not do the same to the students of the Tagalog region? 

And in the national assessment, you use the same yardstick? 

Where are the better-educated and the more intelligent teachers of the republic? 

Think of national conversation–and you can only imagine how ignorant many of our teachers are, teachers who have been lobotomized into believing that the ‘nation-state’ is more important than our cultural communities, as if our cultural communities do not have any sense of nation and state at all, but not in the way the Tagalogistic mind would see it. 

These are the same teachers (and some poets, too, who are products of literary incestuous relationships!) who cannot distinguish Tagalogization from Tagalogism. A person steeped in analytical skills, as the philosophers, particularly the philosophers of human thought and language, should be able to follow the road to the ‘distinguo’ as a means and a method to clarifying what the issues at hand are. 

That Tagalista guy who fails to distinguish the terms Tagalogization and Tagalogism (and failing as well to imagine that the suffix ‘ism’ is not always in accord with all the ‘isms’ he is fantastically enamored with should teach himself to learn another Philippine language for him to understand that he has imprisoned his mind with the world afforded by his Tagalog word. 

Some people do not learn because they cannot. 

Or they refuse to because it is more convenient to do so; because it is more economically rewarding to do so; because it is more comfortable to do so.

Let this struggle be won.

Aurelio Agcaoili
Nakem Conferences


 On Sun, 11/16/08, Raymundo Pascual Addun (email removed)wrote:

From: Raymundo Pascual Addun
Subject: [The DILFED Forum] Re: It is not the name, it is the struggle
To: advocacy group removed

Date: Sunday, November 16, 2008, 2:15 PM

yes indeed prof. ariel. this fight is not over. the first cannon 

salvos scarcely have been heard.  this is a long drawn struggle. 

Lets go the grassroots now. Anonuevo and the Tagalistas
have the center. we will have the country. rebbeng laeng to PPW
protracted peoples war)to use JM Sison’s terminology. Let was go
to every local govt and every local organization. And then the Tagalistas,
añonuevo included, will soon listen to the cry  of protest and linguistic 

No amount of tagalog  hocus focus can hide the fact the
Tagalog is killing the other languages. This, anonuevo cannot see in
his distorted logic. We have been saying that the other languages are 
killled bcause theyre not taught and used in school. Its as
plain as that. But Anonuevos mind cannot seem to appreciate this
simple fact.   

he even boast thats tagalog (Filipino) has developed on the 
diligence of its users. The fact is that the development of
Filipino was  deliberate and programmatic/systematic through the
educational institutions to the detriment of the other languages.  



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