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Firth McEachern - Diversity Shock, Part 26

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  • dphilfinc
    In December 1937 Pres. Quezon issued Executive Order 134, stating, among other things: …in fulfillment of the purpose of evolving and adopting a common
    Message 1 of 32 , Apr 24, 2011
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      In December 1937 Pres. Quezon issued Executive Order 134, stating, among other things:

      "…in fulfillment of the purpose of evolving and adopting a common national language based on one of the existing native dialects…I, Manuel L. Quezon…hereby approve the adoption of Tagalog as the basis of the national language of the Philippines, and hereby declare and proclaim the national language so based on the Tagalog dialect, as the national language of the Philippines. This Order shall take effect two years from the date of its promulgation."

      Notice that Quezon's Executive Order did not say, "Tagalog is the national language." Instead, he said, Tagalog would just be the basis of the national language. In Quezon's own words, a new national language would be evolved and adopted. Let's study how this "evolution" took place then shall we?

      In the grand scheme of things, 2 years is nothing. I can barely learn a language in 2 years, never mind create one. But that's the amount of time Quezon gave until his Exec. Order came into effect. When these 2 years lapsed, Congress released Commonwealth Act 570, declaring the "Filipino National Language" as one of the official languages of the Philippines, effective July 4, 1946. But before 1946 even arrived, the Bureau of Education released Circular No. 26 (1940), which mandated teaching the national language in all schools. It thus became a subject in the fourth year of high school, nationwide. Given the impossibility of creating a non-existent language in such a short period of time (not to mention having teachers be fluent in it), the instruction of the national language, in practice, could not have been any different from Tagalog.

      In 1944, the Institute for the Teaching of the Filipino Language (ITFL) was opened, to help with the nationwide instruction of the national language, which became a subject across all grade levels of basic education by 1946. You might think that the opening of an Institute would help turn the teaching of the national language into something different from Tagalog, as that's the only form the "national language" subject took when introduced in 1940, having predated the ITFL. But sadly, it didn't.

      And it can't really be blamed either. A teaching institute cannot train teachers to teach a new Filipino language if the instructional materials aren't in the new language! Lope K. Santos was the Tagalog representative of the group established by Commonwealth Act 184 to select the basis of the national language, and after Tagalog was decided upon, he was appointed the director of the Institute of the National Language in 1939. This Institute was in charge of developing the National Language, including preparing it for its use in schools. Santos wrote the Balarila ng Wikang Pambansa, which was the grammar bible for the national language as taught in schools; that is, the grammar used by teachers trained at the Institute for the Teaching of the Filipino Language. If you actually read this book, you'll realize it's just a grammar book of Tagalog, which had not been formalized in a book of such size before. So yes, Santos's creation was new, in that it made a valuable contribution to the Tagalog language. He even made some reforms to conventions like spelling. But all languages have undergone reforms, many more drastic than the changes that appeared in national language textbooks at the time, and that doesn't make them new languages. Santos' instructional materials were Tagalog in everything but name.

      It's not surprising that his works never represented anything but Tagalog. Both his parents were Tagalog, he won the dupluhan in his youth (a popular Tagalog poetical joust), he was the editor of several Tagalog publications, and he won many awards for his Tagalog literary works---all this before he was ever tasked with developing the national language. How would one so steeped in a language, someone whose very own reputation had been nurtured from a young age by his Tagalog abilities, commit suddenly to creating another language? He didn't. He stuck to what he knew best and wrote the best Tagalog language instruction books yet. Even Santos did not have any misconceptions of what language he was helping to concretize as the national language. On his deathbed in 1963 to his wife Mona, he said, "My last hours on earth have come, but I regret that I will breathe my last without knowing what will happen to the Tagalog language…Whether indeed it will become the national language."

      Thus, while Quezon said Tagalog would only be the basis of the national language, in practice it was being refined as the national language.

      Firth McEachern - Diversity Shock, Part 26
    • dphilfinc
      ... Since the development and propagation of such a Frankenstein language has not met success throughout human history, Filipino would certainly remain a pipe
      Message 32 of 32 , May 6, 2011
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        --- In DILA@yahoogroups.com, Firth wrote:
        > I would only tolerate the premise of a national language---regardless of its nature or how it came to be---were it accompanied with balanced and sincere language planning that ensured the continuing, complementary flourishing of other native languages.


        Since the development and propagation of such a Frankenstein language has not met success throughout human history, Filipino would certainly remain a pipe dream orchestrated by Tagalog supremacists for the benefit of our naive countrymen. Firth is to be roundly commended for his honest research and impartial treatment of language politics in our country, this ought to come out as a printed volume.

        I found the portion on the 1986 ConCom particularly impressive in its detail. The proponents got into a number of confrontations with me and I had always considered Villacorta to be in cahoots with Salazar et al. Everything was planned beforehand and in the end they had completely outwitted and fooled Davide. An added bonus for them was that the Aquino constitution would turn out to be intrinsically unamendable.

        Benjie
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