Re: Firth McEachern - Diversity Shock, Part 31
- Here are three sentences, which you probably understand:
Saan kayo magtutungo pagkatapos dito?
Naku! Magnanakaw pala yung binata.
Huwag ka man magtakbo.
And here are the same 3 sentences in another language, which is probably not as familiar:
Sain kayo maglakad dini?
Yawa! Kawatan pala ang soltero.
Huwag ka ngang tumakbo ngarud.
Now, which set of sentences is in Filipino? The first, or the second?
You probably think this is a trick question, because it's obvious to most of us that the first group is Filipino, at least in the way we've been exposed to it. 99% of people would choose the first set without batting your eyelashes. This is highly ironic.
In 1987, the Committee on Human Resources was responsible for drafting the provisions on education, culture, sports, science/technology, and language for the new Constitution, in which the national language of the Philippines was declared to be Filipino for the first time. Wilfrido Villacorta, the Chair of the committee, provided the first set of sentences as examples of Tagalog, and the second set of examples of what Filipino is supposed to be---a language with a vocabulary adopted from many existing Philippine languages. This was his assurance that Filipino is not and would not be the same as Tagalog. As you can see, the second set of sentences includes Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Ilokano words; in reality, however, the `Filipino' projecting from every television and textbook of today does not resemble Villacorta's sample cocktail.
In the Constitutional Commission records, you will find many statements made by Chairman Villacorta and others that emphasize what should be a flexible, pluralistic language. During the Plenary Session of the ConCom of Sept 1st, 1986, Villacorta said the basis of Filipino would be Pilipino (the `puristic' Tagalog that was declared in 1959 and maintained in the 1974 Constitution), but "this does not mean that we should limit ourselves to the syntax or to the vocabulary of Pilipino." Commissioner Ople agreed in the same session that the language "is open to all influences." This was partly in response to advice given to the Human Resources Committee meetings by the likes of Dr. Bonifacio Sibayan, President of the Linguistic Society of the Philippines at the time, and Dr. Ernesto Constantino, a UP professor of linguistics. Position papers were also submitted to the ComCom from various external groups, to the same effect. The Concerned Muslim-Christian Citizens group voiced, "To be acceptable as a national language, it must include all the dialects of the Philippines." Juan R. Francisco of the Philippine-American Education Foundation stated, "A common vocabulary must be developed from all the languages spoken in the Philippines. However, there should be no attempt to obliterate the various ethnic languages." The Multi-ethnic Citizens Committee submitted a statement saying, "We should stop making Pilipino/Tagalog as the medium of instruction in some subjects until we have developed and formally adopted a common national language acceptable to all Filipinos." In Pilipino's present instructional form, being just a formalized Tagalog, a non-Tagalog pupil "has absolutely no chance whatsoever to perform on par with his Tagalog-speaking countrymen. This makes him a second-class citizen cruelly oppressed and discriminated against by unfeeling educational leaders who have sworn to do justice to every man," they vented. Even Commissioners on the Committee expressed concern over the fact that the national language up until then had not been adequately inclusive of the many Philippine languages. Commissioner Quesada in a Committee meeting on the first draft of the sections on language (June 25, 1986), commented, "The feeling really from Mindanao is that Pilipino is so much associated with Tagalog and they feel that we are really dominated by the Tagalog-speaking, that is why they would like something that will not be associated with that kind of dominance."
The Constitutional Commission fortunately listened to all these voices, and the final 1987 Constitution explicitly calls for the incorporation of other languages in the national language: "The national language of the Philippines is Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages" (Article XIV, Sect. 6).
But going back to the beginning of this article. What set of sentences, may I ask, more closely resembles the language we would see in a "Filipino" class? And the books we read in "Filipino"? And the "Filipino" we hear on television? I might be deaf, but when I turn on the TV, I hear "Dito sa TV5," not, "Dini sa TV5." And I've never heard a food ad exclaim "Masarap ngarud!" And the last time the President referred to corrupt thieves, he used the word "magnanakaw" not "kawatan." In other words, the Filipino today has not changed much from the Tagalog sample provided by Chairman Villacorta in 1987, contrary to the Constitution's vision.
Firth McEachern - Diversity Shock, Part 31
- --- 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.