Ilocano language, culture, literature

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Nationalism vs. Colonial Mentality

You would not think about it or look at it twice, but the innocuous-looking sentence below contains all the 28 letters of the Ilocano alphabet (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, Ñ, NG, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z) I'm proposing:

Inawisco ni Luzviminda, ti gayyemco nga anac ti juez ti ciudad ti Parañaque ken padac nga agente ti BIR, nga aglugan cami laengen iti jeep, imbes a taxi, a mapan maki-fiesta diay Hagunoy, Bulacan.

Very ornery, everyday kind of statement that a regular person would make. It also illustrates how c, g, and j may be used, e.g., cami/ciudad, gayyemco/agente, jeep/juez.

The reasoning that the 20-letter Tagalog ABAKADA is popular with the younger generation, or most people who write or make an attempt at writing simply because the ABAKADA is easier to use than the 28-letter alphabet is quite difficult to believe. It just can't be because the ABAKADA is inadequate to represent all the various phonemes occurring in Ilocano. Stop and just look for a moment at these young ones—Ilocano writers or not—who, upon the birth of their own children, head straight to the local civil registrar with such baby names as Marivic, Monique, Alexis, Phillip, John, Olivia, Sheila, Divina, Vilma, Cecilia, Evangelina, Victoria, Alfonso, Araceli, Felix, Estrella, etc.--not to mention their Spanish surnames! Their imaginative/creative choices of names exhaust the entire 28-letter alphabet, rendering the 20-letter Tagalog ABAKADA a thing for the birds or as if it didn't even exist. Which leads me to suspect that the effort to foist what I call the orthographically challenged 20-letter ABAKADA to the younger generation is a concerted effort among Ilocano writers and publishers to dumb down the alphabet on the unflattering assumption that the intelligence of the Ilocano reader is more suited to a less complex alphabet. I sincerely believe our Ilocano readers are smarter than that. Else, are we to concede that the people of most of South America who have chosen to use the 27-letter Spanish alphabet (same as the 28-letter alphabet except it does not include ng) are smarter and more sophisticated than Ilocanos orthographically?

The "nationalistic" premise is a contradiction in terms, writes Nathan Gilbert Quimpo. No apay "nationalistic" da cano dagidiay mangipapilit nga agusar iti 20-letter Tagalog ABAKADA ket ipapanda a "colonial mentality" ti panangusar iti English/Spanish Alphabet. Insurat ni Quimpo:

Among the peoples of Asia and Africa, the nationalism that emerged and developed in the late nineteenth century and in most of the twentieth was a specifically anti–colonial form of nationalism, as the experience of colonial rule helped to create a “national consciousness” and a desire for “independence” or “national liberation”. To make themselves a free nation, a people had to break the shackles of colonialism. “Nationalism,” declared Claro M. Recto, possibly the Philippines’ foremost nationalist statesman, “is the natural antagonist of colonialism.”

Ngem siasino ti agincucuna nga awan tugot ti colonial mentality kencuana? No Filipino-ac wenno taga-Filipinasac, cunam, colonial mentality dayta (naggapu dagita a nagan iti King Phillip wenno Felipe, malagipmo a Felipinas ti nagan ti Filipinas idi un-unana?). No Apo Dios cunam, colonial mentality dayta nga impatawid dagiti Castila. No mapan ca diay simbaan, colonial mentality dayta gapu ta ugali iti religion nga insuro dagiti Castila dayta.

Usigem ti pannacailetra ta nagan ken apellidom--caaduanna nagan a Castila dayta. No aglutoca iti adobo wenno rellenong bangus, luto a Castila dayta. No bugcawam dayta aso iti "Salaki", naggapu iti Castila a “sal de aquí” dayta. No mangurcurosca ket cunaem, "Susmariosep", Jesus, Maria y Jose dayta a parte ti Cristianismo nga impatawid dagiti Castila. No "siet" cunam, isu dayta ti "shit" iti Ingles. No “carajo” cunam, Castila ti “shit” dayta. Torpe cunam? Castila dayda. Puta, cunam? Castila dayta. Puñeta? Castila dayta. Leche? Castila pay dayta. Arreglado? Arreglado a Castila dayta. Tunggal adda cayat tayo a sawen, masansan a ditay pay madlawen nga adda naigamer a Castila wenno Ingles cadagiti balicas nga aramaten tayo.

Casano nga ugasen ti naagseptayo a colonial mentality--bunga ti panangsacup ti España, Estados Unidos ken Japon cadatayo iti uneg ti nasuroc a tallo gasut a tawen? Agsubli tay iti panagbiag a kina-tribo ken kinapagano cas nadescubri dagiti Castila idi 1521, idi saan tay pay a maysa a nacion a Filipinas? Minamauyong ken imposible dayta. Tay cunacon, ar-arapaap wenno panangluco ken panangcusit laeng iti bagi ti panangipapilit a panangusar iti 20-letter Tagalog ABAKADA. Agsipud ta cas naipakita cadagiti ejemplos iti ngato, mausar tay amin ti 28 a letra ti alphabet a pangirepresenta cadagiti balicas iti inaldaw-aldaw a panagsasarita tayo.

Ti panangaclon iti mancha ti colonial mentality, imbes a ti panagtukkiad iti daytoy, ti pacaispalantayo. Ta imbes nga ipabasol dagiti natawid a parparicuttayo cadagiti Castila, Americano, wenno Japon a nangsacup idi iti Filipinas, sarangten, usigen ken risutentay coma dagitoy cas maysa a nacion nga addaan iti kired, naan-annay a kinatibker ken kinapalanguad.