Ilocano language, culture, literature

Friday, June 15, 2007

Unity in Diversity, NOT One Language

From Dominique Cimafranca, blogger (village idiot savant) from Davao, Philippines, comes this thought, albeit not altogether new, that drives at the heart of the “nationalist” wistful ethos:

Mindanaoans -- whether from Davao, Cotabato, Zamboanga, Bukidnon, Agusan, or elsewhere -- have some sense of identity of being Mindanaoan. We recognize that we come from our own little towns and cities, and we have our loyalties there. But we also recognize that we are part of a bigger idea, never mind the occasional agreement in direction. That idea is Mindanao.

In contrast, this idea is practically nonexistent among Visayans and Luzonians.

I have never heard anyone from the Visayas say that he was Visayan, except perhaps in relation to the language that he speaks. One is Cebuano, Boholano, Dumagueteño, Ilonggo, or Waray. But not Visayan.

Much less have I heard of people from Luzon refer to themselves as Luzonians. (I was not even sure that such a word was correct.)

And people from Metro Manila? Well, Manileños think that the Philippines is Manila and vice versa. 'Nuff said.

What, may I ask, have my fellow “Luzonians” in general, and my fellow Ilocanos in particular have to say about that? What do the Visayans have to say about that?

What do the “nationalists” and the Philippine government, after decades of trying to unify the country by requiring everybody to learn and speak a national language, namely, Tagalog which became Pilipino and which is now Filipino, to create the semblance of a national identity, have to say about that?

It would seem like a more pragmatic thing to simply allow English--the global language--to flourish as the common denominator language for Filipinos as it is used now in government official communications, as medium of instruction in our schools, and more importantly as the language of domestic and international commerce. After all, Section 7, Article 14 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that English is one of our official languages (in addition to Filipino and the regional languages).

Decades of grooming Tagalog>Pilipino>Filipino as the "national" language have not brought us any closer to the chimera of a national identity.

Perhaps, in their overweening desire to create a "national identity" at any cost, the so-called "nationalists" have completely ignored the simple truth behind what Dominique Cimafranca writes, "
Mindanaoans--whether from Davao, Cotabato, Zamboanga, Bukidnon, Agusan, or elsewhere--have some sense of identity of being Mindanaoan. We recognize that we come from our own little towns and cities, and we have our loyalties there. But we also recognize that we are part of a bigger idea..." They are defined by the regional languages they speak and the regional cultures associated with them--and yet, they have this sense of identity. And that's the way it should be--unity in diversity.

To move away from that diversity in favor of a national language--Filipino--is to stifle the sounds you hear in the following video:




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