Category: language

of imbeciles and idiots

una kong narinig ang isyung “imbecile” sa SRO (dzmm teleradyo) nang nakausap nina alvin elchico at doris bigornia si mandy anderson sa telepono bilang follow-up (pala) sa congressional hearing earlier in the day (na hindi ko napanood) kung saan kinagalitan ni rep. rudy fariñas si anderson for being disrespectful of house speaker pantaleon alvarez in a facebook post.

the impression i got was that anderson called alvarez an imbecile for insisting that her boss customs commissioner nick faeldon promote a certain sandy sacluti to a permanent position for which anderson considered sacluti unqualified.

as it turns out, anderson called alvarez an imbecile for something else, that is, for threatening to abolish the court of appeals when certain justices ordered the release of the ilocos 6 detained in the batasan re a case vs. ilocos gov. imee marcos.

and now alvarez is saying that faeldon and anderson are only trying to distract from the P5 billion worth of shabu na nakalusot sa customs, while bobi tiglao has been posting about anderson who was with The Firm pala before joining the duterte government.

Curioser and curioser. Faeldon chief of staff Mandy Anderson – a cebuana with her father a Canadian – who called the House Speaker names, was with The Firm (Villaraza and Anganco law firm) right after passing the BAR. Now why would a bar topnotcher (5th 2015) from a powerful and rich law firm working in a posh Bonifacio Global City bldg ( with free meals in its exclusive resto operated by top chef Gene Gonzales of Cafe Ysabel fame) choose to work in a low paying govt job in a dingy office in Port Area in Manila ( with a not so clean canteen). Any ideas?

i’m sure gulung-gulo ang mga ka-DDS.  sino bang kakampihan in a war between duterte peeps?  tapos eto pa si ernesto maceda jr, likening anderson to mislang of PNoy days.

Comm. Faeldon plays the gentleman in standing up for his staff. But the gaffe may have made continued service at the office of the Commissioner untenable. As Sen. President Juan Ponce Enrile reminded all in the earlier case of President PNoy Aquino’s Asst Secretary of Communications (she who had something to say about Vietnamese wine and men): always be on your best behavior as your actions reflect on the institution.

i haven’t quite decided if anderson’s and mislang‘s blunders are comparable.  but i do believe that anderson’s is kind of understandable, if only in the sense that “imbecile” is not too different from “idiot,” a word that president duterte himself has used often enough in public to describe people critical of him, such as the ex-presidents of america and columbia and, even, people he hates, such as drug addicts, and people who put him in a bad light, such as rogue cops.  and the speaker, too, has indulged, calling the CA justices “gago” and “bugok” and “buwang.”

but not understandable really, much less forgivable, given that anderson the bar topnotcher is being praised on social media as a beauty with brains and balls.  what’s so brainy or ballsy about calling alvarez an imbecile because he threatened to abolish the CA.  brainy it would have been had she explained why in her opinion it would be stupid of congress to abolish the CA.   and ballsy it would be if she were now to explain why the shabu shipment got past customs inspection, let the chips fall where they may.  and while she’s at it, she might also want to tell us why in her honest opinion sacluti is not qualified for promotion.

c’mon, girl, better late than never.

almario, pilipinas, revolution

so, finally national artist and KWF chief virgilio almario is engaging with mainstream and social media re the renaming of country.  he’s been on radio and television, and KWF’s facebook page has a Q & A primer of sorts and other essays, and on katrina’s wall i saw part of a letter from almario to his supporters where he claims that the change from pilipinas to “filipinas” is revolutionary, or something to that effect.

he seems to have backed down on “burahin ang philippines,” which is good.  the philippines in english stays, but pilipinas in tagalog/filipino he still wants to kill and replace with “filipinas” so as to be consistent daw with “filipino” the language.  e what if, para consistent, yung “fiipino” the language na lang ang ibalik natin sa “pilipino” na ginagamit pa rin naman ng maraming pilipinong hirap magsambit ng “ef” sound?  ay, kakailanganin ng charter change, ‘no?  ‘wag na lang, let’s just leave it as is.  anyway it won’t be the first time that the constitution is defied (think dynasty).

sabi rin ni almario, dito LANG daw sa atin tinatawag na “pilipinas” ang bansa — in europe daw, lalo na in spain, we are known either as the philippines or filipinas.  kaloka.  papalitan natin ang matagal nang tawag natin sa ating bansa dahil “filipinas” pa rin ang tawag sa atin ng spain?  hello?  pakialam ko sa spain.

and what about this: “pinoy” and “pinay” come daw from the last two syllables of “pilipino” and “pilipina”, and pinas from the last two syllables of “pilipinas,” therefore changing to “filipinas” won’t change it to “finoy” and “finay” or “finas.”  i am in complete agreement with prof lilia quindoza-santiago on this.

… tungkol sa palayaw na “Pinoy” at “Pinay” na sabi ay galing sa ikatlo at ikaapat na pantig NG FILIPINAS – paano KAYA natiyak ng KWF ito? Patunayan sa bisa ng estadistika at masusing pananaliksik! Sa kalaganapan ng gamit ng Pilipinas, maaaring may timbang pa rin ang unang titik at pantig na /Pi/, sige nga mapapatunayan ba ninyo na yung ikatlo at ikaapat na pantig ang pinagmulan ng Pinoy at Pinay? THIS IS REALLY AND TRULY ABSURD!

indeed.  show us the proof.  it is even more likely that “pinas” comes from “naspi,” early slang for pilipinas among musikeros abroad, a la yosi for sigarilyo, first and last syllables reversed.

ayon pa  kay almario, walang batas na nilalabag kung papatayin o pipigilin ang “pilipinas” in favor of “filipinas.”  pero kahit na.  changing the name of the country is no small matter.

prof lilia:  ang pagbabago ng pangalan ay isang desisyong legal – kahit naman sa indibidwal, hindi mo basta-basta mapapalitan ang iyong pangalan, kelangan pumunta ka sa korte at manghingi ng legal na kautusan para mapalitan, kahit iisang letra lang ng iyong una, pangalawang ngalan at apelyido.  E ganito ang batas para sa pagpapalit ng ngalan ng isang tao, hindi ba mas dapat sundin ito sa pagpapalit ng ngalan ng bansa?  Tawagin na ninyo akong legalistic, but that’s what it is folks.  Walang mangyayari sa resoulusyon ng KWF na ito kung hindi gagawing batas ang pagpalit ng ngalan ng Pilipinas para ito itatak sa ating pasaporte.  Ibig sabihin, in William Faulkner’s words, this is all “sound and fury signifying NOTHING.”

besides, changing what almost a hundred million filipinos call their country simply cannot be, should not be, a decision for government to make.  if at all, it should be a response to already widespread use of “filipinas,” if ever.

isa pa, ano ba talaga ang itinawag ni bonifacio sa bansa?  pilipinas o filipinas?

Ipinaliwanag ni Almario na ang “Filipinas” ang orihinal at opisyal na pangalan ng bansa hanggang sa dulo ng ika-19 siglo at ginamit ni Jose Rizal sa kanyang mga gawa at ni Andres Bonifacio sa kanyang tulang “Katapusang Hibik ng Filipinas.” 

but if you google  Katapusang Hibik ng Flipinas, the search engine gives you links to Katapusang Hibik ng Pilipinas instead.  so, ano ba talaga?  this is no small matter either.

which brings me back to revolution and this quote (from a letter almario wrote to his supporters) that katrina posted on facebook:

“Ang “Filipino” at ang “Filipinas” ay kinatawan lamang ng nabubuong pambansa at makabansang rebolusyon, isang bagong himagsikan mula sa kultura ng korupsiyon at kamangmangan na umiiral sa ating kasalukuyang “Pilipinas,” tungo sa higit na pagkakaisa at kaunlaran ng sambayanan.” — Virgilio Almario.

medyo over the top, thus drawing this rejoinder from prof. lilia:

Lilia Quindoza Santiago  Kung laganap ang korupsiyon at kamangmangan sa kasalukuyang “Pilipinas”, babaguhin ba ito ng pagpapalit pangalan patungong Filipinas? Paano? Paano nga ba nagaganap ang pagbabago ? – Ito ba ay idinidikta ng otoridad mula sa mga nakaluklok sa posisyon sa gobyerno o mula sa mga mamamayang nagnanais ng pagbabago? Ano ang ikinaiba ng analysis na ito sa narinig ko na ( at ayaw kong paniwalaan) na “damaged culture’ ng mga tao sa arkipelago?

for a language to be revolutionary, for language to bring national unity and progress sans corruption, it would have to be truly a language of the masses, and not some laboratory version that doesn’t make sense.

WIKA NATIN ANG DAANG MATUWID, says the cover photo of KWF’s facebook page, apparently in celebration of Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa and some Pambansang Kongreso sa Wika in august.

WIKA NATIN ANG DAANG MATUWID.  our language is the straight path?  really?  a language that ‘s killing off more and more tagalog words and taking in more and more english ones and even ispeling them the tagalog way so that matitisod ka at mapapaisip muna, o tatamarin ka na lang magbasa at magsulat?

or is it, the straight path is our language?  what straight path.  at least di ko na naririnig yung kung-walang-corrupt-walang-mahirap line, i suppose dahil di naman kayang panindigan.  it’s time to drop daang-matuwid too, methinks, because it’s just another road that has the oligarchy and its minions laughing all the way to the bank, as always.

WIKA NATIN ANG DAANG MATUWID?  come on, KWF, you can do better than that.

 

patayin ang ‘pilipinas’ ?!?

believe it or not.  the komisyon sa wikang filipino (KWF), based in malacanang, and headed by national artist virgilio almario aka rio alma, saw fit to pass a resolution last april 12 that would change the nation’s name, from philippines (of american times to today) and pilipinas (of lope k. santos’ time to today) to filipinas (of spanish times only).  why?  read Patayin ang ‘Pilipinas’ by almario himself.

not surprisingly, pinagtawanan ito sa social media. paano na nga naman: it’s more fun in filipinas?  it’s more fun in the filipinas?  in las filipinas?  any of the above, ang fangit.  but seriously, i share the sentiments of these facebook friends:

Zeus Salazar: hindi ko yata mabibigkas ang ‘ep’. ito naman ang kabulastugang ifinalulunok sa atin dahil sa kabulastugang ifinalunok sa atin noong dekada 1970 nang pinalitan ang ‘pilipino’ ng ‘filipino’ para di-umano maging katang-tanggap ang wikang pambansang base sa tagalog sa lahat. hanggang ngayon pilipino o tagalog ang tawag dito ng nkararaming pilipino. mamaya-maya tatawagin naman ng mga may pakana nito ang ‘pilipinas’ na ‘filipinas’ kahit na hindi natin mabigkas ito. wala na ibang magawa sila, yung may katuturan naman at intelehente. kung lagi na lamang mapapalit kung anu-ano, ano ba ang magiging permanente sa atin. pasiya ba ito ng bayan?

Adam David: Nais ko ring magsangguni ng pagpapalit ng paggamit ng pangngalan/pangalan na simpatiko at romantiko sa ating kasaysayan ng kolonyalismo: “comfort women” imbis na “biktima ng panggagahasa sa panahon ng digma.”

Nawa’y ipagpatibay ang paggamit ng katagang ito para sa ikauunlad ng modernong bansang Filipinas.

 Marck Ronald Rimorin: …this should be made clear: the key stakeholders in the name of a nation are the people, not the office in charge of language (or the poet in charge of that office). “Filipinas” may be correct, but that doesn’t mean “Pilipinas” is wrong. And any sort of “pagpipigil” to use the latter is another height in the peaks of apog.

Adam David: I dunno, Ser Rio, China and Japan seem pretty unified to me, despite various names for their countries/nations/citizens even within their respective countries all these centuries. Try again after another twenty years?

Marck Ronald Rimorin: To be out of touch with the people’s language is to be out of touch with the people. The ivory tower is often just a pile of lime.

i agree too with neil garcia’s response to jerry gracio’s fb status:

Jerry Gracio: Okay, I signed KWF Resolution No. 13-19, s. 2013, so I am for “Filipinas”. Dahil may “F” na sa Filipino alphabet at dati nang may “F” ang mga katutubong lengguwahe sa Filipinas tulad ng Ivatan, Tiruray, Bontoc, Igorot, Bilaan, Tiboli, etc. Maniwala kayo, hindi ito dahil sa mga layuning pambakla: para matanggap na sa lengguwahe ang “fafa” at “fadir”. Mareremedyuhan nito ang problema kung bakit Philippines ang bansa natin pero Filipino ang ating nationality at wika. Totoong hindi nito masasagot ang iba pa nating problema, tulad ng kahirapan, korapsyon, etc.–rebolusyon ang kailangan natin para matapos ang mga ito. Nahihirapan tayong tanggapin ang “Filipinas” dahil maiksi ang ating memorya: naalala natin ang “Pilipinas” na lumitaw lang noong ika-20 siglo at lumaganap noong 1950s, pero hindi na natin maalala na “Filipinas” ang pangalan ng ating bansa mula noong 1543, at “Filipinas” ang tawag sa ating bansa ng ating mga bayani sa panahon ng Rebolusyong Filipino. Naniniwala ako, masasanay din tayo sa Filipinas.

J. Neil C. Garcia:  sorry, jerry, the rationale being presented just isn’t good enough, to my mind.  remember that we are not fighting over letters here.  the f sound might as well be spelled as ph, for finally the letters of the alphabet are nothing if not phonetic approximations of actual speech.  the existence of this sound in our local languages isn’t the issue, really. read more closely: the argument being pushed is ‘historical’: filipinas was the name actually given by villalobos to these islands, which–we must remember–wasn’t really this country yet, not in terms of geography, nor certainly in terms of consciousness and/or identity. it is precisely by virtue of a historicizing perspective that we must accept pilipinas and philippines.  pilipinas is a localization–a creolization–of this original hispanic name, and the simple truth is that both it and philippines (the anglicized version of filipinas) have already achieved a reality in both national and transnational senses–both are already what we, and our country, have come to be.  i don’t see what purpose this orthographic revision will serve in our nation’s ‘being/becoming.’

ang dami nating language and identity problems, and ‘pilipinas’ is not one of them.  sana magpakatino na ang KWF at baguhin naman ang priorities, iakma naman sa nangyayari on the ground, tanggapin na laganap na ang tagalog (yes, tagalog pa rin ang tawag ng nakararami sa national vernacular), tanggapin rin na hindi ito ang klaseng ‘filipino’ (the language) na in-envision o type nila, but hey it’s alive and kicking, playful and irreverent as always, except that it’s gotten so grammatically and semantically sloppy.  i don’t know about the teleseryes, but both the english and tagalog of newscasts leave much to be desired.

check out james soriano, wikang pambansa 101, scroll down to lem garcellano’s rant on broadcast media’s faulty tagalog.  hindi ba ito dapat ang pinapakialaman ng KWF?  the commission has access to government tv, bakit hindi mag-produce ng isang programa na magmo-monitor at magkokomento, magwawasto, kapag may naririnig o nababasa na maling tagalog.  for starters.

the question being asked, of course, is, sino bang kikita dito?  sinong kikita kung maging batas ito at simulan ang pagpalit ng pangalan ng pilipinas sa mga kuwarta ng bayan at mga karatula at letterhead ng gobyerno?  raket lang, di ba.  utang na loob, sobra na, tantanan na ang bayang pilipinas.

what offends me most is that, to explain the killing of ‘pilipinas’, almario throws at us an essay he wrote 20 years ago (!) as he can’t be bothered, twould seem, up in his ivory tower, to come up (down) with something current for us lowly earthlings, how arrogant naman.  o baka naman na sa 1992 pa rin siya, national artist award and all, and he has nothing new to say to nation?  maliwanag kung gayon na napag-iwanan na siya ng panahon and he has no business messing around with our notions of nation and language.

*

Filipinas at Pilipinas bilang pangalan ng bansa ni Danny Arao

What the F by Marck Ronald Rimorin

WFT KWF! or what is wrong with Pilipinas? by radikalchick

 

The fate of our mother languages

By Randy David

This school year, when public school teachers begin using 12 of the country’s mother tongues as languages of instruction in the first three years of grade school, they may find that employing the local language for writing and reading won’t be as easy as speaking it. They have to persist and not give up easily.

Our languages have suffered immensely from our failure to regularly use them for written communication. One can imagine how difficult it must have been for the Department of Education to produce mother tongue-based teaching materials overnight for the new K+12 basic education program. This is not the fault of our languages. It is, rather, the result of the confused language policy of a political system torn between two social tasks—the building of a national community and rapid economic development. Except for the rare writers and culture-bearers who continued to express themselves in their mother tongues, hardly any educated Filipino today uses the local languages in their written form.

Tagalog has survived as a written language mainly because it had been mandated to be the base of Filipino, the national language. Even so, it can hardly be regarded as the principal language of the literate Filipino. That place belongs to English. Proof of this is the almost total absence of foreign books translated into Filipino. It is bad enough that only a few literary and scholarly works are published in Filipino or in any other Filipino language. Worse, not one of our local languages is used as a medium for transmitting the knowledge and literature of other cultures.

Compare this with the situation in other countries. While English has become the world’s most widely spoken second language, everywhere in Europe, people prefer to read English and American works in their French or German or Italian or Dutch translations. In bookstores in Germany or France, newly released novels originally written in English exist side by side their translations in German or French, but the market clearly favors the translations. The logical explanation for this is that, while they speak good English, Europeans also think they don’t know it well enough to grasp its idioms and nuances.

In an essay in the New York Review of Books, Tim Parks offers a different explanation for the preference for translations. He says that “in most translations there will usually be some memory or trace of the original language, which, for those who are familiar with it, will reinforce their sense of knowing that other world…. But rather than feeling persuaded as a result to give up on translations and tackle the novels in their original language, they seemed to take pleasure in criticizing the translator for having allowed this to happen…. Again, the reading experience reinforces self-regard.”

We find this, by the way, not only in Europe but also in Southeast Asia, where one would stumble upon translations of, for example, Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather” or Max Weber’s “Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” in Bahasa or in Thai. Again, this is hardly surprising in countries where home-grown academics and writers themselves regularly publish their works in the local languages rather than in English.

It is typical for educated Filipinos to take pride in their command of both spoken and written English. This, no doubt, has come about largely because English is the only language they learn to read and write. But one must wonder whether this is necessarily a good thing. “When you learn a language,” says Parks in the NYRB article, “you don’t just pick up a means of communication, you buy into a culture, you get interested.” For many English-speaking Filipinos, who have lost their mother tongues, there is no other world against which they can compare the one they read about in English. This could partly explain the great cultural gap that divides educated Filipinos from the rest of the Filipino nation.

But, as significantly, the great haste with which we embraced English as our lifeline to the modern world made us throw away our own languages. Many of these languages had already acquired formal structures when the Americans came at the turn of the 20th century—thanks to the Spanish friars who, rather than teach Spanish, had taken pains to prepare vernacular dictionaries and grammar books in aid of religious instruction. It may be true that the persistence of this Babel of languages made it difficult for the Filipinos to unite against their Spanish oppressors. But then, the resistance against the American colonial power fared no better after America made English the language of instruction in the public schools.

Today, in the age of globalization, the Babel of local languages, or what remains of them, might be the last refuge of the ethical. This is a point made by the renowned scholar of postcolonialism, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in her most recent work, “An aesthetic education in the era of globalization.” She writes: “Even a good globalization (the failed dream of socialism) requires the uniformity which the diversity of mother-tongues must challenge. The tower of Babel is our refuge.” Much of the ethical component of a language is what usually gets lost or distorted in translation—“as the unaccountable ethical structure of feeling is transcoded into the calculus of accountability. The idiom is singular to the tongue.”

In a previous column, I have written that perhaps of the various components of the K+12 program, it is the use of the mother tongues for the early learning years that may yet prove to be the most important. I have a strong hunch that the recovery of what is ethical in our culture begins from this.

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