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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Jose Rizal never had Tagalog in mind when he encouraged us to love our own language



Posted by a certain Chloe Santiago on the Facebook GRP Community Group
Jose Rizal died in 1896 and Tagalog was declared the official language of the Philippine only in 1937. This can only mean that Rizal wasn't really talking about Tagalog when he made this statement: 

"He who does not love his own language is worse than an animal and smelly fish."
Indeed. 

Who made the arbitrary directive to make the Tagalog dialect the "National Language" to begin with? 

Furthermore, why have a "National Language" when Filipinos are already proficient in the global lingua franca of commerce and scientific achievement? 

We fancy ourselves a nation undertaking all efforts to alleviate its citizens' poverty. Yet we have consistently failed to add to the poor's arsenal of employment tools an ability to match the English proficiency of the rich so that, at least in the communication aspect, they will be on equal footing with them. We can only do this by changing our approach to education and the underdog mentality of the poor that motivates them to ridicule English speakers as "pa-sosyal" (i.e. that "them and us" attitude). 

It is this divide between the English-proficient elite and the Tagalog-speaking masses that contributes to the increasing polarisation of Philippine society. 

Command of English provides instant access to a vast knowledgebase accumulated by the English-speaking world over the last 200 years. It is a knowledgebase to which knowledge is relentlessly being added at an ever increasing rate -- far faster than our Tagalog-articulated knowledgebase is being augmented by both original material and translated material. Considering the English-proficient Philippine elite's mastery over the language of this knowledgebase, it's the old concept of the rich-get-richer-while-the-poor-get-poorer gone ballistic! 

Many "cause-oriented" groups trumpet the practicality of the Tagalog language as a key ingredient for progress and nationalism (see a more insight on this here). Yet they fail to provide any solutions to the dearth of knowledge material to lift Philippine society out of its intellectual bankruptcy. Are we going to continue denying the poor basic access to what the elites of Philippine society already monopolise -- a monopoly they use to further their dominance over the dynamism of our society that all Filipinos are entitled to? 

Let's not waste valuable classroom time with a language that gets us nowhere. When was the last time you've seen a job ad that read "Tagalog-proficiency will be highly-regarded"? Tagalog is at best a quaint medium for expressing emotion -- something that Filipinos are already world-class at. The objective future, however, is written and expressed in English. Given the whole point of education being an investment in the future and the meager resources of the Philippine Education System, it would be in our best interests to put these resources where they will yield real results. 

We need to ask ourselves the very simple question considering we are making a huge investment in our future: 

Why Tagalog? 

http://grpshorts.blogspot.be/2011/08/jose-rizal-never-had-tagalog-in-mind.html

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