Friday, November 02, 2007

what is my second language?

i was making burger patties earlier when i overheard a tv patrol host reporting about some guy named kimmel who made another comment about the Philippines. according to the report, this abc host said that filipinos probably don't speak english. you can read about that here.

i was taken aback. it's nothing new, really. i've heard this comment so many times, couched in different tones and tenors, and accompanied by various expressions. i have found myself explaining why i speak not just english, but GOOD english, all the time feeling outrage that these idiots who probably speak and write lousy english dare ask the question. (it's my blog. :D)

it's nothing new. but i was taken aback because for the the past 6 weeks i have been lamenting that my nephews and niece speak lousy TAGALOG. or as it's referred to now -- filipino. oh, they have the english language down pat, with one of them even using the word "minions" in an ordinary conversation.

i get pissed at the teachers who berate the children for speaking filipino. i get on my sister's case because she insists on talking to her children in english, even when they're at home. they probably couldn't speak filipino to save their lives.

and it's not just my sister's children. i see it everywhere. children who speak perfect english but who get tongue-tied when you ask them what "kisame" means.

where does that leave us?

english is our medium of instruction. according to our constitution, our national language is FILIPINO, but "for purposes of COMMUNICATION and INSTRUCTION, the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English."

communication and instruction. filipino and english. it says "and" in the constitution. so why is it that schools employ one to the exclusion of the other? parents use one to the exclusion of the other.

why am i writing this in english?

shameful as it is to admit, i think in english. and i write english better than i do filipino. but like most from my generation, english was spoken in school, filipino at home (or ilocano for most of my classmates). it was an okay arrangement, i suppose. i mean, i still speak filipino well (and a smattering of ilocano), and i CAN write in filipino to save my life.

so why aren't things the same now? why does my niece's ate try so hard to speak english even though "look here" comes out as "look to here" or "shrimp" ends up as "shrim."


i know my first language should be filipino, if not ilocano since i am from baguio. but i don't have the same confidence in my filipino speaking abilities as that of my english speaking skills.

going back to my opening paragraph, why did that kimmel comment not generate the same outrage as teri hatcher's comments about filipino doctors?

is it because it's true? is it because the so-called text speak is killing our language abilities (this is totally off topic, ano?). is it because we know that our english is declining, and in my opinion, so is our filipino.

so many questions generated by one comment overheard.

i laid down a policy in the house that the kids should only speak filipino when they are here. they are having a very difficult time of it, and mostly i relent when they talk to me in english.

i guess sometimes i would rather hear them speak english instead of having to listen to them murder the filipino language.

what is my first language?

No comments:

Post a Comment