Thursday, April 1, 2010

“English indeed continues to penetrate the Filipino society”...

It is also confirmed when Andrew Gonzales of De La Salle stated in his writing Language Planning in Multilingual Countries: The Case of the Philippines, the policy and reality do not match. English continues to dominate government and business transactions at the highest levels as well as international communications and education, especially science and mathematics classes, at all levels and all subjects at university level.

Also Gavin Hughes wrote the Preserve the Native Languages of the Philippines not only is the current policy destroying the cultural heritage of the Philippines, it also makes no economic sense. Speaking Tagalog fluently does not ensure work or even education opportunities. With Tagalog but no English, one cannot attend university. But with English alone, all university doors are open. It is skill in English that increases employability, both in the Philippines and abroad. Instead of focusing on Tagalog, students need to focus on their own native languages and English.
While according to Manuel Faelnar ( a Palanca Awardee for Literature) The Philippine National Language Policy is killing our non-Tagalog languages. While in 1948 only 18% of Filipinos spoke Tagalog as a first language, by 1995 this had gone up to 29.29% or one third of the population. On the other hand, while in 1948, 25% of Flipinos spoke Cebuano, by 1995 this had gone down to 21.17%. In 1948 13% of Filipinos spoke Ilocano and another 13% spoke Ilonggo. By 1995 the percentage of Filipinos speaking these two languages had gone down to 9.31% and 9.1%% respectively.

In 1948, Bicol was spoken by 8% of the population. By 1995 this was down to 5.69%. Waray was spoken by 6% of Filipinos in 1948. By 1995 only 3.81% of Flipinos spoke Waray. Pampangan or Kapampangan was spoken by 3% of Filipinos in 1948. By 1995 this had gone down to 2.9%. Pangasinense suffered the biggest loss. in 1948, 3% of Filipinos spoke Pangasinense. By 1995 this had gone down to a miserable 1%. The biggest lose of speakers were for Waray, Bicol and Pangasinense but all non-Tagalog languages suffered tremensdous losses.

In my point of view, I think having 120 different dialects and languages in the Philippines illustrate how providential we are to other countries. Because first, difficult to learn dialects could be a vital tool for codes during emergencies like the Navaho during the World War II. And second, those words in other dialect or languages that are easy to learn could use for scientific terms or trade as what I read about Dr. Dacudao of SOLFED, Inc. writing where he cited these two practical reasons for preserving the diversity of Philippine languages.

I also read about the longitudinal studies being conducted by Diane and Greg Dekker, and Dr. Stephen L. Walter, under the auspices of SIL International and the Philippine Department of Education, in Lubuagan, Kalinga, Philippines are showing that children being educated using their mother tongue first are out-performing students being educated in Filipino-first and English-first, by a difference of 40 percentage points. Philippine educators, the Department of Education, and other policy makers are taking time to familiarize themselves with mother toungue-first multilingual education, and are examining whether the time is right for a change in Philippine education policy.

Therefore, it is imperative that the government just focus on how all dialects and languages in the Philippines will thrive and not disappear by appealing and creating a lucid policy thus making our country a multilingual republic. So that our students may now focus on using their own native languages as according to study that a the child using their own native language understands- enables to immediately master curriculum content, and not only that but, affirms the value of the child, cultural and language heritage.

But, how could this be viable where our very own head leader of our country is not supporting these views but instead refute? She- president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has once again highlighted the importance of English in the issue of Executive Order 210, an order establishing the policy to strengthen the use of English as the language of instruction as she deemed it necessary “to develop the aptitude, competence and proficiency of our students in the English language to maintain and improve their competitive edge in emerging and fast-growing local and international industries, particularly in the area of Information and Communications Technology”.
No wonder why a lot of new generations now are more preferred to use in expressions of surprise and intimacy and about nostalgic moments are wanted to be in English but are currently in Tagalog. The language preferred in the wider community is also English, moving from Tagalog. The students were not hesitant to admit that Taglish dominates the school – amidst the implementing policies – but they would like to adhere to the policy still and use English. A shift to English is also wanted when communicating with co-workers, when it is also currently done in Taglish. English remains to be the most common language used and also as the language preferred in the media (radio, television, and newspaper), popular literature (magazines and comics), and books; while praying, in telling time; and when giving interest rates and writing technical reports. The retainment of English is also preferred at work, at work when speaking with one’s superior, and during marketing transactions. Tagalog is the most common language used at present and also the language preferred at home, when talking about confidential family matters and contacting absent family members, and in the neighborhood and the wider community. Taglish is the language currently used and also the preferred language when conversing among peers. There is preference for Tagalog when shopping, though Taglish is currently in use and still follows Tagalog in the same verbal activity.