Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Language does not separate one from his nationality

I am a Filipino. Why? Simply because I grew up here. But sometimes I laugh at it… I laugh at myself. And guess what? I’m not the only one who laughs at myself, a lot of people do.

This is me

Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, made two novels,  Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo (Touch me not and The Filibuster) It is mandatory for everyone during their 3rd and 4th yr in highschool, respectively, to have already read and understood these novels. Sure sure, I understood it, I knew the plot. But never did I had the chance to read it all (well I actually had LOTS of chance and spare time to read them, but that’s not the case)
I couldn’t really understand Filipino (Tagalaog) that well. I know Cebuano, the language most used in the central and southern Philippines, but it isn’t the national language, Tagalog is. If I were to list the languages or dialect that I understand it would be:
1)      English
2)      Cebuano
3)      Tagalong
4)      French
5)      Spanish
6)      Local Arabic/ maranao
7)      Gay language
And if youre asking if I’m good in math, the answer is NO. It is clear that I am a linguist, not a mathematician. Also, I’m only good in conversational English, not really good in formal writing and grammar, I only speak, not write. I debate, not send love letters.
I remember almost every day in high school, Filipino class, I would always ask what this ___ word means, and what that ____ word means again. I think my teacher was pissed off, since we cant proceed to reading the novel when every 3 minutes, I ask her the meaning of a certain Filipino word. At the end of highschool, my teacher gave me a grade of 75 / 100 = Passing grade. A normal student here, would have grades in Filipino about 90-95. I was always teased.  I was the odd one out, and I knew it.
Anyway, what I did to understand the novels was to download an English version of them. It was pretty easy to understand after all. Pretty exciting plot and a really dramatic story.
Also in relation to that, this literature piece was attached to the first few pages of it, just before the table of contents. This is what I wanted to share:

O masters, lords, and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape-;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?

O masters, lords, and rulers in all lands,
How will the future reckon with this man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake the world?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings--
With those who shaped him to the thing he is--
When this dumb terror shall reply to God,
After the silence of the centuries?

Edwin Markham

-Pretty elegant isn’t it? Well unless you’re into literature, and linguistics like me, I know you would say this is crap. But anyway, I want to hear your opinions J
At the end of the day, I am pretty sure I valued and understood the novels that our national hero wrote, more than my classmates. They’ve read it for grades, as a requirement, for school. I read it for the soul.
Language and communication may be the road for success and development, but it will never be the reason for a nations failure. Human beings are smart enough. And language, does not make any person different from the rest.


  1. ahha gay language, and nice family guy reference :P
    How to Hack Life.

  2. GAAYYYY.. Spot On. V.

  3. Actually, language has everything to do with a nation's success. Understand that language is tied to one's national identity. The concept of national identity is tied to a nation's progress. For an English major, you take language too lightly. Do some research, don't just speak your mind so carelessly.


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