In celebration of August being Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will hold conferences, forums and seminar-workshops all over the country in keeping with the theme “Filipino, Wika ng Saliksik” (Filipino, language for research).
The conferences will be participated in by scholars, researchers and professionals in private and state colleges, universities, auditoriums and museums from Abra and Kalinga in the north, to Lanao del Sur and Sulu in the south.
The thrust is to elevate Filipino as a national language fit for research and intellectual discussion.
This was announced in a recent press conference at the NCCA in Intramuros, Manila, presided over by National Artist Virgilio Almario, chair of NCCA and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWP). Other panelists were Galileo Zafra of the University the Philippines, Alan de Guzman, Fortunato Sevilla II, Alvin Ringgo Reyes of the University of Santo Tomas and Anna Katarina Rodriguez of KWP.
The themes of the seminars and conferences include (in English translation): Research, Preservation and Improving the Quality of Intangible Heritage (Sorsogon State College, Aug. 11); the Filipino Language in Modern Times: Adventures in the Field of Research (Aklan State University, Aug. 20); Tertulia in Language Month: Seminar on Research (San Carlos University, Cebu) and Colocium, A Presentation on Multidisciplinary Research in Filipino (Bulacan State University) both on Aug. 24; and Language Month 2018: Analyzing and Translating (Sulu State College, Aug. 29).
“A language will only be intellectualized if it is used in academic research,” Almario said. “Students should learn early the value of research, not as a mere academic requirement but as a tool to spark discussions and reforms as called for.”
“There is a popular belief that teaching Filipino is unnecessary,” observed Zafra. “This notion is wrong because there is a significant difference between colloquial Filipino and the one used for academic purposes.”
Filipino or Pilipino?
The open forum resulted in a lot of impressions among the media persons and other guests, who gave out minispiels. Filipino or Pilipino? Almario has long campaigned for the latter. “There is some confusion,” one said. When she used ‘Filipino’ to describe the language, a colleague upbraided her: “Ano ka ba, Espaniola?”
Emcee Roy Rene Cagalingan pointed out, “Tagalog is a regional language while Filipino is the national language.”
Almario confirmed this: “Tagalog is not the national language, it is Filipino.” He called for an amalgamation (fusion) of the Philippine languages (100, according to a UP linguist I interviewed once), and added: “The Tagalog sensibility should not prevail as others (non-Tagalogs) resent this (nasasaktan ang iba kaya hindi dapat ipaiiral ang Tagalog sensibility).” —CONTRIBUTED