Running a Heritage Program in the Land of Capital and War for Export

There is one thing that can be said of heritage languages in the world: that many are going the route to extinction.

The native languages of the United States of America alone, according to Krauss, as cited by Crawford in "Endangered Native American Languages: What is to Be Done, and Why?" has 155 moribund--or 89 percent--of the total of 175 indigenous languages.

We must remeber here that current data in the Philippines tells of 172 indigenous languages, with only Tagalog being valorized for what is worth as the quixotic Quezonian and Rectonian language and culture ideology in the 30s, at the time when the homeland was a commonwealth and under the tutelage of the colonizing Americans.

The ranks of the Tagalistas, of course, resist this temptation to welcome the thoughts of other peoples of the Philippines.

The Tagalistas--with their totally flawed Tagalism, many of them not knowing any other languages in the Philippines except Tagalog, cannot see that the act of loving a homeland is a collective act, one that is also grounded on cultural and linguistic rights, and not only on myopic legislations that mainstreamed a language at the expense of the languages of other ethnolinguistic groups. Some Tagalistas in the United States that I know even have that Pharisee-like attitude and say to all who are willing to listen to them, "But it is the law, this making of Tagalog as P/Filipino." There are ignorant academics as well, even if they in the United States.

We submit that it could be that the framers of this nypic law declaring Tagalog as the basis of the 'national language' did not intend the unjust linguistic and cultural consequences of this act, but we declare: the lack of an evil intent does not justify the evil consequences of an act, more so when this act affects the life of millions of people who have as much right to exist as the other valorized group.

Kraus, in an earlier work, estimates that of the 6,000 languages of the world at present, 'as many as half' are deemed moribund--that is, 'spoken by adults who no longer teach them to the next generation.'

The key here is moribund, languages as moribund, Philippines languages, sadly, most of them, being moribund.

Even those that are deemed major as going through a death spasm, with relatively a token help from the government, with only the Commission on the Filipino Language, at this time, having declared a language and culture policy that is based on a productive understand of the role of language and culture in building up a homeland that is not monolingual and monocultural but diverse ever since.

In the United States, there is a playful term for the immigrant languages being taught, however unpopular, in some of the universities, colleges, or schools in basic education. It is called 'heritage language'.

But that is not even exact, as it does not provide a cover term for the fact that they are not commonly taught, so someone invented that term, 'less commontly taught languages.'

And with the coming over of that wave of terror beginning that fateful day in September, a new term came about. This is 'critical languages,' which simply means that these are the languages spoken of by terrorists.

In this dizzying sense of historical events whose patterns are difficult to put together, we realize that language is not simply language, not a tool, not an instrument you wish to discard when you have need nor use for it.

We realize that language is connected to the sense of being and becoming of peoples and communities--and without language, the sense of being and becoming becomes simply non-sense.

There are certain tensions and stresses coming from the economic life of peoples all over the world. We know for certain now the this world is peopled by many people who look at the world with knowledge, understanding, and cultural competence.

Not this Tagalistas who know how to interpret the world using only a single frame.

Like warriors or exporters of wars.

Or the unethical capitalists who cannot be reigned in.

F/Pilipino the language of a non-existing nation has turned into a Pacman, a Frankenstein monster.

The gobbling continues, the terrorizing continues, the muffling continues.

Dictatorship did not die in the homeland. It is alive and kicking in that curious philosophy of language we call Tagalogism.

Even as I run a heritage program that celebrates another language of the homeland, I feel that this struggle has to be waged each day. Not waging it now leads us to perdition, to extinction.

A Solver Agcaoili
UH Manoa/Thanksgiving Day

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