SABBATICAL NOTES. 30 JUNE 2014. MONDAY. N3.
Lessons from 'The Story of English' and the need to resist and struggle
I HAVE PROMISED a state college in the Visayas that I would send them books for their library.
I had the chance to train their instructional, administrative, and non-teaching academic staff for a number of days, and I had the chance to see their library.
Lo and behold, I realized how we have been so privileged elsewhere, with our access to books and to other instructional materials for our edification and for the education and training of our students.
As a reflex reaction, I told their librarian that I would send them books. That was a month ago, and tonight, my son and I made time to select our books for disposal.
We checked those we believe we no longer need.
We have brought home boxes and boxes of books again from a book sale, and we realized the need to honor my promise, with the son donating his own books that have taken residency in his own room, each book vying a space from his shelves that are getting filled up almost every week.
Some books have that power in us that like a dear friend, we do not want to lose. But we remember too that more students and readers would benefit from these if we have them made available in libraries.
I checked my shelf, and decided with courage which book goes to the LBC Balikbayan box that will find its way to the Visayas.
One book caught my attention, a hard-bound, thick, light-blue colored book, "The Story of English."
I check the inside pages, remembering that I usually write on the edges of my books. I leave comments on the page. I use pencil, I use pen, I use markers, I use anything to underline or mark which page or part I like, which idea intrigues me, which idea does not make sense to me.
And lo and behold, I hit that part that talks about English as a language of protest when the Roman empire recognized only Latin and when the English rulers only recognized Latin and French as legit languages in their political realm.
Three invasions and wars tell us of the humble beginnings of English, the language that has traveled outside England, and has remained English despite its variation.
English may be a colonial language, but it is honest in its being a colonial language.
Some other language within a country is being used to prop up an empty claim, the claim hiding behind the mantra of nationalism that is only for the oligarchs and plutocrats.