POST-SABBATICAL NOTES. 17 AUG 2014. SUNDAY. N1.
A bold response to the presumptuous presumptions of this academic, San Juan. His fascistic leanings are clearer than his debunking of language myths. Let us read what a scientist of an activist, Joven Ramirez, is saying about this issue.
This is from the wall of Ramirez Joven:https://www.facebook.com/notes/ramirez-joven/on-professor-david-michael-san-juans-continued-attacks-on-the-multiculturalist-m/10152698282925407
On Professor David Michael San Juan's Continued Attacks on the Multicultural(ist) Movement: An Open Letter
August 17, 2014 at 6:29am
(I have to write this down in note form, because it's really long, and on Facebook for easy distribution.)Dear Professor San Juan,
Regarding your article on "Debunking PH Language Myths" (http://opinion.inquirer.net/77526/debunking-ph-language-myths), we and the whole multiculturalist movement laugh at your ignoring the linguistic and historical dimensions of the issue of Philippine languages. These points you've "raised" have been raised way before, by people higher in the Philippine socio-cultural circles than you. Poets and writers writing for the government have pushed forward these ideas more forcefully than you ever did. But here you went, and did a renewed attack on people you derisively call "regionalists", or people you accuse of secessionism, putting together a hodgepodge of information that might not be wrong, but is applied in the wrong way.I am not a social scientist, and that's the thing. Even people outside the realm of literature and the social sciences can see that your article is simply a propagation of age-old lies. Almost no one is convinced, not even the "masses" you claim to represent, that Filipino is a "national" language. This enumeration follows your enumeration of points in your article. 1) "The decision to choose Tagalog as the basis of the national language is clearly a consensus among board members of the INL. The failure of the embers of regionalism to stop the rapid spread of Filipino throughout the archipelago is further proof that ordinary Filipinos are very supportive of the national language and linguistic regionalism is an idea rather limited to the English-speaking elites and some middle-class citizens in the regions."
The real issue is not whether the "national" language is based on Tagalog, but that there is a "national" language in the first place. Professor San Juan, the people you call "regionalists", i.e. the multicultural movement, aren't the ones spreading ethnic hatred. It is you and people who prefer a "national" language that do. Listing all the ethnicities of the members of the INL only intensifies the notion that multiculturalists are anti-Tagalog because of regional pride! So what if these people come from all regions of the Philippines? In the first place, they shouldn't have convened to make a national language! Actually, this language was never imposed very strictly until the 1987 Constitution, which provided also for the strengthening of Philippine languages alongside "Filipino".But it is rather good that you listed all the ethnicities of the members of the INL. You definitely showed multiculturalists that their enemies are not Tagalogs (because of the language), but the homogenization of the diverse Philippine culture realm. Truly, you have united us against cultural homogenization. Truly, you have showed us the way! Before, it was Cebu for Cebuanos, Iloilo for Ilonggos, Jolo for the Sug, etc., and all of them against Tagalogs and Imperial Manila. Now, it is revealed that the concept of Imperial Manila transcends ethnicities and wishes the cultural homogenization of the Philippines, with Tagalog as a mere accessory language.
2) "In fact, the UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino, now in its second edition, and a number of other dictionaries contain hundreds of newly assimilated Filipino words from non-Tagalog languages."The development of this "Filipino" constructed language is a simple matter of borrowing, and force-fitting them into a Tagalog grammatical base. But, you know, a huge majority of languages in the Philippines do not lend themselves to easy borrowing into Tagalog. It is also a known fact that people do not use this mix you speak of. Instead they prefer to speak in their mother language. But intellectuals in all parts of the Philippines are complaining that their own languages are being grammatically confused with Tagalog, meaning, the grammar of Tagalog invades their own language. This is the exact reverse of the intended effect of the policy. The KWF is mandated to ensure the protection of all Philippine languages, but it decided that promoting "Filipino" was the path of least resistance. It's not "trying its best", because if it had, it would be that it set up academies for all Philippine languages, to regulate each one - as part of its mandate.3) "The spread of Filipino as the national language and as the lingua franca did not contribute to the weakening of other Philippine languages.
The seeming decline of other Philippine languages can be traced to the hypocrisy of self-described supporters of some regional languages who use English as their preferred language in attacking advocates of the national language, instead of spending their time and financial power on propagating the actual use of indigenous languages in the regions."
Wow, Professor San Juan. "The hypocrisy of self-described supporters of some regional languages..." Are you referring to people from Cebu, who have set up an Academy of the Visayan Language and have published a dictionary to counter the grammatical invasion of Tagalog? Or to people from the Ilocos, who have spent time on training teachers for teaching Ilocano in schools as soon as the MTB-MLE effort was legalized? Or people from Pangasinan, who have declared their own language as official in their province? Or Kapampangans, who have set up an Academy as well? All of these people are working for their actual use. But what did you and those like you do? You label these people "regionalists". And you push for the repealing of educational frameworks which will ensure mother-language education.
As the "national-language circle" is the primary sociocultural circle in Manila, we are not attacking them, actually. They do what they have to do. They are well-meaning people, intent on promoting the variety of Philippine cultures, even as they express this in the "national" language. They have not really ignored the "center v. regions" debate, unlike you. You're more focused on us and our work, trying to tell people that we are destroying your "national" language.
4) "English is not at all related to any Philippine language (with the exception of Chabacano, which was, originally a Spanish-based creole), thus it is very difficult for most ordinary Filipinos to really learn English and use it as a lingua franca."
Professor San Juan, you have been long overtaken by events in Philippine history. Your father's generation, and the generation before that, knew English well enough to use it as a lingua franca. The problem of deficiencies in English usage lay in the educational system, as always.
You are speaking from a National-Democratic perspective of history, which is (to be kind about it) flawed, and is centered on an ideology requiring the cultural homogenization of the Philippines under one overarching (artificial) culture. This ideology resents English as "the language of the colonizers".
We in the multicultural movement point to India and to Singapore, which are excellent Third-World (meaning, nonaligned) samples of post-colonial cultures that used English as one of their official languages.
Your ideology has never gone beyond colonial thinking, continuing to suppose the Philippines as a colony of the US and fighting against a colonizer that has gone from us. And you are intent on attacking people who see the Philippines as post-colonial, who see English as a language bereft of its colonial baggage.
You see, Professor, the real myth here is not that English is usable as a lingua franca. The real myth here is that English is the "language of the colonizers". It has been sixty-plus years since we became independent of America, and thirty-plus years since the Cold War ended. There are no more colonizers for Filipinos today! The Philippines is an active member of the international community on its own steam. It retains the US as a major trading partner, but not as a colony!
From this, we also say that "Filipino" is not a lingua franca, and it was not meant to be one. That you suppose it to be one is proof of your hypocrisy, what with your latest attacks on those who you call "regionalists" in a pejorative sense. You intend this artificially-created language to be the only language in the Philippine archipelago, as part of your vision of a Philippines "united" under one homogeneous culture! And, by the way, the increase in the number of Tagalog speakers is due to mass media belting out entertainment and news shows in Filipino, making your argument about "more Tagalog speakers, therefore Filipino is a lingua franca" fallacious.
5) and 6) What part of the Mother Tongue Based-Multilingual Education plan do you not understand, Professor? I think there is no dispute that English is not considered a mother tongue by any of the major ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines.You are actually trying to fight this initiative by repackaging the situation as an "English v. Filipino" (i.e. nationalistic v. colonialistic) struggle, and therefore pushing for your own artificial language.
In fact, this is a question of educational media of instruction. "Filipino" is left out of this equation when we consider that the mother tongue is best to teach kids AT ALL LEVELS of education. "Filipino" is not a mother tongue of anyone in this country: we in the multicultural movement maintain this, and the linguists prove our point. Stop trying to conflate the language issues of our country with your imagined anti-colonial struggle.
7) "With regard to foreign investments, one wonders why, despite our much-touted English 'comparative advantage' over most of our Asian competitors, we lag far behind when it comes to attracting foreign direct investments (FDI). Our FDI has never breached 2 percent of GDP in the past decade."
It's funny that you mention this, because the lack of FDI in this country is not a language issue. But it is related to you and your peculiar One-Nationalist ideology. This FDI restriction in the 1987 Constitution is a remnant of the nationalistic Filipino First policy. Yes, it is the very policy which is underlined by the same kind of ideology you now display when attacking those who you call "regionalists".
Yes, Professor San Juan, the ideology on which you base these attacks is an obsolete ideology, proven wrong so many times. Other people can give a more complete response on this issue of FDIs, but you simply exposed your ignorance of Philippine history with this article.
8) And here we come to the brunt of the issue with "Filipino". It is intellectualized. In fact, you will not hear the masses speak it on the street. "Filipino" is a creation of a Commission, an Academy. It is not a mother tongue of any person. It is a constructed language. So why are there people from your ranks who claim that "all languages in the Philippines come from Filipino"? Why are people believing and propagating this absurd claim?
This is clearly a political issue of the central government in Manila versus the people. For a long time, people have been forced to not speak their native languages in schools. The economic development around Manila has forced people to migrate to Manila, and adopt their language. In 1987 the Constitution decided to develop Filipino on a more egalitarian basis with non-Tagalogs than in the past, but this development is half-hearted. You cannot call borrowings here and there "development of a language". The KWF has been given twenty-six years to do its job, and it has come up with ONLY that. There is no grammatical effort to be inclusive of every culture in the Philippines.
Actually, barring forceful imposition, this conlang project is doomed to fail as long as people patronize their own mother tongue over "Filipino", developing it and enriching it in poetry, prose, and usage in mass media.
"Filipino" will then continue to be a marker of the academic elite in Manila. It is a divisive project because it is forced on the people of the Philippines: Tagalogs, Cebuanos, Ilokanos, and others. -0-
You end this article with a general comment on things from a National-Democratic perspective, a fitting end to an article which rehashes the main social anxieties of the National Democratic movement. But let us remind you, Professor: this viewpoint which you hold is obsolete. The world is now realigned from the Cold War period. The rest of the world have completely left the colonial-struggle mindset as well. Only a few countries really hold on to this kind of thinking: North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela (which is about to shed this as well). And then we have you.
We invite you to join the multiculturalist movement in leading the Philippines out of the ghosts of the past, into a multicultural future that fosters prosperity. We invite you to join us in pushing for a Philippines whose government guarantees the protection of all Philippine languages. We invite you to join us in fighting for a more equitable footing for the regions, rather than a government where Manila rigs the economic, political and cultural rules. We invite you to embrace multiculturalism, and be one of us, devoid of any ideological reservations on how a centralized government should be run.
Until you accept this invitation, we will never cease with our efforts to refute you and all people who are pushing for the cultural homogenization of the Philippines.