How Filipinos (including myself) communicate today, as I see it.
|Every month of August, the Philippines celebrate its National Language Month. Naturally, its theme always centres on the use of Filipino as a medium of communication. Even though there are numerous dialects that are used within the country, it has always been the use of Filipino which maintains unity in communicating among Filipinos in the country and those who live abroad.
But as I have observed how Filipinos communicate for the past years since I was in elementary school, I doubt if Filipino is the same as what it should be spoken. Back then, there already exists the code-switching of the languages Tagalog and English, which is a sociolect called Taglish (by the way, Tagalog is the basis for Filipino). I remember when it was time for a recitation during Filipino or English class, a student who accidentally or intentionally spoke in Taglish get reprimanded for not speaking straight in Filipino or English, which is, in my opinion, accepted since one is learning how to correctly use the language being taught. So as much as possible, I had to speak in straight Filipino or English to get a good grade, just like what a student should do. But outside of those language classes, it’s free for all to speak Filipino, English, or Taglish.
There’s also another code-switching used today – Englog, which is English used with Tagalog terms. The use of this sociolect is particularly evident to virtually everyone living in Metro Manila (I haven’t been to some parts of the country so I don’t know the situation there). I noticed at first that it was used only by Filipinos who, since childhood, only learned how to speak in English (perhaps their parents want them to excel in the use of English as early as possible). Now you’ll see students, professionals, celebrities, politicians – almost everyone around you speak Englog. Just watch local television programs here such as news, drama, and sitcoms and you’ll notice the dominant use of Englog.
I also noticed that Filipinos who usually write or speak straight Filipino are those who teach the language in schools, colleges, or university, and those who strictly advocate the use of Filipino. Its usage on official documents is still evident today, like on my high school and college diplomas. It’s still proof that the use of Filipino is not dead nowadays.
Observing how Filipinos, including myself communicate nowadays, I can’t help but think how those people who only know how to speak in Filipino or English understand what we’re talking about. Though if one will speak in straight Filipino or English, how about those who can’t understand some deep terminologies in those languages?
In the past, my college professor wrote a book in Librarianship entirely in Filipino. The officials of the university where he used to teach asked him to write it as such so that students will easily understand the contents of the book since Filipino is our national language. But according to him, when he had it used for his class, the students asked if he can translate it to English because they had difficulty understanding straight Filipino.
I know someone will think that if I’m talking about the use of Filipino because it’s our national language, then why in the world I’m writing this article in English in the first place? Simple. It’s because English is understood by everyone, in or out of the Philippines.
I’m not saying that if you’re a Filipino, you should only speak Filipino. Or if you’re an American, you should only speak English. I believe that language should not be strict when it comes to communicating with others. It’s always better to be understood easily than be strict in the use of one particular language.
On my part, I always celebrate the National Language Month by simply expressing myself in Filipino, Taglish, and Englog. I know it’s not entirely in compliance with the theme of the celebration. But because it’s the best way to be understood by everyone, I use the national language and the two sociolects sparingly.