On the Filipino language

I have been thinking about this topic for a while now ever since I tried teaching Tagalog to my husband. And because it’s the Buwan ng Wika (Language Month) I thought about writing it today.

There is a market for people who want to learn Tagalog and yet there is no structured curriculum, very few people investing time to make good-production-YouTuber-quality content (which is surprising because I thought, with the rising everyone-wants-to-be-famous-on-YouTube-to-get-money culture in the Philippines, they would start with one of the easiest business model– teaching their native tongue) and no books teaching the grammar properly. Not to the extent that I’ve been seeing with learning English, Spanish, German, Japanese etc.

Let’s hit the elephant in the room– Filipino is deemed to have no market value because heck, even Filipinos would want to unlearn it and get rid of their accent to integrate to the western world. Who can blame them? Even back home if you have a Filipino accent speaking in English, you’ll be ridiculed. “Why learn Filipino? Filipinos take pride on being able to speak English well anyway! Those who don’t speak English… ugh they’re poor.” This culture sucks and it’s only when I got older and seen people from the rest of the world embracing their accents, that I acknowledged something is wrong.

I would want to dig deeper into how we came to evolve into having this mentality and my lead would’ve been with colonialism. But damn, it’s really that hard to get rid of even though it has been centuries isn’t it? The way people were taxed during the Spanish colonial era based on their race (classifying tax classes based on as far as if you’re half of a certain race) and currently the way Filipinos deem someone with any small percentage of foreign blood as beautiful, rich, educated etc. In the Philippines, the more you are leaned to the Western culture, the better you are. Sucks.

Anyway, I worry of a time when this language will become obsolete because of this culture that is getting too common with educated Filipinos. Even I forget how to call things in Filipino, because my family and friends would use the English for it. It is deemed weird if you speak completely in Filipino, it is lauded when you do coño-speak in office (admit it, you say it’s annoying but deep inside that’s just the Filipino crab mentality– you want to speak like them). I thought coño-speak has reached its prime years ago but I learned it just gotten worse in business-district offices (I can only cringe when friends had to use things like mag-buy, mag-cook MULTIPLE TIMES in one sentence).

Now I understand more why people who go out of the Philippines tend to appreciate the country more and advocate to be more Filipino. This is completely in contrast to when they are just about to leave the country and wants to get rid of all their Filipino-ness.

Sigh. Language and cultural problems. Retweet if you miss Pangaea.