Speaking Our Native Tongue on the Web

June 17, 2010 | 1 Comment

When WordPress Philippines first launched, I left a comment saying we should try to write in our native language. We it owe it to all our heroes who died fighting for our right to be free. Language is one of the most important signs of sovereignty. And besides, if you’ll look at the sixth box of links at the footer, all those foreign WordPress sites are written in their own language!

It appears blog provider giant Blogger has translated its service to “Filipino” and this has got me thinking. Google owns Blogger. Google also provides localized versions for several other services for us Pinoys. Several other sites do, too. But what does a “local” version mean, really? Is it the Filipino language? Or is it Tagalog?

Filipino o Tagalog? Ano ba talaga, kuya?

Google Language Tools: When you select Filipino as the language of your choice in viewing Google Search, the abbreviation in the link is “tl”, which clearly stands for Tagalog.

Google Directory: When you click on the Filipino language under World Languages, it is actually linked to Tagalog.

Wikipedia: There is no Filipino language version of Wikipedia, only Tagalog, Bikolano, Cebuano, Chavacano, Ilokano, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Waray.

All of this is pretty ironic considering the page on the topic Filipino says:

Note: “Philippino” and “Philipino” are misspellings of this word and are not considered part of standard usage. Pilipino is used to describe the people of the Philippines. The term “Filipino” is commonly used when you are talking or writing in English or other foreign language. “Filipino” is the Philippines’ national, official and constitutional language (While the Filipino language is largely based on Tagalog, pure Tagalog has slight differences to Filipino).

This is the accepted definition of Filipino, as well as Filipino versus Tagalog, right? Then why do these websites—which are multi-million dollar companies no less—assume that in order to be a little more user-friendly to its Filipino visitors, it should create a custom language version in Tagalog instead of Filipino? What gives them the right to do so? As Filipinos, should we accept their bad judgment on something that affects no one else but ourselves?

Philippine-based wiki competitor WikiPilipinas has acknowledged this and created a Filipino language version of its wiki. But then there seems to be no Tagalog counterpart along with other provincial languages. So did they drop the Tagalog because it’s essentially Filipino anyway?

Ano ang problema?

I know I’m getting into a huge debate here, one that might never ever be resolved so long as our country remains an archipelago, so long as we have strong affinities for provincial languages, even foreign ones. After all, we are a nation of provinces and a nation of balikbayans. Our national language has never been that strong especially in the midst of the languages we’ve had to deal with.

But I am not asking you to be a little more patriotic (especially in the spirit of the EDSA Revolution, whose anniversary we commemorate on Monday) by choosing to write in our own language. I just want to underline what we may be overlooking:

On the web, is it correct to say that a Filipino speaks only Tagalog? Are these two terms interchangeable?

Should we be content that websites like Google consider Tagalog as the language of choice for Filipinos?

Should we be content that other Philippine languages from Cebuano to Waray are represented on some websites, but not the lesser known but equally Pinoy ones?

The Web is as liberating as speaking in one own’s tongue. Blogging, for example, lets you do exactly that. How lucky are we to find a new medium by which we can express ourselves as Filipinos? Other times, however, our identity as a people gets eroded just because a website assumes and restricts, despite the best of intentions. We accept it because we know technology still hasn’t found a way to seamlessly translate any language into another. Or is it because it just doesn’t matter anymore?

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Saranggola Blog Awards recognizes Filipino-language blogging and gives kites to children

July 23, 2009 | 1 Comment

Saranggola Blog Awards logo

The Saranggola Blog Awards is not your typical blogging contest. Aside from recognizing blogging in the Filipino language and in various formats (short stories, children’s stories, poetry, video blogging), there is a charitable aspect to the event: every blog entry submitted will be matched with a kite (saranggola) for children and children’s causes throughout Metro Manila.

Ang pagsulat ng blog ay gaya ng paglikha at pagpapalipad ng saraggola, kailangan mong buuin ang mga salita at pakawalan sa kalawakan ng blogosphere o blogosperyo. Maraming makakakita at makakabasa, nagmimistulang makulay ang kalawakan sa ating mga sinusulat.

Gayundin, ang bawat entry ninyo ay tutumbasin namin ng saranggola. Sa madaling salita, kung mayroong 50 entries, magkakaloob kami ng 50 saranggola sa mapipiling mga bata / organisasyong pambata sa kalakhang Maynila. Ito ay upang hikayatin ang mga batang maglaro, mangarap at bumuo ng kani-kanilang saranggola.

The contest is open to all bloggers in and out of the Philippines and runs from July 8 to August 31, 2009. Bloggers’ Choice, Judges’ Choice, and Finalists will be announced on September 15, 2009. Special prizes will also be given, such as caps, mouse pads, PANPIL Pipol books, and of course, kites. Complete mechanics listed here.

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Win a mobile broadband modem, domain registration & hosting, Bob Ong books from Tinig.com

June 24, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Buwan ng Wika comes early this year with the launch of Tinig.com’s writing contest entitled Wikang Filipino sa Panahon ng Twitter.

Ayon kay Gat Jose Rizal, na ang kaarawan ay ipinagdiwang natin kahapon, “ang hindi magmahal sa kanyang salita, mahigit sa hayop at malansang isda.” Ngunit sa panahong ito ng Twitter at iba pang makabagong kagamitan sa pandaigdigang komunikasyon, lalo na sa Internet, ano ang papel na ginagampanan ng ating sariling wika?

Very good question. In fact, it feels inappropriate to even write this blog post in Filipino.

But anyway, the mechanics are simple: register at Tinig.com and submit an essay with 500-700 words discussing the importance of the Filipino language in this modern era. Entries should not have been published elsewhere (including blogs). Deadline is on August 19, 2009.

Join now!

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