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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WordCamp 2008 live coverage

August 17, 2008 | No Comments Yet

WordCamp 2008 is underway right now and Matt Mullenweg recommends ZDNet’s live coverage straight from University of California San Francisco.

Here’s the schedule:

9:00 a.m. The Future of Education and WordPress –
9:30 a.m. SEO Mistakes Most Bloggers Make – Stephan Spencer
10:00 a.m. Open Source Business Models – Stephen O’Grady
10:50 a.m. Andy Skelton – A musical performance
11:00 a.m. LOLcats and the Secret of Virality
11:30 a.m. WordPress & Microformats
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Switching to WordPress Painlessly – Lloyd Budd
1:20 p.m. 450 WordPress Power User Tips – Lorelle VanFossen
1:40 p.m. Hassle-free Upgrades – Sam Bauers
2:00 p.m. State of the Word – Matt Mullenweg
3:00 p.m. Get Friendly with BuddyPress – Andy Peatling
3:20 p.m. Democratizing the Web through Global Voices – Jeremy Clarke
3:40 p.m. An interview with Om Malik
4:00 p.m. Riding the Crazyhorse – Liz Danzico and Jane Wells
5:00 p.m. A musical performance by Chuck Lewis aka SEO Rapper
5:10 p.m. Kicking Ass and Creating Passionate Users – Kathy Sierra

Visit the blog post for a glimpse of what’s to come for our very own WordCamp Philippines. It’s a good read not only for WordPress fans but also for bloggers and technology enthusiasts in general.

See also the live Twitter updates coming in via its search interface.

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Pinoy Tech Blog

January 18, 2008 | 3 Comments

100% Tech. 100% Filipino. 100% Blog. That is what Pinoy.tech.blog is all about. PTB, as the blog is fondly called, is one of the first and foremost successful team blogging endeavors by Filipinos.

At the forefront of PTB are several big names in the local technology and blogging scenes. The team is a set of professionals in the various technology industries in the Philippines, or involving Filipinos in and out of the country.

The PTB has often been cited by mainstream media, including print, radio and television, for its intelligent commentary, useful tips, and quick news reportage.

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YugaTech

November 21, 2007 | 3 Comments

YugaTech is the blog of Abe Olandres, one of the most well-known professional bloggers in the Philippines. On YugaTech, Abe discusses technology, blog monetization, photography and all things about online entrepreneurship. He also traces his roots from humble rural beginnings to a student urbanite, to now one of the most sought-after blogging personality in the Philippines.

YugaTech is a must read if you’re interested in the blogging and new media scene in the Philippines.

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