The Negrosanon Mother Tongue-A A +A
As I See It
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
K TO 12 features the use of mother tongue for Grade 1 and Grade 2. For the Negrosanons our mother tongue is Hiligaynon sprinkled with Cebuano, or Cebuano sprinkled with Hiligaynon. Our Cebuano-Hiligaynon or Hiligaynon-Cebuano is contaminated by the vernaculars of Antique, Aklan and Capiz.
We have to admit that the Negrosanons of Negros Occidental have parents who are not really from Negros Occidental.
My family is a victim of epochal transformation and regional multiculturalism. My sacada grandfather came from Antique. My mother grew up in Capiz and met my father in Antique. After World War 2, my parents settled in Silay. I was born in Silay surrounded with neighbors from Antique, Capiz, and Negros Oriental who stayed at the ‘sacada kwartel’. There was a cataclysmic internal collapse in my childhood vocabulary. My classmates in Grade I thought I was not from this world. They could not understand the common words I was using. I learned these words at home… tagasaw (ant), tiki (small), siki (foot), karwagan (frying pan), hala (talk), dapli (viand), busong (stomach), igma (lunch), waratsayod (not good), buol (get).
I was able to cope later in what is expected to be an accepted level of cultural literacy for a Silaynon. That was good. Thanks to ‘Hiligaynon Magazine’ for sharpening my mind and my tongue. The expected mother tongue for the Negrosanons in non-Cebuano LGUs should be ‘Hiligaynon’.
I want to tell you that the ‘Hiligaynon’ that divorced from ‘Sumakwelan’ is very hard to define. After the Thomasites landed in Negros, we seemed to embrace deliciously the English language. We almost abandoned the Spanish language that gave the Negrosanon great grandparents the air of aristocracy and feudalism. We speak in street Hiligaynon language sprinkled with telenovela accent, noon time TV show, and many of us hardly tried to imitate the Kris Aquino ‘colegiala’ style in speaking.
Where shall we start our mother tongue in Negros Occidental? Of course, we start with the alphabet (katigbatuhan). We have to deal with the correct pronunciation of vowels (patingug) and consonants (katingog). We have to master our parts of speech (bahin sang hambal)… noun (pangalan), pronoun (tal-us pangalan), verb (likga), adverb (ubay-likga), adjective (tigsari), conjunction (panghiangot), interjection (pangbatyag) and preposition (panghamtang). If you want to familiarize our Hiligaynon accents, we have these… level accent (malagdayngadagmit), acute accent (matanlasngadagmit), circumflex accent (tunglingadagmit), and grave accent (sunokngadagmit).
What we are having here is just a drop in the bucket. If you want to be serious with the mother tongue analysis, you will have what we call in Latin ‘ardentiaverba’ (words that burn). You cannot oblige a Grade I pupil to say ‘Good Morning’ in Hiligaynon, if he has been trained to say it in English at home, in a daycare center, or in the preparatory school.
You don’t expect your daughter to say ‘tatloykunla’ for three syllables. It’s hard to say, “Tamyawa and imomanunudlo” (Greet your teacher). If you insist on this, children may become monsters because teachers are ogres.
For me, mother tongue is speaking what you are accustomed to say regardless of the origin of word. Teachers in Grade I and Grade II should be very careful in establishing the foundation of the language of the child. For one child, his first language is a potpourri of Hiligaynon; for the other child, his first language is Hiligaynon-English. The real test of any educational language is its usefulness. The purpose of the language (any language) is to open doors not just excellent knowledge and economic success, but also to other human beings and other cultures.
Remember that a language has always new elements that are constantly coming in and the old ones are falling out of use. I appreciate Shakespeare because he burned my midnight candle. I love Dan Brown because he made me look for his lost symbol. We use language because we want others to understand us. We also use language to amuse and amaze others. Quid rides? Mutato nomine, detefabulanarratur. Horace said that and that is Latin! (Why do you laugh? Change the name and the story is told of you.)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 20, 2013.