Forum on language problems to be held
By Jason Paul Laxamana
Central Luzon Daily
Last semester, a Kapampangan organization in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman called UP Aguman invited Kalalangan Kamaru and Infomax-8 to talk about regional broadcast media and screen the pilot episode of “Kalam,” the first Kapampanganovela. In spite of the heated debate between so-called nationalists and so-called regionalists, after the screening of “Kalam,” the audience unanimously found the project and the show itself worthy of praise.
This semester, four UP-based organizations—Saligan sa CSSP, UP Aguman, UP Samahang Linggwistika, and STAND UP—team up to hold a bigger forum entitled “Ing Kalam ning Amanung Sisuan” (The Blessing of the Mother Tongue). It will be held on December 9, 2008 from 1 PM to 4 PM at Palma Hall 400. Unlike before, the forum will also feature linguists, experts, and other concerned people to speak about the phenomenon of language shift, language death, and language revitalization
A Closer Look at Philippine Language Problems
(Original Tagalog text by Peter Sengson; English Translation by Laxamana)
At present, there are more than a hundred languages spoken in the Philippines. A number of these are in the brink of being wiped out and it is said that some of the languages of the country of the world are about to die without even being studied or documented. Just what are the conditions that cause language death?
In the Philippines, the Kapampangan language, which is one of the major languages of the archipelago, has been experiencing a decline in its number of speakers. Current speakers of the language are also gradually abandoning it and it is feared that death would be its fate. What are the internal problems that led to this situation? What is being done by the Kapampangans to salvage their mother tongue? What kind of Kapampangan are they trying to revitalize: purist or liberal?
According to some language advocacy groups, the appointment of Filipino as national language is a major cause in the hazard faced by other languages in the Philippines. How did the Filipino language affect the perception of Kapampangans in their own tongue? Is there really a conflict between Filipino and the languages of the regions? What is the possible future of the Philippine languages given the government's campaign for using English as medium of instruction?
These are the questions to be answered in this forum. It aims to introduce linguists, as well as scholars from other disciplines of social science, to the country’s language predicaments. Professors in the field of linguistics, Filipino, and Kapampangan will share their analyses in this issue. Resource speakers from groups attempting to revitalize Kapampangan will also be invited to share their experiences.
The highlight of the program is the screening of the first Kapampanganovela, “Kalam.” After the discussions, an open forum will follow. Linguistics students, especially those enlisted in Sociolinguistics, are expected to attend, as well as other students from the college, professors, and other organizations. The forum is open to everyone who is willing to take part.
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