Tagalog Is A "Bad" Language

13 11 2005

I was supposed to post this a long time ago, but finally here it is:

I remember watching a boy pageant on TV. It’s like a beauty pageant, with talent and Q&A portions and all, but the contestants are boy age 5 to 9. Anyway, one of the contestant of the eliminations told the hosts (on cam, mind you) that he wanted the question asked in English. The hosts asked why, and this is what he said:

“My grandmother said TAGALOG is bad.”

What the…? Since when speaking in the local language becomes a taboo?

Apparently, the boy belonged to a rich family (judging from where he lives).

The boy’s case is not unique. Several rich kids speak in English and, in our culture of extreme contrasts, rich people are not supposed to speak in Tagalog since it’s “the language of the masses.” They could only speak Tagalog “when talking to their ‘yaya’ (babysitters).”

Being a semi-patriot (I love the country, but I hate the government), my heart bleeds for the Tagalog language. With Filipino pride waning with every crisis and every working opportunity abroad, it’s not unusual that Filipinos themselves begin to shun everything that is “masa” (masses) or in other words, anything “Filipino”, from movies, songs, consumer products, and yes, even the language that sets us apart from other people.

Sad but true, what used to be a cool language to speak during the post-WW2, what used to be the revolutionary language of the Spanish era, what is the standard language of the Filipino lexicography, is beginning to dwindle down as the language of the poor and the uneducated.

That does not mean that Filipinos should insist on speaking Filipino amidst the globalization of English. What I want to say is to hone the Filipino language. Put it in our minds and hearts that it is through the Filipino language, through Tagalog (and all other ethnic languages for that matter) that we become Filipino. Without the Filipino language, we are like babies without names or students without IDs.

Our identity is slowly being lost and we Filipinos are becoming two nationalities: The Rich and “Ang Mahirap”.




9 responses

13 11 2005

OMG! I’m sooo guilty! I don’t really speak and write much Tagalog anymore… Well, quite a little… But I don’t know.. I guess when compared to my past, I speak and write more English right now…

But I don’t think that Tagalog is bad… That’s so sad to hear, especially from a little boy….

Oh well, let’s just hope that that boy is just an itsy bitsy sand amongst a vast beach…

13 11 2005
Chas Ravndal

OMG so true there my dear empress

13 11 2005

ah! a semi-patriot like myself! missing the country desperately but repulsed by our government.

heniweys, i truly understand about the language. i have a young daughter and i’m trying to educate her with Tagalog since she might never speak it, being in a different country and all. it is her heritage and will always be a part of her identity.

btw, michele sent me!

13 11 2005

Its important to be true to your roots and identity.

In the UK, the language of the West of England (Cornish – a form of Celtic) has all but gone. The Welsh still keep their language and although Scotland had its own language it is more or less a dialect now rather than a full language, except in a few remote areas.

Across in Ireland, another celtic language is still in use, particularly in the Republic of Ireland, but these are mainly minority languages now compared with the march of English/American English.

If anything there has been a resurgence of interest in these languages over the last few years and those that speak them are proud to do so.


14 11 2005

hello dear empress!

truly excellent post. i agree with you there. although i usually am required to speak english at work and normally do so too when with friends, i also try to hone my tagalog by reading and watching filipino films. kasehodang sabihing baduy kapag nanonood ako ng pelikula nila aga at claudine. hehehe. i also try to practive my ilonggo so i don’t lose it because i do believe, it is part of what we are.

and no, michele didn’t send me like the others. đŸ™‚

14 11 2005

So true. I know some people who boast that they “speak English at home eh,” as if it’s some sort of badge of honor. It just goes to show the shallowness of these people. I myself, do not speak tagalog or even Filipino well, but that’s because I am from Davao City and out here we speak a mutated combination of Tagalog/Filipino and Bisaya with weird terms and wrong usage.

18 11 2005

I’ve always thought that something was askew when most people subscribe to the notion that speaking Tagalog is somehow stepping down to some “level” below one’s station. I say, BS. I am proud to say that even though I practically grew up in the U.S. not once did I renounced my language nor pretended that I don’t know how to speak it. Besides, my father would have killed me, lol. I kept my ability honed by reading Filipino books and speaking Tagalog every chance I get. But sad to say, most of the children of 1st generation Filipino immigrants were not taught the language in hope that they (the children) will assimilate faster/better but by doing so, the parents unknowingly or knowingly(?) stripped their children a sense of identity, of self-worth. Sayang.

25 12 2005

Am I the only one who sees irony in the fact that all of the responses to this entry were posted in English? I’m thankful that they were, since I don’t speak a word of Tagalog, and it does make sense to post in the most accessible language, but it also struck me as somewhat humorous.

3 05 2007


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