Tagalog (Filipino) not a ‘language of the learned,’ says columnist

Filipino is the “language of the streets" – “how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed sundo na."

These lines, can be found in a “Manila Bulletin" column and are now being talked about online with sentiment .

The author of the article James Soriano, who wrote the column titled “Language, Learning, Identity, Privilege," said that he was required to speak English at home, had all his books in English, and even prayed in English.“Filipino, on the other hand, was always the ‘other’ subject — almost a special subject like PE or Home Economics, except that it was graded the same way as Science, Math, Religion, and English," he said in his column originally posted Wednesday.
This was contextualised in the fact that he sees his mother language was utilized to speak to the servants and helpers rather than to his classmates

“My classmates and I used to complain about Filipino all the time. Filipino was a chore, like washing the dishes; it was not the language of learning. It was the language we used to speak to the people who washed our dishes," Soriano added.

“I spoke Filipino, but only when I was in a different world like the streets or the province; it did not come naturally to me. English was more natural; I read, wrote and thought in English," he said.
Soriano noted that it was only in the university that he “began to grasp Filipino in terms of language and not just dialect."
“Only recently have I begun to grasp Filipino as the language of identity: the language of emotion, experience, and even of learning. And with this comes the realization that I do, in fact, smell worse than a malansang isda, " he added.
“But perhaps this is not so bad in a society of rotten beef and stinking fish. For while Filipino may be the language of identity, it is the language of the streets. It might have the capacity to be the language of learning, but it is not the language of the learned," Soriano said.
Soriano’s thoughts have generated a mixed reaction on social networking sites.

The relevance of the article is probably more to do with the fact an issue occurred during the Reproductive Health Debate where any stumbling block that can be found is being used. At the house of representatives on Wednesday,Leyte Rep. Sergio Apostol said he could not continue with the interpellation if Akbayan Rep. Arlene Bag-ao as his questions were given in English but responded to in Tagalog “The official language is English and Filipino… I insist that there should be interpreter… Tagalog is not an official language. If she wants to speak in Tagalog, then there should be an interpreter," Apostol said at the House plenary.

Bag-ao, however, insisted that she is using the official Filipino language and must be allowed to do so throughout the interpellation. Tit tat tactics in delaying the RH Bill is normal at the same time the question of a value of someone’s personal identity to a language also has to be asked if its been removed and used as a secondary language over a more “international” recognised tongue.