Columnist calls Filipino "the language of the streets... not the learned"

( A Manila Bulletin column published on August 24 titled "Language, learning, identity, privilege" has gone viral online, garnering mixed reactions from netizens, reports GMA News. The column, written by James Soriano, discusses what he believes are problems with the Filipino language. 

Soriano, who was taught to use English at a young age, said that learning Filipino  stemmed from practicality. "It was the language of the streets: it was 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." Though the writer learned to grasp Filipino as the "language of identity," he maintains that it is not "the language of the learned." He ended his column by describing that Filipino "is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege."

Reactions online varied from agreeing with his sentiments or taunts on elitism. Twitter user P0yt tweeted: "Dear James Soriano, I’m sorry you had to go through an education like that. Geniuses in my school speak Filipino." Twitter user Ederic also said: "@kimpatria Nakakalungkot, pero kailangang unawain natin ang pinagmulan niya. Sabi nga ni @MaRCs03, may ibang mundo si James Soriano." Meanwhile, assistant instructor at the Ateneo de Manila University English Department Miguel Lizada urged the public on Facebook to understand where Soriano was coming from.


Recently, there have been other reports that were telling of the issues plaguing the national language. On Wednesday,  a "language gap" sidetracked House debates on the RH Bill. Previous stories also reported that local youth had difficulty reading and writing Filipino.

For more on this story, log on to Manila Bulletin and GMA News.

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