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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Nov 17, 2023

Preserving our linguistic legacy: The vitality of century-old Philippine languages

The Philippines, a nation known for its rich cultural diversity, boasts a linguistic tapestry that spans across countless islands and communities. Among the treasures embedded within this vibrant linguistic landscape are the century-old languages like Tagalog, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, and Bisaya. These languages, rooted in centuries of history and cultural heritage, hold immense significance and deserve our utmost attention and preservation efforts. Writing and continuing to write in these vernacular languages is crucial to ensure their survival and to honor the unique identities they represent.

Tagalog, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, and Bisaya are not merely means of communication; they serve as living repositories of the collective wisdom, traditions, and narratives of the Filipino people. These languages encapsulate the experiences, values, and aspirations of communities that have shaped them over generations. By preserving these languages, we safeguard the distinct cultural identities of different regions and foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of our collective heritage.

Writing in the vernacular is a powerful tool in preserving these 100-year-old languages. It allows for the documentation and dissemination of their unique grammar, vocabulary, and syntax, ensuring that future generations can study, understand, and revitalize these linguistic treasures. Through the act of writing, we create a tangible legacy that can be explored, analyzed, and shared across time and space.

Moreover, writing in the vernacular language ensures that the authentic essence of these languages is preserved. While translations into dominant languages may convey the general meaning of a text, they often fail to capture the nuanced cultural subtleties and linguistic intricacies that define these languages. By writing in Tagalog, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, and Bisaya, we celebrate the distinct expressions, idioms, and metaphors that make these languages truly unique and irreplaceable.

Recognizing the importance of preserving these languages, Night Owl, a new literary work, has been released in four different local dialects. This initiative is a testament to the commitment to preserving and promoting the 100-year-old languages of the Philippines. By making literature accessible in Tagalog, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, and Bisaya, Night Owl not only honors the linguistic heritage of these regions but also draws attention to their beauty and cultural significance.

By releasing Night Owl in these vernacular languages, we acknowledge the importance of representation and accessibility. Literature has the power to inspire, educate, and shape our understanding of the world. When people can read stories, poems, and narratives in their native languages, they feel seen, validated, and empowered. It fosters a sense of belonging and cultural pride, encouraging the continued use and preservation of these languages.

Preserving 100-year-old languages like Tagalog, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, and Bisaya is a collective responsibility. It requires the active involvement of communities, educators, writers, and policymakers. 

Efforts should be made to support language programs, encourage the creation of literary works, and promote language learning initiatives that prioritize the vernacular. By nurturing these languages, we ensure that they remain vibrant and relevant in the face of the challenges posed by globalization and the dominance of major languages.

In conclusion, the need to preserve and promote century-old languages such as Tagalog, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, and Bisaya cannot be overstated. These languages are the soul of our nation.

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