Forgetting My Own Mother Tongue

Filipino is my mother tongue. While I live in a multilingual family as is common in any Filipino family, my parents’ common language is Tagalog or Filipino and I grew up using it as my first language. Tagalog or Filipino language is my parents' way of meeting halfway in their communications with each other as they both came from different parts of the country.

You would imagine that I would be quite proficient with the national language, Filipino. Wrong. As I grew older, I got more comfortable talking in Bisaya or the Visayan language mixed in with some Tagalog words and would tend to write in English more than in Filipino or Bisaya.

This confusing use of several languages however did not do me much good last week. In fact, I felt mortified.

A client wrote us a letter using our Filipino language and I was tasked to draft the reply for it, which should also be done in Filipino. It took me thrice the time to finalize my draft. In fact, I had to stop from time to time and do research for the words that I was not sure about, and there were lots of them. It took me almost a week to edit the whole letter that was actually just about 100-150 words for any wrong grammar and punctuations. The letter was no novel, but I felt like I was about to go on nosebleeding episodes trying to finish it in full Filipino language.

That was when I realized that I am on the brink of forgetting my mother tongue while I was busy trying to hone my English skills with reading, writing and blogging.

How can I call myself a true Filipino if I could barely finish a letter in my own mother tongue? This is why I promised to myself that I should improve my usage of my mother tongue. Not for anybody, but for myself. If I cannot talk in Filipino, I shall try to improve my writing in Filipino. I used to read a lot of Tagalog komiks before but got tired of it. It is quite rare to see them now but there are a lot of Tagalog pocketbooks in bookstores, I shall start with those. If any of you can recommend any reading materials, short of advising me to get back to school, feel free to share your recommendations.


...^^v... said...

oo nga nama. kaya nga ako nahihirapan mag-meme sa litratong pinoy, kasi tagalog...waahahahha. ngano bitaw mam no? naa toy time nga from tagalog gitranslate nakog english, there are just some words in tagalog that I can't seem to find the exact words in english.

mas lisud pa man gani ang Filipino subject sa English. hehehe. lisud kau sabton tong panggawa (unsa ba to?).

ang kapait, naay laing pinoy diri, hilas kau, katungtong lang ug amerika, di na kuno kasabot or kalitok ug iningles..lami kau pangsipaon. helur, ok ra mo? mas hawd pako maginingles ninyo. nawng ninyo pinoy kaung dako, mas foreigner pako tan awn ninyo...lami jud kau anaon. murag mga kinsa. duh. lol....nag rant nako.

...^^v... said...

ay mali...ug filipino diay..erratum...di na kuno kasabot or kalitok ug tagalog or bisaya.

...^^v... said...

ang mga pinoy diri mam, nidugay lang, feeling nila americans na sila. ksagaran hambug. naay one time nag grocery mi sa asian market, naoverhear nako gi ask niya iya bana nga 'pinakbet na naman tayo?' then nagkasalubong mi sa isa ka lane, kauban niya iya mga bata, musmile unta ko, deadma. unya naglitok ug iningles sa iya mga bata...lagi oi, hawd kau ka mag iningles pero ayaw tawn limti asa ka gikan.

kay maski unsaon ug blend in, kano will always think inferior ta sa ila.

with that, i'd rather flaunt myself than try hard for them. kalami na lang manaway, bisaya style. hehehe. spite.

...^^v... said...

balikag basa ang florante at laura mam, or ibong adarna...hehehe. indarapatra at sulayman. biag ni lam-ang.

Marites said...

we have clients na ing-ana ang attitude kung manawag sa fon.."this is long distance call from... with matching accent pa:) pagtan-aw sa file namo..atsus! bisdak pala! ang langaw nakatuntong lang sa kalabaw, akala kalabaw na ay hihihihi!