On Writing (3): Language – Filipino or English?

Filipino or English, what should I use to better share my ideas? 

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With a background in communication studies specifically in language and culture, I learned that there isn’t a “better” language. Moreover, the thought of providing a distinct hierarchy of languages that makes one the best is affected by various factors which can be seen within the society and outside the society. There isn’t that one particular criterion that lets you identify one language that is better than another. The use of a particular mode of communication is also a result of people’s interactions and are associated with various factors such as the community’s history, values, and traditions.  I won’t expound on the minute details for each one as you may search for it in various scholarly articles (communication theories, language acquisition, multilingual concepts).

In my own writing, however,  I still am bothered by this concept. Even with the idea of using various languages as an individual element in communication, I get troubled whenever I try to choose over the two languages that I know. Like right now, I am using English. Ha!

First, I am not confident in sharing my ideas in Filipino anymore. I did well (I guess) back in my university days because I was required to complete and submit various writing output for the class that are in Filipino. But now, I have been using my second language (English) as a medium of communication in both written and spoken forms for almost four years. It is sad to note that even though I am still living in the Philippines, I have to use another language to express my thoughts and “connect” with people around me. How badly do I wish to relearn the skills of writing in my vernacular (Filipino-Tagalog).

Second, I do try composing poems and short stories here in my blog, but (with my ever so self-conscious mind) they don’t seem polished or even worth reading at times. They are random extensions of my ever-so-active thinking. There are times when I even feel jealous of others who can speak and write in other Filipino languages like Cebuano,  Bicol, Waray or Kapampangan because they can further express their ideas through another medium which can reach a specific target audience or a close-knit community.

This is a challenge that I gladly take for the improvement of my own craft. Lastly, even with me only knowing Tagalog, English, and Taglish, I can’t fully master the proper use of each one when I put the series of scenes I plan to show in my stories into proper writing. This situation is somehow depressing, but now that I am taking up my master’s degree, I hope to look back to my native language and work my way through the intricate yet beautiful process of storytelling that uses the wonderful Tagalog terms and Filipino experiences. This is a challenge that I gladly take for the improvement of my own craft.

Hmm…Maybe I can start by reading more Filipino-written stories and novels. I simply have to check on some good reads in the next couple of days. 

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J. M. Salgado

This is for the unraveling thoughts of a Filipina trying to understand the creatively altered life of herself and the environment that she lives in. Learning to live the life through writing.

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