The third millennium. Twenty first century. The Age of Internet and Information Super Highways. The world has clearly gone global, and the Ilonggo race is riding on the tsunami tides of change just fine.
Native speakers of Hiligaynon have conquered the world, as we know it. They are in Alaska, Australia, Shikoku, Lithuania, Mozambique, NASA, Zimbabwe, the Vatican, the North Pole, even in space [this one needs to be verified!], but definitely yes, they are in cyberspace.
Hiligaynon speakers have learned foreign languages, can enunciate their F’s and V’s and J’s, and can distinguish their O’s and U’s, I’s and E’s. Hiligaynon writers are so smart now that they can spell even in French and German.
The word “coiffeur” might be a little tricky, but I don’t want to insult users of Hiligaynon and spell it “kopyur” or “kufyur,” especially when the French really pronounce it as /kwa-fer/. I figured that as a writer and editor and publisher, if the word coiffeur is so vital to the text, it should stay in there; and if its meaning cannot be derived by context, it is testament to the failure of the writer… and the readers. Because I believe that if a strange and alien word is so important to the readers, they can look it up themselves in dictionaries in the same way that I always consult lexicons for words in each careful story and poem that I write.
Question: Where are we now in that new Filipino alphabet with 28 letters, and in that 1987 constitutional mandate that states that the national language is Filipino, and should be an amalgamation of existing languages of the country and foreign borrowings?
Because that really sounds good on paper, but we, as a people, Filipino and Western Visayans in particular, are still largely parochial in our regional mentality. Oh, am I greatly mistaken? Pardon me!
So why would you be jumping-up-and-down-overly-critical of my language revolution, my “Hiligaynon for the New Millennium and the New Generation”? Why are you tearing me down for my two modest proposals to:
1] adopt the 28 letters—A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K , L, M, N, Ñ, Ng, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z—of the new Filipino alphabet, and
2] omit the [´][`][ˆ]stress or accent marks [diacritics, if you will] over the vowels.
Because, frankly, my dearest, who else is using these stress marks in this generation of laptop, tablet, PC, and iPad-savvy users?
But, of course, les Français!
Right! But our reading of the diacritics are not as French as the international standard! Stop, look, and listen: the French “café” for coffeehouse is correctly pronounced /kafey/. No, no, no, Matilda! Not /kafeh/ as when you follow the Filipino reading of the [´] mark.
Well, E.T., if it’s not global, why confuse the people?
To be honest, I don’t have a degree in Linguistics, but you cannot find a more dedicated Hiligaynon linguist and language specialist than I. I write, speak, listen, read, and—if my spouse is to be believed, I do dream in Hiligaynon, in addition to gathering, collecting, researching, verifying, testing, filing, and annotating words in Hiligaynon.
And now that my secret project is out, yes, I must admit, I am working on a Hiligaynon dictionary “for the new millennium and the globally aware generation.” Also, at 45, I retired myself from a lucrative Nursing career in America to devote myself to the mission of advancing, promoting, and propagating my mother tongue, the Hiligaynon.
On top of being an independent contractor, specializing in Hiligaynon, for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages [ACTFL] globally, I also fund and operate The Peter Solis Nery Foundation for Hiligaynon Literature and the Arts, Inc., which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the production, collection, publication, and dissemination of all things Hiligaynon. It is in this capacity as champion of Hiligaynon that I felt the need to revolutionize Hiligaynon for this—our 21st century, internet-savvy, global Hiligaynon writers, readers, and speakers; and the future generations.
I ask again, the question that I have asked myself six hundred ninety-nine times before: Who will dictate the advancement and the future of our Hiligaynon language?
And on my seven hundredth inquiry, a clearer answer: You and I, if you have a revolutionary heart like mine. Because we will continue to write, read, speak, listen, set and raise the standard, publish, disseminate, research, educate, broadcast, and propagate our glorious, intelligent, globally competitive, mellifluous Hiligaynon.
I see this as my destiny: to forge a legacy of my marvelous Hiligaynon. So you can trust my word when I say that I will continue to write stories, make movies, create literature with characters that reflect Hiligaynon users’ smartness, cleverness, and linguistic superiority, dexterity, and artfulness—characters who can spell, read, and pronounce “cellphone” correctly, know that it should really be two words “cell” and “phone,” but readily accept the one word “cellphone” just the same, and even makes allowances for [perhaps with an uncomfortable squirm] “celfon,” “selpon,” “silpun.”
I may never see a Hiligaynon spelling standardization in my lifetime. But that is okay. In fact, naturally expected. I understand the evolving nature of a living language, and its adaptive instinct for survival in the increasingly tightening global world.
It is for that very same reason why I advocate a user-friendly and inclusive 28-letter alphabet, and the simplification by omission of the non-standard, almost forgotten diacritics—to accommodate the rapid changes of our time, and to anticipate the even more dizzying changes of the future.
My language revolution, my so-called “Hiligaynon for the New Millennium and the Globally Aware Generation” is here, not to supplant whatever Hiligaynon we have now, but rather, to supplement it. To open it up to bigger, better, more forward-looking possibilities.
Welcome to the fortified Hiligaynon, welcome to the future!
© Peter Solis Nery via Facebook [June 12, 2014]