Monday, November 21, 2011

Closer look at Biggel's Tagalog


Item: “ONE OF THE most engaging housemates of “PBB UnliNight” is the 19-year old Joseph Biggel, the fisherman-farmer from Marinduque who speaks Tagalog with a very “promdi” accent.” (PBB Unlinight’s Joseph Biggel and Slater Young winning many fans, Showbiz Portal. 11.10.11).


“Promdi” is a corruption of “from the province”, so the description is quite accurate. It is for the same reason why Biggel was tagged the “Promdihirang Tisoy ng Marinduque”.



But this really gives us an opportunity to take a closer look on the Tagalog that Biggel speaks.

So we go back a bit. The “development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native dialects” was actually provided for in the 1935 Philippine Constitution. A National Language Institute was created thereafter which, after a study and survey of existing native languages, recommended the adoption of Tagalog as the core of the national language.

Eight major languages in the country were identified during that period on the basis of the number of native speakers: Tagalog (4,068,565); Cebuano (3,620,685), Ilocano (2,353,318), Hiligaynon (1,951,005), Bicol (1,289,424), Waray (920,009), Pampango (621,455), and Pangasinan (573,752).

On January 12, 1937, President Manuel L. Quezon appointed the members of the Commission on National Language for that purpose with the following as first members: Jaime C. de Veyra (Samar-Leyte Visayan), Chairman, Santiago A. Fonacier (Ilocano), Member; Filemon Sotto (Cebu Visayan), Member; Casimiro F. Perfecto (Bicol), Member; Felix S. Salas Rodriguez (Panay Visayan), Member; Hadji Butu (Moro), Member and Cecilio López (Tagalog), Member and Secretary.

Now it is the same Cecilio Lopez, the only native Tagalog speaker in the Commission and who would eventually be known as the Father of Philippine Linguistics, who made a study of the Tagalog spoken on Marinduque island. He wrote conclusively that it is “the root or among the roots from which modern national forms of speech have sprung”, and this is “where remnants of archaic Tagalog could be found”.



So Biggel’s Tagalog should really be something of interest.

Even Filipino language researchers from Surian ng Wikang Pambansa are one in saying that languages are fluid, taking on different words and phrases depending on outside influences and that no language remains the same.

But when you start looking at the roots of a language, and we now have a fairly good idea where the language started based on Lopez’ studies, we can at least see or experience where that language took its ideas from.


So how about going back to the roots of Tagalog by travelling to the beautiful island of Marinduque and listening to how the natives speak it. Then when you get used to, perhaps you could enrich your own Filipino (which is essentially Tagalog, anyway), with the version of Tagalog spoken here? In the process we could even help resolve the language problem that confronts us, Filipinos.



If something prevents you from doing it yet, listening nightly to Pinoy Big Brother housemate, Joseph Biggel’s speech could probably serve as an interesting and very practical start.

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