Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is Pangasinan A Dying Language?

by Dr. Prospero E. de Vera


I just came across this very interesting article written by Gabriel Cardinoza in Philippine Daily Inquirer
entitled 'Why its Difficult to Learn Pangasinan" and it brought me back not only to my younger years but also some of my frustrations with academics and leaders in the province.

Using a study made by Edgar Quiros of the National Library who is doing his dissertation at U.P. on the issue, Cardinoza made the following assertions:

1) In the family tree of Philippine languages, Pangasinan has no relative. It is one of the 13 indigenous languages in the country with at least a million native speakers. These include Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, Kapampangan, Bikol, Albay Bikol, Maranao, Maguindanao, Kinaray-a and Tausug.

2) People learn a language easier if these come from the same family tree. Because the Pangasinan and Ilocano languages are not related and Pangasinan is a unique language, a person with Ilokano as his/her first language will take a longer time to learn Pangasinan compared to someone who was born in a Pangasinan-speaking environment. "But if you were born an Ilocano and you try to learn Tagalog" according to Quiros, "it will be a lot easier for you to learn it than Pangasinan.”

3) The Pangasinan language has five dialects with the most detailed and distinct in central Pangasinan with more detailed words to discuss specific things.

“One good example is the rain. Rain is associated with adjectives, like maksil [strong] or makapuy [weak] in other places. But in central Pangasinan, there are many terms for rain. It can be maya-maya [drizzle], tayaketek [light rain] or ambusabos [heavy rain],” Quiros said.

This shows, added Quiros, "that in central Pangasinan, the language has been fully developed because these were also the oldest places in the province."

4) The origins of the Pangasinan language remains unknown and very little has been done to study it.

As someone who is a 100% Pangasinense whose father comes from one of the biggest clans (de Vera) in Central Pangasinan and an Ilokano mother from Tayug and Asingan, I share Quiros' assertion that the Pangasinan language is really very difficult to learn and very few (if none at all) are studying it.

I learned to speak both languages in my younger years during summer breaks. I would spend one summer in my fathers hometown (Bayambang) and speak Pangasinan and speak Ilokano when I stayed in Tayug the next year. Unfortunately, we spoke Ilokano at home and over the years I completely lost my Pangasinan tongue. I'm trying to learn it back, with very little success.

I also noticed over the years that Ilokano is slowly eating its way into Pangasinan-speaking areas, such as Bayambang in Central Pangasinan, Villasis-Urdaneta in the eastern part and even in areas like San Fabian in the western part of the province.

There is a saying that the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one.

Unfortunately, academics and provincial officials in Pangasinan do not seem to see a problem or feel an urgency to study and develop the language.

As a Regent of the Pangasinan State University from 2005-2007 I urged academics and university officials to create a Center that will specialize in Pangasinan studies and bring together nationally recognized Pangasinense academics to save the language. The plea fell on deaf ears.

Unlike academics who write extensively using their language/dialect like Bulakeno Dr. Jimmy Veneracion (UP History) and Dr. Ted Tantoco (UP History), recognized academics from Pangasinan - like the late Dr. Marcelino Foronda (DLSU), Dr. Rosario Cortez (UP), Dr. Napoleon Casambre (UP), Dr. Leslie Bauzon (UP) - never wrote articles or books in the Pangasinan language.

Compare this, further, with academics and politicians in the Ilocos Region who are strengthening the Ilocano language through sisterhood ties between Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Ilocos Norte and University of Hawaii. You wouldnt believe it but there is a BA Ilocano Studies program at the University of Hawaii!! They also spearhead the holding of annual Ilokano conferences where papers written in the language are delivered.

Maybe this latest study will finally make Pangasinense's wake up and take action.

Maybe ...

24 comments:

  1. so anto so pakadisir yo, sir, ey? ompapatey la'y salitan Pangasinan?

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  2. antoy nibaga yu tongkul ed ompapatey lan salitan panggasinan

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  3. DAPAT YA ETDAN YA PANSIN DARAY KAUKULAN,TA SIAC NATIVE ED PANGASINAN PERO WADIA AC ED MINDANAO NATAN,PERO ENAROT SO NANLAPUAN KON BALEY KON BAYAMBANG.DAPAT LABAT LA NA PANARALAN TAYUN MAONG SO SALITA TAYO,ARUEN TAYO SO KULTURA TAYO KASI SICATAYU SO NESANANEY SAY ARUM YA SALITA ED PILIPINAS TA WALAY SARILI TAYUN PANAGSULAT O ISTILO YA PANAGSULAT,SIAC NANAERAPAN NACLA MANSALITA YA PURON PANGASINAN TA ALAOK LASO SALITAC TAGALOG SO SALITAC.MASANTING SO NAESIP YO SIR TA DE VERA AC MET.KUMON UNSABI SO AGEW YA SAKEY SO PANSASINAN YA LALON UNASENSO LALO LA ED PANAGSALITA YA PANGASINAN.

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  4. Dr. De Vera,

    My name is Demosthenes De Vera and am a hobbyist/geneologist for my clan from Dagupan, Pangasinan. My father, Reynaldo De Vera (born November 1929), is still living in Binloc, Bonuan, our ancestral town.

    Please advise as to where I could do some online research on our family name. I have no doubt that we are related as the Spanish De Veras indeed settled in Pangasinan centuries ago when the country was a colony of Spain.

    Thank you in advance for any help you could provide.

    Sincerely,

    Demosthenes "Dennis" De Vera
    Centreville, VA, USA

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  5. I love when I have the opportunity to read blogs as interesting as this. really thanks and congratulations. is of great concern to me about
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  7. Interesting article, added his blog to Favorites

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  8. What an interesting article. I grew up in Pangasinan (Mangaldan to be exact). My family moved to California when I was 13 and I have not visited since (I'm 24 now). This is very interesting to me because I still speak Pangasinan when I speak to my parents (who live here). But unfortunately, I am also losing the tongue because I speak English more often with friends, co-workers, teachers, etc. I try to practice it as often as I can, as well as Ilocano (which I completely lost the ability to speak, a couple years after moving here).

    I did talk to a former classmate from elementary school via SKYPE and she told me that none of the people/classmates we knew in elementary spoke Pangasinan anymore, which was strange to me seeing as I still occasionally speak it with relatives over here (much more often than Tagalog and Ilocano, I must add).

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  9. karaklan ed saray wala'd kalangweran natan ed Pangasinan et ngalngali agda la amta so mansalita na Pangasinan. singa ibabaing da ni iyan usaren.

    makapaermen ya onia so nagagawa.

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  10. This is an interesting article but I am saddened with the fact that Pangasinan language is dying rapidly.

    By the way, My family originally came from the Visayas, but resided in Dagupan since I was 1 year old. I can truly say that I'm already a Dagupeño and Pangasinense by heart and soul. And Im proud that Im spending my time in this beautiful, majestic province.

    Pangasinan is definitely a beautiful a language, I really love the accent and the way Pangasinan talk with the Unique provincial intonation, and one thing, I just notice that this only one of of the few Philippine language that schwa sound is present, quite interesting right?. But really, Pangasinan is quite difficult specially in grammar. Actually, Im still at the stage of learning basic Pangasinan and cant hold a conversation without shifting to Tagalog, though I can 85-95% understand a conversation in the language, but not really proficient in speaking it. I am truly saddened with that fact but the hope is still here. Because I know, 1 day, I will be completely speaking the language more fluently for my enthusiasm is in the verge on learning the language effectively.

    INAR-ARO KOY SALITA TAYO Y PANGASINAN!

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  11. ^^By the way, Im just 16 turning 17 next month. On that note, Im really optimistic that I still have time to be a more fluent speaker of this 'quite complex' language. Haha :)

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  12. JULIUS "MCDO" DE VERANovember 8, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    HI DR. DE VERA,
    I'M JULIUS LASTRA. DE VERA FROM THE PROVINCE OF LEYTE. THOUGH I WAS BORN AND RAISED AS A LEYTENIO YET I'M PROUD TO HAVE A PANGASINENSI BLOOD. MY FATHER, THE LATE MR. JULIO BONDAD. DE VERA IS A NATIVE OF BRGY. BAYAOAS, MUNICIPALITY OF URBIZTONDO, PANGASINAN...
    YOU MADE ME MORE INSPIRED TO LEARN THE UNIQUE "PANGALATOK" AND BE PROUD OF MY FAMILY NAME "DE VERA".
    I HOPE I COULD GO THERE IN PANGASINAN TO SUPPORT THE SUSTAINABILTY AND PRESERVATION PROGRAM OF THE PANGASINAN LANGUAGE. BEING A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN HOTEL RESTAURANT AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT STUDENT AND ACULTURE AND THE ARTS FIELD ASPIRANT I WILL HELP PROMOTE PANGASINAN AND THE PANGASINAN LANGUAGE.....

    SINCERELY YOURS,
    JULIUS DE VERA

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  14. sakey ak met ya DE VERA, taga ak balet ed Basista. pero say interon angkan mi taga Bayambang.

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  15. Walad sikatyo la no pulyanan tayo ya ompatey so salita tayon pangasinan. Puros ti la English tan tagalog ed kaabongan tayo ag ti la nibabangat iray anac tayo nu panunto so mansalita tan untalos ya dilin salita tayo. Duga met so ginawa ya DepEd ya ibangat so pangasinan ed saray kalangweran. Nagamuran tayo ya basta mankakasakey itayo. Italindeg tayo so salitan pangasinan. Amana ti ya ed saray laki tan bai tayo. Nakaukolan labat ya simpitan tayo tan ipasa met ed saray ilalac tayo. -Amputi Layag

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  16. I didn't realize my grandma's native tongue pangalatok is dying! I thought it's related to ilocano. I really hope it never dies. It's really sad seeing a language die.... the culture dies with it too :(

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  17. I am a Bikolano by tounge and blood, and I am sad with this truth. Nangyayari rin po ito kahit sa Bikol, kung saan unti-unti na pong lumiliit ang lupain ng mga Bikolano especially sa Camarines Norte. Sabayan pa po yan ng kaisipan sa amin na ang Bikolnon ay para sa mahihirap at ang Tagalog sa mga Mayayaman. Thank you Sir for this post and I hope may magbago po.

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  18. Aliwan panggalatok so salitay kaluyagan. Makapaermen lanti ya amta ti lan karaklan so nipatnag, bangbalet singa agda nadngel so katwaan ya nisulat nen Dr. De Vera.
    Anggaman ontan, anggano onyan pikakasakeyan na saray makababasa tan makaamta, makagawa tin amin a kanepegan ya osaren a maslak ed pitotongtong so ompapatey lan salitay kaluyagan tin pinabli.

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  19. baleg so kontribusyon ya eskwelaan ed panpreserba ya salita. kayan manggapu kumon ed eskwelaan no gabay dan bilayen so salitan pangasinan. ed abong, anggapo lay nagawaan tayo no duma lay sasalitaen da, ag ti la nauman tan. balet iray ugaw, nabangatan ni ira ed eskwelaan. -milo, binmaley.

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  21. Makapaermen ya tua. Anggaman diad baley na San Carlos et laok lay salitan narerengel ko. Walay puron San Carlenian balet Ilokanoy salita to, iray arum met ya malalangwer ibabangat day ananak dad Ingles. Katon umpano ag manbayag et untuan umpatey so salitan Pangasinan. Anggaman untan, sikatayon makaamta ni na Pangasinan kumon nipatawir tayod saray untutumbok

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  22. Sakey ya natetel ed saya iray atateng ya mas labay dan ibangat san katungtungen iray ilalak da dyad salitan Tagalog o Ingles imbes na manpangasinan lalod sayan moderno ya panaon. Amayamay so kabat ko ya pinabaleg da lay anak da ya aga makasalitay Pangasinan. Say kwanda kasi pyano mainumay la no unurong. Agda kumon ipipireg o ibabaing so sarili dan salita.

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  23. Walay abasak ya article.. Say origin na salita tayon pangasinan diad binalatungan o San Carlos city la natan . datin cabuloan so tawag dad salita tayo panaon nen andres malong ni mga 1600.

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