Think twice before you speak? by David Willem L. Molenaar | photographed by Martini M. Falco
he Philippines is an archipelago filled with rich cultures and unique dialects. Yet wherever we go, we are discriminated by our use of language and where we live. Having grown up here in the city of Bacolod, I was always exposed to the dialect, Hiligaynon. I learned to understand it and speak it and I continue to use it as my main means of communication to my family, friends, and passersby. Although, due to my dad’s inability to comprehend the language, I have to speak in English. English was always practiced in school but most of us tend to ignore the famous line, ‘Speak English Always’, written in almost every classroom. Even if its sole purpose is to remind us what language 16
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to speak. I remember speaking fluent English in class and my classmates would make fun of me because I sound “funny”. I understand how a foreign language may sound funny especially when we are so used to hearing our own dialect. But laughing at someone trying to speak it just hinders that person to learn it. Eventually, they would drop it and settle with what they already know. It is sad, really. I still do not understand the need for us to judge and label our fellow Filipinos. Our friends from the great north, Metro Manila, would see us, from the province, as people with low social status. It may not be all, and I am not here to generalize, but there are definitely some out there.