By Gabriel Cardinoza Inquirer BINALONAN, Pangasina--Residents of Binalonan, an Ilocano-speaking town in eastern Pangasinan, can now read in their native tongue the highly acclaimed novel of their famous town mate, Carlos Bulosan. Thanks to Manuel Diaz, a local fiction writer, who translated Bulosan’s “America is in the Heart” into Ilocano. “Adda iti Puso ti Amerika” is now being serialized in Bannawag, a weekly vernacular magazine that circulates in the Ilocos region. The novel, which was first published in 1946, describes Bulosan’s boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to America, and his years of hardship and despair as an itinerant laborer on that foreign land. Bulosan was born in a village in Binalonan, then known as Mangusmana, and died in Seattle, Washington, on Sept. 11, 1956. “I hope that my translation of Bulosan into Ilocano will trigger another translation of his other important works into the vernacular,” Diaz said. Bulosan’s literary pieces since 1914 consisted of short stories, poems, plays and essays, which have been kept in seven boxes, one folder and 17 microfilm reels at the University of Washington Libraries in Seattle. Since the writings are all in English, many Ilocanos may have never fully appreciated them, said Jaime Lucas, Diaz’s colleague in the local chapter of the Gunglo dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano (Association of Ilocano Writers). “Some of us have not even seen Bulosan’s book in English. So it’s good that it’s now being serialized in Bannawag that even the ordinary Ilocano can now appreciate the writings of Bulosan,” Lucas said. First time Diaz, who is translating Bulosan’s work for the first time, said what he had done was not easy. “The novel was set in the 1930s and the ambiance was very different from what we have today. There were even words in the novel which are no longer applicable,” Diaz said. But Diaz said he hoped his work would not only help increase awareness among the Ilocanos about Bulosan but would make them become proud of him as well. Bulosan is not known now, especially among students because his works are no longer included in the required readings in high school and college literature classes. “There has to be a rediscovery of Bulosan,” Diaz said.
Recently in Language Category
By Peter La. Julian Northern Luzon Bureau BATAC, Ilocos Norte--Instead of focusing solely on the national language, Filipino, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF or Commission on the Filipino Language) has revised its vision toward the development, propagation, and preservation of the country's more than 179 dialects and regional languages. "The KWF leadership has agreed to establish a center for information, documentation, and research on the languages and various literatures of the Philippines," said Dr. Ricardo Ma. Nolasco, KWF chairman. Nolasco, a Bicolano who spoke in Filipino, delivered the keynote address in a recent international gathering here of 182 Filipino educators, scholars, and writers from the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, the United States, and Japan. Called "Nakem" (consciousness or maturity in Iloko), the three-day affair tackled, beside the Ilocano diaspora, the state of Philippine dialects and languages, and was held at the Mariano Marcos Memorial State University here. Nolasco said the center, to be established within three years, will create original and model dictionary, grammar, and orthography (spelling), scholarly journals and literacy materials and references for teaching various disciplines. He said the center will be a storehouse of data on various dialects and languages, equipped with audio and video recording of communicative events, including annotations and commentaries. The project is in line with the policy, "Isang Bansa, Maraming Wika" (One Nation, Many Languages), which is the basis for this year's language theme, "Many Languages, Strong Country," Nolasco said. He said English, as one of the country's official languages, would also be enhanced. He said the policy has been formulated in keeping with the fact that the Filipino is multi-lingual and multi-cultural and that the country's having more than 170 dialects and regional languages is not a handicap but a big advantage. "It is ordinary for a Filipino to know how to speak two or more languages," Nolasco said, citing the case of President Macapagal-Arroyo who can speak Kapampangan, Sinebwano, Iloko, Tagalog, English, and Spanish. He said, however, that the country has a national language, Filipino, that has become a common language for various ethno-linguistic groups. He nevertheless admitted that Filipino is simply Tagalog in syntax and grammar, with no grammatical element or lexicon coming from Iloko, Sinebwuano, Ilonggo, and other major Philippine languages. This is contrary to the intention, he said, of Republic Act 7104 that requires that the national language should be developed and enriched by the lexicon of the country's other dialects and languages. The KWF is working toward that direction and would conduct research and studies not only on the national language but also on the country's dialects and languages, Nolasco said.