Friday, October 30, 2009

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


There is no doubt that the media, most especially television, has so much influence in shaping the conversational language or “lingua franca” of any particular people.

I think the glaringly erroneous use of the Filipino pronoun “siya” to refer to anything from insects to inanimate objects such as mud by television reporters and anchors is so alarming that it could damage the foundation of the national language of the Filipinos.

Recently I watched a segment of the The Filipino Channel called “Filipino Ka, Sabihin Mo” teaching the viewers particularly American born Filipinos the proper use of the Filipino pronouns such as “ikaw”(you), “ako”((I), “siya”(he or she), “sila”(they), “tayo”(us), and “kami”(we). The segment host correctly said that all these pronouns refer to persons.

Now let me add that Filipino pronouns that refer to animals or inanimate objects are “ito”(this), “iyan”(that), “iyon”(those) and add the word “mga” before the pronoun to refer to more than one thing.

I want to raise a point that in the Pilipino language, persons are persons and not things.

I call on the Philippine Department of Education, particularly its National Language Branch, to address this issue. I may suggest that they also address the issue of mispronunciation of the Pilipino word “nakita”(I saw) and many others.

American television anchors and reporters are fully trained in the correct and proper use of English in communicating to the public. They are presumed to be the model in the right way to speak English.

I believe the Philippine media and the government have the responsibility to educate the people in the correct grammatical use of the Pilipino language despite the infusion of words from other dialects. There is surely power in words.



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