Binisaya language, and other Philippine languages under the imperial Tagalog dominance.

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By Sator P. Apoyon
Davao City

The Cebuano (Bisaya Language), as a lingua franca in Central Visayas and Mindanao, is bedeviled by a lot of negative factors for its growth in the New Millennium.

Among the causes of the anemic stride of the language, popularly known as "Sinugboanong Binisaya", are the disparity in numbers of media outlets between Tagalog and Cebuano, radio and television programming imbalance, apathy of the Cebuano-speaking people themselves to nurture the Lapulapu tongue—and Filipinization.

As of the present, only Bisaya Magazine, one of the publications of the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, has remained as the major absorber of literary and poetry outputs of Cebuano writers.

Her rivals in the industry—Lamdag, Alimyon, Silaw and Bag-ong Suga -- have been dead many, many years ago.

Way back in the l990’s, the SunStar Publications started to run Cebuano sections in their sister newspapers in the cities of Cebu and Davao. However, the undertaking only achieved a minimal contribution to the strengthening of the "Sinugboanong Binisaya."

Occasionally, some vernacular writers guilds in northern Mindanao and Cebu City also conduct literary and poetry contests to boost the efforts of the Bisaya Magazine’s to enhance the promotion of Cebuano literature alongside with Tagalog which is the main foundation of Filipino.

But whatever gains in relative directions of the Bisaya, SunStar and those of local literary and poetry tilts are not enough to combat the negative effects of most radio and television broadcast spelling, phonetics, vocabularies and grammar.

Even the official inclusion of the teaching of regional literature in public school secondary and collegiate classes in this decade, Cebuano among them, has somewhat failed to make an impact. Most of the literature teachers are incompetent to motivate students in literature to appreciate the subject.

There are even Cebuano-speaking Visayans who shun speaking the endangered tongue of Lapulapu as well as that of Padriga, Ranudo, Sotto and Bacalso, perhaps driven by the wrong notion that their mother dialect is inferior to Tagalog and English.

For his part, Edgar S. Godin, associate editor of the Bisaya Magazine, has strongly expressed disappointment in the Filipinization of the l70 dialects in the archipelago on selective manner in addition to the dominance of Tagalog in the established national language.

“Gipangahoyan lang ang Sinugboanong Binisaya ug ubang lumadnong pinulongan ug ang kadaghanang mga pulong gawas sa Tagalog napasagdan nga dili maapil sa pagtudlo sa Filipino,” griped Godin in his weekly column “Magtuon Tag Binisaya”, published on July 2, 2008.

And what are not selected for adoption in the now national language – Pilipino – are gradually gobbled up by Tagalog and English-influenced radio and television programs obtaining in the country today, Godin stressed in his column.

Let it be noted that Pilipino, a precursor of Filipino, was the outcome of the suggestion of Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon to the Philippine National Assembly on October 27, l936 to create a body for the founding of a common national language.

On November 9, 1937, the Institute of National Language was established with the participation of representatives of the leading seven dialects in the country, Tagalog and Cebuano among them. The INL is now known as Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF).

Entertaining fear that "Sinugboanong Binisaya" might be obliterated with the surge of the Pilipino language, Godin urged every concerned Cebuano-speaking region in the country to help save the tongue of their births.

Rallying behind Godin are vernacular writers and enduring contributors to Bisaya Magazine from Bohol, Leyte, Negros, Cebu and Mindanao, especially the literati from Iligan, Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, Surigao, Agusan and Davao as well as those in Manila and abroad. (PNA)

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