Monday, June 21, 2004

The obligatory introductory post

This post has been updated on September 24, 2005 December 23, 2006.

Well... I finally went and did it. I've been wanting to something like this for quite a while. Now that summer has arrived, I work fewer hours at my job. This means that I have more time to dedicate to this project of mine.

To introduce myself, my name's Christopher or just "Chris." I'm 26 years old and live in a rural area of Washington State. I've been an ardent enthusiast of languages for as long as I can remember and I have been studying Philippine languages in general for about eight years now.

Here's some more about me in FAQ format. In this case, FAQ stands for "fictitiously asked questions." ;-)

What does "salita" mean?

Salita is a Tagalog word of Sanskrit origin. Its meanings include word, speech, talk/speak and language. I wanted a word that not only reflects the subject of this blog, but also something that is found in a number of Philippine languages. So far, I have found six more; Ilokano (sarita), Kapampangan (salita), Pangasinan (salita), Rinconada Bikol (sarita), Botolan Sambal (halita), and Tina Sambal (salita).

On a side note, I once proposed this name for a group defending Philippine languages. But it was turned down. They went with dila (tongue), which is a word found in virtually all Philippine languages.

Are you Filipino?

Yes, I am. Three of my grandparents are Filipinos and my late maternal grandfather was an American of Cornish, Irish, German, and Swiss descent.

However, I was born in the United States. I did live in the Philippines in Angeles City & Clark Air Base, Pampanga for five years during my childhood.

My ancestors come from various parts of the Philippines and came to settle in the Metro Manila area in the 20th century, particularly in places like Makati. They're from Batangas, Cagayan (Ibanag-speaking part), Camarines Norte (Daet), Camarines Sur (Libmanan), and Quezon Province. My great-great-great grandmother Luisa Orlanda was born in the Philippines, and she reportedly spoke only Spanish.

So, you're a US-born Filipino. Do you speak Tagalog?

Yes, I do speak Tagalog but this was not always the case. Although my parents have been speaking Tagalog among for as long as I can remember, they speak to me in English. As a result, I saw no need to speak Tagalog as a child even if I could understand it. I started strengthening my Tagalog during my teenage years and I speak it rather well with occasional mistakes. Tagalog is part of my everyday life.

What other languages do you speak?

I started learning Spanish 11 years ago and French 8 years ago. I speak the two rather well and am fairly confident with them. I have also studied many other languages. To keep it short, I have devoted a lot of attention to Catalan, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Italian, Bulgarian, and German. Not to mention Philippine languages like Bikol, Kapampangan, Cebuano, Ilokano, etc.

Are you a linguist?

I'm not a linguist in the professional sense. That is, I don't have a university degree in linguistics (though that'll change in a few years). My knowledge of linguistics over the years is self-taught. I'm a linguist in the sense that I study languages and know a thing or two about'em (or at least I'd like to think so!).

What's your job?

I am currently a teacher assistant at a private elementary school. One of my jobs is teaching Spanish.

What else do you do?

I go to school full-time at Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington. I am taking math, physics, and history. I have just recently returned to school on January 3, 2005.

That free time I spoke of? It's gone! ;-)


I graduated with my Associate in Arts & Sciences Degree on June 16, 2006. I am going to be studying in the University of Washington in Seattle in Fall 2007.

Have you written anything about Philippine languages?

I wrote a book called In Bahasa Sug: An Introduction to Tausug. My friend & linguist Jason Lobel is in the Philippines right now having it published and doing research.

My book is now available at http://members.aol.com/linggwistik

I've also written an essay about languages and dialects.

I have also helped out in editing Dr. Carl Rubino's Tagalog Dictionary.

What is your pet peeve?

Phrases such as "the Cebuano dialect."

Life must be rough living out in the sticks. Where would you rather be right now?

Either Barcelona, Spain or Montréal, Québec.

Gawd, you're such a language nerd. What else do you like to do?

Genealogy.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for more posts. I'm still getting used to this Blogger site.

--Chris

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, you started this in June 04 and no comments before this? Hello from a fellow 'language nerd' though you're way more dedicated than I am. Maybe if I had more free time...
I found your page after searching for information on Bicol (where my fiance lives). I hope to learn more about her language but resources are scarce outside the Philippines...
I've read your blog with great interest, thanks for sharing!

Bert
(BTW: currently active-duty Air Force, my best friend lived at Clark until Pinatubo)

Christopher Sundita said...

Thanks for writing, Bert. I've had comments since June. :-)

My friend & Ph.D. candidated for linguistics Jason Lobel has written a handful of books for Bikol. Check out his website at http://home.san.rr.com/bikol

Anonymous said...

I do agree with anonymous that Chabacano should be made the medium of communication in the Philippines. Look at Malaysia and Indonesia, they are very succesful in using Bahasa (pidgin Malay) as a unifying national language in their respective countries.

It is also amazing to know that the Javanese, who make up 50% of the Indonesian population or 100 million or so made an outstanding unifying gesture for national integration by allowing Bahasa instead of imposing their Javanese language on the whole country.

It appears that in the Philippines the Tagalogs still clamor to impose their language and identity on the whole archipelago even when Cebuano is spoken by most people in the Philippines than Tagalog. The Tagalogs are not the only Filipinos.

In our experience in Zamboanga with migrants who come from Luzon and the Visayas and who are serious in learning to speak Chabacano verbally and with out any written aids, it only takes them an average of six months to be fluent in Chabacano because most hispanized Filipino languages like Tagalog, Ilocano, Cebuano etc. already have more than 30% Spanish and Filipinismo (Spanish words with Filipino connotation) words in their vocabulary. Inspite of not having schools in Zamboanga that teach written Chabacano, migrants from other parts of the archipelago, if they are interested, can learn Chabacano rapidly.

And whether you choose Caviteño or Zamboangueño Chabacano doesn't really matter, both variants are pretty much the same because it was the Caviteño population in Zamboanga like my ancestors who propagated the Chavacano tongue. In my humble estimate, 50% of Malay words in Zamboangueño Chabacano are Tagalog together with Ilongo and Cebuano words. We have Tagalog words such as maribalan (manibalang in Tagalog) that are unbeknownst to Tagalog speakers in Manila who come from other provinces where Tagalog is not their first language.

For the majority of Filipinos who are compelled to learn Tagalog in school, learning it can be hectic and most of us find it easier to learn English than Tagalog. Dread will be day when schools use Tagalog as the sole medium of instruction, instead of learning the subject matter we will spend twice the effort learning Tagalog.

In retrospect, there are two issues here, one is the need of the Philippines to have a more accessible medium of communication for the masses and the other is political - the unwillingness of the Tagalogs to abandon their imposition of language and identity on the country. Hect, even in Spain the Castilians have lost their way and languages like Basques and Catalan are now being taught in their respective areas. But in the Philippines, the Tagalogs appear to be emulating the 15th century Castilians. What a real "colonial mentality" we have here.

And sure other languages like Ilocano, Cebuano, Pangasinan, and all other long ignored native languages, can be accomodated and taught in their respective areas and lo and behold Chabacano would not threaten their existence.

AnP said...

Hi. Can you email me at pinayexpat@gmail.com? I have a very important (at least, for me) question.

rpsoberano said...

I am happy that you also are interested in my dissertation on the Dialects of Marinduque Tagalog. I am now writing grammar books on Pilipino for elementary pupils.
Rosa P. Soberano

Christopher Sundita said...

Dr. Soberano, I am honored that you left a comment! Thanks for writing.

I am still looking for a bound copy of your dissertation. All I have our photocopies, and that is pretty cumbersome to manage. If you know where I can get one, please let me know.

--Chris

rpsoberano said...

They may still have copies at Australian National University Research School of Pacific Studies
They published the dissertation in 1980.

Grace said...

Hi Chris! I'm a graduating student at the Univ. of the Philippines, majoring in Linguistics, and I'm currently doing a study about Ibanag Syntax (particularly on Ibanag Simple Sentences). Just wondrin' if you know some links/studies about Ibanag..

Christopher Sundita said...

I unfortunately do not have any links. However, I strongly suggest getting in contact with Dr. Carl Rubino of Maryland. I think he has some information on Ibanag. His website is at http://iloko.tripod.com

Incidentally, I also have 160 sentences that I had a native Ibanag speaker translate for me. If you would like to receive a copy, let me know what your e-mail address is and I'll send it to you.

I'd also love to see a copy of whatever you have done with Ibanag. I'm part Ibanag myself and have been curious about the language.

--Chris

Anonymous said...

Chris,

I received your book and have read it from cover to cover twice already! It's very instructional as I'm a beginner in In Bihasa Sug. I tried to order the Tausug-English Dictionary from SIL but it is out of print. Can you find me a copy?

Thanks.
R. Byron Umipeg
Kapolei, Hawaii

lidya said...

reading your article about dialect and some comments about the existance of tagalog in Philippines has made me think twice to discuss the diffrences of Indonesian and tagalog for my foundation of language class. Before I came to Philippines, I thought tagalog was used as a national language but then I found out that English is the one that is used as the instructional language and for daily life. I was surprised to know that the president Aroyo, herself who said that English has to be used as an instructional language and in other fields such as law, economics etc. Moreover, I found that there are many Philippinos who cannot speak tagalog but they are good at English and other language from some provinces in Phillipines. In other words, I cannot compare Indonesian and tagalog since their position as a national language is quite different. Maybe Phillipines needs more people like you to keep the languages in Phillipines exist and tagalog can find its position in Phillipines :)

lidya said...

reading your article about dialect and some comments about the existance of tagalog in Philippines has made me think twice to discuss the diffrences of Indonesian and tagalog for my foundation of language class. Before I came to Philippines, I thought tagalog was used as a national language but then I found out that English is the one that is used as the instructional language and for daily life. I was surprised to know that the president Aroyo, herself who said that English has to be used as an instructional language and in other fields such as law, economics etc. Moreover, I found that there are many Philippinos who cannot speak tagalog but they are good at English and other language from some provinces in Phillipines. In other words, I cannot compare Indonesian and tagalog since their position as a national language is quite different. Maybe Phillipines needs more people like you to keep the languages in Phillipines exist and tagalog can find its position in Phillipines :)

lidya said...

reading your article about dialect and some comments about the existance of tagalog in Philippines has made me think twice to discuss the diffrences of Indonesian and tagalog for my foundation of language class. Before I came to Philippines, I thought tagalog was used as a national language but then I found out that English is the one that is used as the instructional language and for daily life. I was surprised to know that the president Aroyo, herself who said that English has to be used as an instructional language and in other fields such as law, economics etc. Moreover, I found that there are many Philippinos who cannot speak tagalog but they are good at English and other language from some provinces in Phillipines. In other words, I cannot compare Indonesian and tagalog since their position as a national language is quite different. Maybe Phillipines needs more people like you to keep the languages in Phillipines exist and tagalog can find its position in Phillipines :)

Chipsnapper said...

Chris,
Hi! What an interesting find. I was looking for resources in Tausug and was planning to learn more about the dialect, when I came across your blog. Very interesting discussions. I am fluent in Waray and Tagalog because of my upbringing. I would like to get more resources in Tausug if you know of any that would help. I have seen some sites with MP3 recordings of Tausug. Looking forward to visiting your site often. signed -- The armchair linguist - Chipsnapper

Christopher Sundita said...

chipsnapper:

Welcome!

Dr. Carl Rubino, the one who authored an Ilokano dictionary, wrote a Tausug book this year which is more comprehensive than mine. It comes with CDs that have the dialogs in Tausug. You may contact him for more info at http://iloko.tripod.com I've been meaning to review his book for the blog, but I haven't had the time.

--Chris

agnesdv said...

Hi, just in case any of your readers need some materials on the Waray language, I've started an online museum of sorts with lots of Waray poems (siday) and copies of out-of-print Waray books. It's http://waraywaray.blogspot.com. There's enough material there to dissect the language. Although, be warned, most of the words used are now archaic and can't be understood in everyday conversations.

I like what you're doing..

sarah said...

Wow, cool blog! I can't believe I haven't visited this blog before. Hehe. I've always been interested in languages, and my mom teaches Filipino language and culture to missionaries. So...yeah. So cool of you to write about the Filipino language even if you've been in the States most of your life. Some Filipinos live HERE and claim that they can't learn the Language. Haaaay...

Anyway, would you like to join the PinoyBlogosphere? We'd love to have you! ^_^ We're going to hold a group writing project/contest for the Buwan ng Wika this August. I kind of thought you'd be a cool judge, seeing that you're a blogger, as well as a linguist.

Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts and learnings about our Language! ^_^

Cebuanomano@aol.com said...

Hi Christopher Sundita,

I had my first assignment to clarkfield (Clark Air Base)in the early 70's. I met a young Pinay and it was love at first touch, Her mom exclaimed, "Hey no touching touching!" I dated her daughter Cecilia and departed Clark..... to make a long story a lot shorter, I do not even remember how I ended up here at your web hook up but it is a good place to keep in touch I will call this my initial post and try my best to add a post each day that passes. You can keep in touch with me here or reach me at my email that I check daily.My email is: trustinginjesus@verizon.net Great minds think alike, be alert!

Renz said...

Hello Chris!
I accendentally discovered your blog while I was searching for Zamboanga in youtube last 2007 in the last weks of november I guess. You see I loved anything about Spanish Philippines to be exact Zamboang City.And voila! it was your video about the TVE report on Chavacano that I found. I had great time reading the subtitles and watching it over and over again. It was great that you found it! You really have great interest in Linguistics do you? I hope to keep in touch with you. I planned to join your circulo. Its great to be part of it.

You see, When I was 14 years old when my late grandmother taught me some few basic Spanish but she died soon afterwards a few months in August 22, 2002, so my supposed rendezvous with the Spanish language was cut short. If only she was alive until now, I just can't help but wonder, maybe I'm beginning to be fluent at it perhaps. Anyway, I continued learning the langauge through books that I borrowed from our school library and self-taught.

But I tell you it was difficult to learn a language by yourself and most of the people around you prefer and do speak English, Cebuano and Tagalog. So, I did'nt get to learn it by heart though I can understand some but not really that much. When I hear Spanish speakers I bleed to death, really cause its too fast I can't catch it.

I hope you can be of help to re-awaken my interest in this LAnguage! Please I hope you send a reply.email me at grks_07@yahoo.com

I've got so much questions to ak that I hope you'd answer. Thanks again. Hope to hear from yousoon... hasta la vista!

lilcharm said...

hi cris,
im elena a graduate student of Philippine Normal University, Im taking up linguistics as my specialization. I happened to see your salita blog and im happy to learn that though you`re not a linguist you have that love of exploring the Filipino languages. Hope to gain more insights with you as a pursue my course. jethcodz@yahoo.com my email add, just in case you have time to talk about linguistics and the like.

tom said...

Chris, I am looking to have a small pargraph translated from tagalog to english. Can you recommend something? Thanks Tom
cherryred@juno.com

felmar fiel,svd said...

hi chris! i read your article in wkipedia and i am interested if my surname FIEL appeared in the Claveria List of Surnames published on mid-19th century. Could you check it for me? Pleasssssssseeee....

This will be a big help for me. My email address is fielsvd@yahoo.com

i also have a blog for our clan: fielclan.blogspot.com

Thank you Chris! God bless you...

Linda said...

Thanks for responding to me Chris. My email address is walton.linda@gmail.com. I would love to get a copy of Evelyn Calizo's paper, if that's okay.

Agent K-00903 said...

by chance i was just having this 'i miss zamboanga' episodes (i was forced to move into manila for work practicality reasons some 3 years ago) and voila, i happened to check a posted video of yours in one of these travel blogs dedicated to my hometown zamboanga city.

i must say i am truly impressed and happy someone like you is out there. taking note from your video, notwithstanding the fact that you are not a zamboangueno, your passion towards our language is heart warming. anyhow, i would like to know more about your book on tausug language. right here and now, i intend to spread the word that this kind of book do exist to my circle of friends (i have many tausug friends who would really be ecstatic of your accomplishment!).

also, thank you so much for featuring in your blog the existence of chavacano wikipedia, this is another novelty find for me. i'm sure not every chavacano knows of this (sadly some of my friends are really not aware of the recent developments in our language). i'm currently posting it as my shout-out in my IM, hehe!

i'd really like to grab a copy of your book (and perhaps you can also recommend me some other great finds too). im hoping you can post me tru my email - prophet.buz(@)gmail.com especially on where i can buy your book.

on a personal note, i'd also want to know how you informally taught yourself those foreign languages that you now fluently speak. i myself am into foreign languages. i can speak almost fluent russian and french. i've tried learning spanish but somehow i have difficulty assimilating it as it often clashes with my chavacano roots (no pun intended). strangely though, i find little comfort in learning portuguese instead. thus, if you'd be so kind, i was hoping you can impart some tips on faster foreign language learning.

muchas gracias senor for your effort. god bless you and may your passion for all languages grow many fold

-- Kiete

Rina said...

Magandang araw!
You have a nice blog. I was amazed that you are living in the USA and still your blog is with the word SALITA.
Well, I accidentally saw your blog when I am looking for list of words translated to different dialects here in the Philippines and I cannot find some. Can you help me?
Our Filipino subject teacher asked us to do the translation of words.

Can you email me at lingayo_rina@yahoo.com?

Thank you:)

Mellec Computer Center said...

Dr. Soberano taga saan po kayo sa Marinduque

ito po yong blog ko:

http://discovermogpog.blogspot.com

alam nyo po may lumabas ng dictionary ng mga taga Marinduque parang atty. po yong may hawak ng kopya. Napakaganda preserve din ang mga salitang marinduque. halimbawa. papaya sa Marinduque kapaya ito. ang kalabasa ay kalubasa etc.

good cheap earbuds said...

I have a good buddy in the Philippines, and he taught me the word "Mabuhay", but that's about all I know--LOL!

josé miguel said...

Chabacano seems fair enough to be our national language if only to preserve our different dialects in the provinces.

Anonymous said...

Hi ChriS,
Great Blog! I am particularly interested in your ibanag content. Do you have anymore info on it? Do you know of any dictionaries or do you have more phrases of ibanag?

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