Sunday, April 10, 2005

Old Books on Philippine Languages Available Online

Hi folks, it's been a while!

I recently completed the winter quarter of college and I did really well! I'm glad, I was seriously pessimistic about my grades. Anyway, I just started the Spring Quarter about two weeks ago and have been busy - it's a good thing I just had a week off from work for Spring Break. I am currently taking a composition class, psychology, and 2nd-year French. I need French and another language as requirements for the linguistics major. I plan on taking three quarters of Korean starting in the fall.

Anyway, last month ding_eab (what happened to his blog?) told me about important historic documents about the Philippines avilable online. They're available from the University of Michigan under the theme The United States and its Territories: 1870-1925.

This collection is extremely impressive. It's something that I have been waiting for. You and I now have instantaneous access to old books about the Philippines. But also, it helps knowing Spanish. Many of the books are from the Spanish colonial era and many books are aimed at Spaniards who wish to know Tagalog, Cebuano, Kapampangan, and whatever else. However, the are also books about the Philippines in English, Dutch, German, and French.

Here is just a small sample of what they have:
And there are plenty more. This site has proved useful in some recent debates with the HispanoFilipino group concerning the revision of the Tagalog alphabet as well as the supposedly insulting origins of the word Pinoy (there aren't).

This site has served a very useful on a very personal (i.e., genealogical) level for me. I managed to locate the police employment record of my Bicolano great-grandfather Lucio de los Santos Buenpacifico. According to my grandmother and her siblings, he was a policeman who held a high position. The records I found pertained to when he was a rookie on the Manila police force and was paid 440 pesos a month back in 1912. There's also a city directory for Manila in which I found the address of the house my great-grandfather lived in before he married my great-grandmother Antonia Javier Dakila. That was great and it's something I shared with my grandmother.

There are also Filipino-American magazines from the 1920's to the 1930's. It's fascinating to read about the manong generation recounting their lives here in the states.

On my current have-to-read-when-I-have-time-list is Shall the Philippines have a common language? An address .. delivered before the Catholic women's league of Manila August 31, 1931. by George Butte.

So check it out and pass it on to your friends! You will not be disappointed.


Tim Harvey said...

Congratulations Chris. Your blog is a very advanced source of information, a far cry from occassional posts at Soc.Culture.Filipino, and a very real resource for all interested in this subject.

BTW, I've read the Beorge Butte address, and the thread of it is very modern sounding. He simply states that the language problem is not so acute and will be best settled by a natural tendancy for languages to become mutually intelligible on their own. He notes the difficulty of imposing a foreign or fabricated langauge and correctly credits the root of language support in the home and basic community.

As an advocate for education, he supported exclusively using local languages although it must be noted that his concern was for widespead iliteracy at the time.

BTW, he cites the Monroe Survey Commission that concluded that the expense of primary education in English was "largely wasted."

There are plenty of historically important references.

Personally, I like his use of phrases "Philippine people" and "my Philippine friends" since they strike me as much more accurate, idelogical neutral and propagandistic than the state promoted term "Filipino."

Thanks Chris for a most excellent blog.

Christopher Sundita said...

Thanks, Tim, for your kind words.


pat said...

Hi Chris,

I'd also like to add my compliments on your blog.

I just spent an hour or so digging through those documents you linked, they are indeed interesting.

Are you familiar with Carl Rubino's work?

He's written Tagalog and dictionaries, among other stuff...

I really don't know much about the languages of the Philippines but I've learned a lot from you, keep up the good work! =)

Angelito Patimo Castro said...

April 10, 2006p PHT

Dear Chris,
I empathize with you as being a "proud Pinoy"! Your blog is very informative and engaging.
Keep up the good work.
As regards orthography, I go for "acoustic accuracy" to go hand in hand with consistent and explicit symbolization or one-to-one correspondence. Maybe, a glottal catch or stop shoud have a one specific graphic symbol rather than being represented ambiguously by "-" or single quote or apostrophe ['] or lack of a graphic symbol between vowel
sounds. In my Itbayaten letters or
writings, I use "|" [vertical bar] to represent a glottal stop or catch; "\" [left slash], a voiced velar fricative. There is no need for upper or lower case.
"Por favor" translate the following for me: "Él que no sabe mirar donde él nunca está viniendo de alcance de la voluntad su destinación".
Thanks in advance.

From Idicbayat,