We used to make fun of them – the conyo kids – way back in college. I used to disdain their seemingly exasperating mixed use of the English and Filipino language. There was Taglish, then there was just pure conyo.
Fast forward several years later, it’s such a surprise for me when I catch myself becoming conyo.
You know, it’s like speaking in English only that minsan mag-shift ka bigla to Tagalog. And then you’re like mega shocked at how your brain naturally process such mixed language and then di mo na alam san nangagaling yung mga sinasabi mo coz it’s like really weird and stuff, you know?
See. Writing that bit wasn’t so hard. My brain just naturally composed the words.
I pride myself in having a good command of the English language and a decent command of Filipino. I can write and express myself in both though I do so more easily in English. And yet the beauty of the pure Filipino language is not lost to me too.
This month we are celebrating the National Language Month a.k.a. Buwan ng Wika. It used to be a week – Linggo ng Wika then it expanded to a month. Yet this group is advocating that commemoration of our National Language should not be confided to a week or a month but should rather be a year-long observance. We can have a Pinoy Arts and Culture Month where we commemorate Pinoy pride but observance of Buwan ng Wika should be year-long according to them.
Their argument: dedicating a whole month shows just how much of a colonial mentality we actually have. For we see people who, when the month has ended, ends also their observance of the uniquely Pinoy customs they were forced to observe during Buwan ng Wika i.e. speaking in Filipino, wearing Barong Tagalog and the like.
Reading that Rappler article has reminded me of probably the most viewed and most controversial post I had circa 2011. It’s about James Soriano and his controversial article attacking the Filipino language. Many were irked by his article and so it had to be taken down from the net. But not before people had downloaded or copied it. Essentially, that article explored the connection of speaking Filipino to actually having an identity as a Filipino.
My being a conyo is a testament to how our language is evolving. I won’t be surprised when time comes and our National Language is no longer Filipino but Taglish. I mean it’s really easy and natural for many people these days to speak in a conyo manner. Maybe some are not as flamboyant as others but fact remains that it’s still Taglish.
Language reflects the identity and culture of the people using it. In a society where majority of workers are in the BPO industry, you can’t blame if there’s a rise of so-called conyo kids. They may not necessarily have the wealth of the traditional conyo kids, but the way they talked, you’d think they do if not for the identification badge stating which call center company they’re part of.
Globalization has greatly impacted the way we use our language. Since Filipino has not been deeply ingrained in us before the Americans came and converted us to an English-speaking nation, it can’t be helped that we haven’t naturally developed a love or a flair for the language unlike our Asian counterparts who have developed strong affinity for their language and hence you can see the strength of their culture. Wonderful examples are South Korea and Japan. Just look around you and you will see Pinoys wishing they could speak either Nihonggo or Korean just so they can understand or better relate to their pop idols. The Koreans and Japanese, despite not embracing English as a natural language became so successful in promoting their own language and identity. We can conclude then that loving their language led to a natural love for their own culture.
In the past I have advocated the strengthening of the Filipino language so we can eventually develop a sense of identity. However, today, even CHED mandates that Filipino GE subject need not be part of the required core subjects and can instead be an optional course for just anyone who wish to take it. And knowing how it’s Filipino, I am doubtful how many would want to do that. So how can we encourage a deeper sense of identity through the use of language?
I guess the conyo language identifies who we are. I guess this new breed language defines our very identity as a nation. What I see is a nation of mixed breeds. A nation who in adapting from other cultures have formed a culture distinctively their own. A nation whose culture is so dynamic it is perpetually evolving.
If before I see the conyo language as a negative thing – a hindrance to our growth as a country, today I see it as a language we need to embrace.
And I don’t think that’s even remotely connected to my discovery that I am already a conyo. ;)