In the Philippines, a country with 7,107 islands, we have more or less 130 languages. Only thirteen are well known. I happened to speak Cebuano, my dialect. It was widely spoken to our village and I grew with it. If there were a speaker of another dialect, I doubt if he is a commoner. He’s either having a vacation or just happens to pass by. Generally, I don’t need a dictionary to learn a word since the language had already worn out my ears but, now, I think I need one.
Sitting in a pew, last seat last row, I carefully listened to the priest’s sermon. It was about looking what we have done these past few days; I understood that. Then, it was now having a devotion to God; still, I understood that. After a while, the priest started using foreign words. I was utterly confused and what was more confusing was nobody felt the same way as I did.
After the mass, I asked my father what they were. I learned the meaning but the words were not new. Then, I realized I have been using some of them from the past years. How could I ever forget? I’m supposed to remember because it was my dialect. It was like forgetting the words of my favourite song. I can’t believe it.
I also noticed that I have been struggling in holding a discussion because I kept getting tongue tied. I had also trouble finding words to express my thoughts. In result, I frequent on code switching to save the conversation from silence.
Being expose to the English language may well be the reason. Whenever I entered to a forum site it was always English restricted. All of the books I have read were in English, which was also used whenever our teachers discourse with us. I guess I shouldn’t be surprise to be obsessed in English, that I prefer it besides my dialect. After all that was our education system was aiming: To be fluent in English, so we can be globally competitive.
I’m not the only one having this dilemma. My classmates are slowly affected by it, though they rarely notice. In academic writing and scholarship essays, yes it is really helpful. It was also helpful in communicating to other people outside the country. But learning too much from this language had me detached to my dialect. Slowly, I had been isolated to other local conversation. As far as socialization is involved, this was not good.