Social Science Diliman, Vol 7, No 1 (2011)

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Ang Usaping Pang-Wika sa Bagong Yugto ng Pantayong Pananaw: Ang Panloob na Hamon ng Pluralismo

S. Lily Mendoza

Abstract


This essay engages the language debates in the Philippines as they play out within the politics of an intellectual movement in the Philippine academy called Pantayong Pananaw. Roughly translated as a “for-us, of-us, and by-us perspective,” the movement’s goal is to create the conditions for the possibility of a closed circuit of communication (the context of “us speaking among ourselves” vs. “us speaking with others”) among Filipinos deemed crucial for the democratic constitution of a national polity of speakers able to share a vision of the common good. Key to the success of this national(izing) project is the advocacy of a common medium of communication: in this case, F/Pilipino/Tagalog. In this study, I push back on Pantayong Pananaw in its singular focus on national unity and raise issue with its seeming lack of vision—if not in theory, in practice—for the role that the plural languages and cultures in the country might play in its envisioned “national community.” Cast as the interlocutor in this regard is a growing ethnonationalist movement among a number of regional ethnolinguistic communities who fear marginalization of their respective cultures, languages, and identities through what they call the oppresssive hegemony of one region (Manila) and its ultimately assimilationist policy. How to make sense of the opposing imperatives of a nationalizing agenda, on the one hand, and of ethnonationalist survival and thriving, on the other, is the problematic being wrestled here. The stakes are spelled out and the larger political context mapped out, but in the end, both nationalist and ethnonationalist projects are challenged to take seriously not only the promise, but also the limits, of their respective visions.

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