Short Essay By Jose Rizal

This is similar to what Father Pedro Chirino wrote in his historical book Relacion de las Islas Filipinas (1604) about Tagalog: “I found in this language four qualities of the four greatest languages of the world – Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Spanish.” Of course, at eight years of age, Rizal had not yet read Chirino.He would read Chirino as part of his historical research for his Annotations (1889) to Morga’s historical book Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609).

Laubach): Ang hindi magmahal sa kanyang salitamahigit sa hayop at malansang isda.

(Whosoever knows not how to love his native tongue Is worse than any beast or evil smelling-fish.) The other points made in elaboration of this message shows a profundity amazing for an eight-year-old child.

On the other, use of the native tongue helps preserve national freedom.

[2011 Author’s Note: And more so for minority than for majority peoples.

He warned strongly about the dangers of a foreign language taking the place of our own.” Constantino notes what is perhaps the greatest danger and in the process shows why use of the native tongue helps preserve national freedom: “By using a foreign language as our basic means of communication, we lay ourselves open, without any defenses, to the incursions of a foreign culture.

Where the language barrier would have served to temper the flow of this cultural invasion, affording us the opportunity of intelligent, deliberate and selective assimilation, the irresistible influx of foreign culture for which our use of the foreign language has opened the way, has swept aside our native traditions, manners and values.” Take the last two lines of the third stanza of “Sa Aking Mga Kabata”: kaya ang marapat pagyamaning kusana tulad sa inang tunay na nagpala.

This is one result of centuries of colonial rule, and we are all its victims.

Rizal considered our need for a foreign language as our general medium of communication, both ridiculous and pathetic.

But by eight years of age, Rizal was already exposed to Latin and Spanish though not yet to English (to which he would be exposed to only after his first departure from the Philippines in 1880).

What is more amazing is that at such an early age he was aware of the ancient or pre-colonial Filipino syllabary.


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