Mindy's Musings: Pambansang Wiki

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Language is more than just a tool for communication. The words and phrases are not just letters strung together, but expressions of ideas exclusive to a group of people. Language embodies their way of thinking, their culture, their little intricacies. For instance, how many words do we Filipinos have that refer to rice? Our language has a word for every stage of its harvest, for the ways it is cooked, and for its different varieties.

Thus, the importance of celebrating one's tongue cannot be emphasized enough. Language is the key to preserving a people's culture. We then have to use it in expressing our ideas, in defining experiences, in writing history. That is why I am so proud of one particular website which advocates this idea: WikiFilipino.

WikiFilipino and the Online People Power

WikiFilipino is the Filipino language arm of the online collaborative encyclopedia project WikiPilipinas. It was officially launched last January 31, 2008, and was initially directed by Palanca award-winning writer Roberto T. Añonuevo. The website's objective is to be a wide-ranging, relevant and profound repository of knowledge that Filipinos can use -- and contribute to -- wherever they may be.

With content and discussion currently ranging from “barangay” to “palayok” to “The Eraserheads,” WikiFilipino aims to preserve Filipino ideas and culture – from the academic to the mundane – in a language that every Filipino understands. “Gusto ng WikiFilipino na maghikayat sa mga Filipino na magpayaman at magmahal ng kanilang wika, at huwag itong talikuran. Mahalagang manatiling buhay ang wikang Filipino (WikiFilipino wants to encourage Filipinos to enrich and love their language, and not to turn their backs on it. It is important to let the Filipino tongue stay alive),” according to current site editor and renowned screenwriter Sally Eugenio. Apart from preserving knowledge, WikiFilipino also perpetuates Filipino by encouraging people to use it in writing.

Like WikiPilipinas, WikiFilipino is in the spirit of People Power Online. “Nakasalig ang WikiFilipino sa konseptong 'bayanihan ng sari-saring tao at institusyon na bagaman iba't iba ang paniniwala at ang uring pinagmulan' ay pinagbubuklod ng adhikaing lumikha ng Aklasang Bayan sa Himpapawid para sa kinabukasan ng Filipino saan mang panig sila naroroon sa pamamagitan ng pagsusulat (WikiFilipino is based on the concept of teamwork between different people and institutions who, despite differences in beliefs and origins, are drawn together by the goal of creating People Power Online for the benefit of future Filipinos, wherever they may be, by writing),” Añonuevo said.

I Will English You!

WikiFilipino will again be introduced to students this coming Friday, November 21, 2008, during a one-day symposium entitled “FILIPINOW: Do Not English Me, I Will English You!” The discussion will explore the importance of having a national language and characterizing the Filipino through his own tongue.

Wait, before you yawn, you must know that the discussions will not just focus on the kundiman and Balagtas, but will also cover the sensational topics of jologs, coños, and gayspeak. The topnotch speakers invited include Prof. Vim Nadera of the University of the Philippines, romance novelist Gilda Olvidado, Prof. Ferdinand Lopez of the University of Santo Tomas, and singer, writer and poet (and personal favorite) Lourd de Veyra.

The symposium is presented by Vibal Foundation and the University of Santo Tomas Student Affairs. The event will be held at the UST Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy Building. Registration starts at 8:00 AM. See you!


Do you want more of Mindy's Musings? Then check her blog at www.wikipilipinas.org. You can also e-mail your queries, suggestions, and comments to mindy@wikipilipinas.org.

See Mindy's column archive