Listen to the culture experts (2)

Listen to the culture experts (2)

This week, culture experts and authorities from different time zones gathered for a three-day virtual conference, via Zoom, and tackled during the event hosted by the Benguet State University pressing issues on heritage and language.

Organized by Nakem International, Nakem Conferences Philippines, and the University of Hawaii Ilokano Program, this 16th annual conference suggests robust and pertinent attention to the culture and language in the northern Philippines by this group whose acronym stands for National Alliance for Knowledge, Empowerment, and Meaning.

Big words, but proper – for and by a segment of Philippine society that some in the zone of customs and habits want marginalized if not eventually erased, given their wantonly restricted views.

But let’s listen to the views of lifestyle experts.

Salirick S. Andres of the Technological Institute of the Philippines, raising the frame of the Ilokano Worldview in a Popular Song, says while there have been papers that probed popular Ilokano songs in the past and present, these have been focused on socio-cultural and aesthetic characteristics and the majority of which were analyzed using the critical discourse analysis and other related lenses.

In his paper, he intends “to present the Ilokano worldview as depicted in a popular Ilokano song
using frame semantics analysis as well as the construal, cognitive linguistics particularly the Idealized Cognitive Model in the English language.”

His paper argues that these concepts and principles “are very much existent in the Ilokano language and more so in its songs. It is a known fact that these popular songs are the reflections of the Ilokano worldview interpreted as culture.

“By performing analysis on the linguistic elements which make up the linguistic frames, we are provided with an alternative yet a substantive glimpse of the Ilokano world while proving the viability of the Ilokano language in the cognition, diffusion as well as
production of knowledge and knowledge forms.”

Debra Arellano of the University of Hawaii at Maui, Catherine Taylan of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Chachie Abara of the Queen’s Medical Center, and Paul John Castillo of the University of Hawaii at Leeward, constituted a panel that tackled the challenges of creative writing.

The panel demonstrates that the challenges “go beyond borders, spaces and times.”

According to the group, creative writing in Ilokano in the diaspora, while not in the best of circumstances “because of the vagaries of day-to-day life and the demands of ‘becoming American,’ continues to defy the usual law of economics as a hindrance to creative expression.”

It adds: “Documents of creative writing by Ilokanos even at the early part of the Ilokano history of indentured labor speak of attempts, oftentimes successful, of expressing themselves creatively.

“With the surge of the Ilokanos in 1965 and onwards, there has been a steady production of creative expressions among Ilokanos in Hawaii.”

In the end, the panel argues that creative expression “is not hindered by life’s adversity and that even the indentured person can still imaginatively navigate her or his situation in that difficult everydayness of her/his life.”

Ranec A. Azarias from the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College discussed “Mapping the Unmappable” in the Language Diaspora of Cervantes, an upland town in the province.

Azarias raised the thought that a certain society is shaped by its culture which is a collective product of the members that distinguishes them from other groups.

We give the floor to Azarias: “One of the ways in which culture is reflected is through language. Understanding language in multifarious approaches is imperative. In such light, this study determined the migration patterns, location and language usage of the Ilokano and Kankanaey, and the vitality status of the languages spoken in speech communities in Cervantes…

“This study revealed that eight of the 13 barangays of Cervantes speak Kankanaey while the remaining five speak Ilokano.

“The Kankanaey speaking communities trace their ancestors from Mountain Province and some parts of Benguet. The Ilokano-speaking communities trace their ancestors from the lowland municipalities of Ilocos Sur, the early Chinese in the Philippines, and the Spaniards.

“The Ilokano and Kankanaey languages are also being used in five major areas: education, media and entertainment, socio-cultural activities, health and survival, and government. Hence, these two languages have sustained their vitality status in various areas amidst the passing of time.”

We are learning.


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