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It was written in 1869, when Rizal was only eight years old.Unlike most of Rizal’s poems which were originally written in Spanish, this one was originally written in Tagalog.(To make our language richer ought to be our wish The same as any mother loves to feed her young.) Rizal showed here a very positive attitude about the development of the native tongue.
Pagka’t ang salita’y isang kahatulan sa bayan, sa nayo’t mga kaharian,st ang isang tao’y katulad, kabagayng alin mang likha noong kalayaan.
(Whenever people of a country truly love The language which by heaven they were taught to use, That country also surely liberty possessesas does the bird which soars to freer space above.) For language is the final judge and referee Upon the people in the land where it holds sway; In truth our human race resembles in this way The other living beings born in liberty.) Rizal points out the relationship between love of the native tongue and love of freedom, and the role played by language for a people.
birth anniversary of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal — a major, major celebration there.
The author, Sol Santos, once taught the Rizal course in college while a law student at the University of Nueva Caceres (UNC) in Naga City in the early 1980s.
[2011 Author’s Note: The mention of “ina” (“mother”) supports the current educational advocacy for Mother-Tongue Based Instruction or Multilingual Education.
And “mother tongue” or “native tongue” is not necessarily the national language, the currently mainly Tagalog-based Filipino, but it could be any of the regional languages like Bikol.] This brings us to the fourth and fifth stanza of “Sa Aking Mga Kabata”: Ang wikang tagalog tulad din sa latin,sa ingles, kastila at salitang anghel,sa pagka ang Poong maalam tuminginang siyang nag-gawad, nagbigay sa atin.Language is the thought of the people.” It is precisely the last point that is Simoun’s basis for saving that “Spanish will never be the general language of the country, the people will never talk it, because the conceptions of their nrains and the feelings of their hearts cannot be expressed in that language – each people has its own tongue, as it has its own way of thinking.” The same may be said of English which is presently one of the official languages and is the principal medium of instruction.In “Our Task: To Make Rizal Obsolete” (in his book Filipinos in the Philippines), Renato Constantino notes: “One of the tragedies of our country today is that, though formally independent, our people can understand each other (though imperfectly at that) only by means of a language not their own.These are the same points Rizal makes and develops in later and much more nature writings.Take the first and second stanzas of the poem: Kapag ang baya’y sadyang umiibigsa kanyang salitang kaloob ng langit,sanlang kalayaan nasa ring masapitkatulad ng ibong nasa himpapawid.This was but apt as its message is love of the native tongue.This message is clearest in the oft-quoted first two lines of the third stanza (English translation by Frank C.At present, among the internationally recognized human rights of minorities are the right to preserve and develop their own culture, religion, and language.This is of particular relevance to the Mindanao peace process.] As Rizal’s character Simoun put it in El Filibusterismo (1891): ”…while a people preserves its language, it preserves the mark of its liberty, as a man preserves his independence while he holds sway to his own way of thinking.The last two lines of the fifth stanza could very well be an allusion of the fact that “the friars had burned and destroyed the artifacts of pre-colonial culture as the handiwork of the devil” (to use a formulation from Amado Guerrero’s Philippine Society and Revolution).Although it is doubtful that, at eight years of age, Rizal knew about this.