Grammar and I

My friends found their way to my blog. Now, there is a teeny-tiny bit of pressure in my so-called unstressed life to check my grammar. I only told 4 people about this blog because I was not comfortable with my writing. English was not a favorite subject in school. Plus, this is a personal blog. I write a lot of “I”. I sometimes sound all-knowing and holier-than-thou.  It is because I am 50% Bisaya and 50% Butuanon which means that my character traits are 50% buotan (nice), 25% hambogera (braggart), 25% hinawayon (critical)*.

Since I am 50% nice, allow me to welcome and thank my friends for taking time to read my blog. MWAH!!

The fear of pulling a ‘James Soriano’

The Internet can be an unforgiving place for writers. Articles can be criticized at lightning speed.  This week, I got a grammar lesson courtesy of James Soriano.  Soriano wrote an article for the Manila Bulletin entitled, “Language, learning, identity, privilege”. Although the article has been removed from the Manila Bulletin website, a blogger was able to obtain a copy (c/o Google’s cache). It can be read here. From what I understood, he wrote that Filipino is not the language of the learned. Thus, it sparked a buzz (well, more of an outrage) in the online community.

In her Facebook note, Kat Nisperos wrote a funny reply to the article in Bekimon. Bekimon is gay speak. I hardly understood a word but I was laughing my ass off. Read the her reply here. Migs Bassig, a blogger, took a shot at editing the original article of James Soriano. This is where I got a grammar lesson or two.  The blog entry has red text color for the corrections plus strikethroughs.  Read the entry here.

Here’s my take on the issue:

The original article did not affect me much. It did not move me. It felt like I was reading a crammed high school essay. Why did Manila Bulletin think it was an article worth publishing? Forgive me for digging into my 25% hinawayon (critical) trait.  Let me redeem myself by using my 50% buotan (nice) trait: The article is James Soriano’s opinion and experience. I felt sorry for him that he never grasped the value of the Filipino language. The positive thing about his article is that it ignited a discussion on education: how one language is preferred over the other in its ability to educate.

More than the grammar lesson, I realize that I might write something offensive to some people in the future. Sometimes my edit button can be stuck at the back of my brain that I fear I might spawn posts that can cause such an outrage. Someone may have the time to correct my bad grammar and all, and post it for the world to read. Unlike James Soriano, Bisaya is my mother tongue. Thus, I have the propensity to scramble for the right English word to use. Although I got quite a sharp eye in identifying bad grammar in street signs and posters, I often miss my own grammatical errors. Worse, I get too self-conscious of  my own abilities that I end up committing errors. In one discussion with a classmate, I told him, “Made up you mind!”. I thought it was funny to say “Make up your mind.”  I was laughing in my head: “Make-up? He is a guy. He will laugh at me.” He shot back:, “It’s Make up your mind“. I got the correction I so deserved. Ha!

I found an alibi!

A week or two ago, “Taga ______ ka kung…” groups have sprouted like mushrooms on Facebook.  Translated: “Taga ______ ka kung…” = ” You’re from _______ if”. In my timeline, I would read entries from friends contributing posts to the “Taga” groups they belong to. I suddenly found myself  being added to ‘Taga-Butuan ka kung‘. I realized how this kind of group could flood my timeline. Even if I am on Facebook most of the time, I cannot keep up with the posts and some entries have become repetitive and annoying.  I turned off my alerts and tried to forget that I was ever part of the group.  Sorry po.

There was one group, though, that I lurk from time to time even if I was not invited to join in. It is the group for those who went to UP Diliman. One entry states, “Taga-UP Diliman kung di mo ma-take ang mga wrong grammar!” (You are from UP-Diliman if you cannot stand grammatical errors.)  The funny replies kept me giggling. While it is true that I can’t keep myself from correcting a poorly-worded sentence, I am not exempted from committing the same grammar mistake. The extent of my English skills is limited to the lessons I learned in subject-verb agreement. From time to time, I mix present and past tenses in a sentence. I sometimes end sentences with a proposition. My saving grace is that the replies to this entry are witty permutations of bad grammar after another.  Currently, there are 7,944 hilarious comments to this thread.

Such hot topic led some creative members into rewriting the lyrics of some frequently-butchered songs in videoke places. Here’s the first part of one of those songs:

“SOMETIMES WHEN WE TATS”
Dan Hell

By: HansHaze Chicano Sebastian

(FIRST I:)
♫You ask me if I wagyu
And I token my replied
I rather hurts you honest lead
Than misfeed you with a light

♫And who am I to dodge you
On what you see or dude?
I’m only jazzed beginning
To seed the real youuuuuu

(CORALS)
♫And sometimes when we Tats
Di’ hanesty’s too mats
And I have to closed my ice and high
Joanna hold you til I died
Til we both make frown and cried
I wanna hole you, till the beer in me subsights

Thus, I declare:

If ever I commit a grammar mistake, my alibi is: “I am just getting in touch with my wicked UP humor. The mistake is intentional!”

Or I can say:

Even Google, the source of everything on the Internet, commits errors!

Proof:

In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.  ~Winston Churchill

*I am prepared to duck under the table anticipating the stones my relatives will pelt at me. Haha!  I am hoping my relatives won’t find their way to this blog or else I would get a mouthful of expletives. Worst-case scenario: I will be disowned. My cousin and I already had an agreement. We will run away together if she gets disowned. She made a speech about the “family from Mars” and feared banishment.  I should talk to her soon to make the agreement mutual. 😀

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