Pag-amlig: Appreciating the Hiligaynon Language


On Hiligaynon: Language, a structured way conveyed by speech or writing, has been interpreted differently over the years. For some, it has been used to gauge the level of intellect. For some, it is a form of art accentuating diversity and culture. While some consider it as a constantly evolving process to adapt to the changing times, others labor to keep the mother tongue alive. All in all, language is the principal method of human communication. And might just be the sum of all of the above.

In this article, we will take the time to appreciate the Hiligaynon language.

Hiligaynon is an Austronesian regional language in the Philippines and belongs to the Bisayan languages, spoken predominantly in Iloilo on Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. Although, the language is also used in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and North Cotabato in Soccsksargen. It is closely related to, and mutually intelligible with other languages spoken on Panay Island: Capizeño, Aklanon, and Kiniray-a. It is given the ISO 639-2 three-letter code hil.

According to a Philippine census conducted in 2000, there were about 9.3 million native speakers of Hiligaynon in and out of the Philippines, and a further five million spoke it as a second language.

Note: This article was selected for inclusion in the Buwan ng Wika Campaign of the educational resource publisher Twinkl.

Here are statements from native speakers on valuing the Hiligaynon language.

“Our Hiligaynon language is well expressed and known through binalaybay and composo. Ang pag dayaw sa Reyna sa mga Fiesta bag-o koronahan mas mangin matahum kon pinaagi sa binalaybay,” states former councilor Joshua Alim, an Ilonggo.

Translation: “Our Hiligaynon language is well expressed and known through binalaybay (poetry) and composo (songs). The proclamation of Fiesta Queens before coronation is made more beautiful through binalaybay (poetry).”

Binalaybay is a Hiligaynon term for poetry, and traditionally written in metered form with terminal rhymes while composo, or komposo, is a narrative meant to be sang – and was used for mass communication during the Spanish era.

“I absolutely love our Hiligaynon language, malambing,” adds Ernest Ian Jagorin, another Ilonggo involved in the local real estate industry in Iloilo. It cannot be denied that most people find the Hiligaynon language as ‘malambing’ or affectionate.

“What I like about the Hiligaynon dialect is the variety. You can go to any town in Western Visayas to find out that the people there speak Hiligaynon in a slightly different way,” shares Emmanuel Barrios, a writer based in Iloilo City. It may be recalled that the Hiligaynon language is mutually intelligible with other languages such as: Capizeño, Aklanon, and Kiniray-a.

A local Facebook group, Hiligaynon Lamang, is a community in Iloilo advocating the practice of Hiligaynon. The group aspires to give life to the mother tongue and to keep the tradition alive. Here, we ask them why the language should be continued by the younger generation.

“Sa kaangay ko nga nagasulat sa pulong nga Hiligaynon, tuman ini ka importante nga ila matun-an bangud kaangay ini sang manggad nga dapat amligan. Kinahanglan nga mangin sampaton sila sa pagsulat, sa pagpahayag kag pagbalay sang mga ideya gamit ang Hiligaynon agud nga mapaambit man nila ini sa ila mga kaliwat ukon sa nagasunod nga henerasyon,” states Bert Ladera, a member of the community.

Translation; “Like me who writes in Hiligaynon, it is important for them to learn because it is the same as having riches that need to be taken care of. They need to be proficient in writing, in speaking, and creating ideas in Hiligaynon for them to be able to share it to the next generation.”

Another member of the community shares that learning Hiligaynon is important to be able to communicate to those who are not knowledgeable in other languages aside from their mother tongue.

“Halimbawa lang, ang akon bata isa ka abogada, kag gusto nya nga mahangpan sang tanan ang laye. Naga pabulig sya sa akon agud masulat sa Hiligaynon kag mahangpan sang tao nga wala hinalung-ong sa pulong nga Ingles,” says Leandro Fructoso, another member of the Hiligaynon Lamang group.

Translation: “Take for example my lawyer daughter who wants to understand all aspects of the law. She asks me for help to write in Hiligaynon for her clients to understand, especially those who do not understand English.”

“Huo. Ang kabangdanan nga Hiligaynon ang aton pulong nga tumandok. Halimbawa ginbun-ag ka sa Iloilo apang indi ikaw makahibalo sang Hiligaynon daw katulad ikaw sang isa ka tinuga nga dumuluong sa aton puok. Kon sa akon lang, ang isa ka tao kinahanglan makahibalo sang sugilanon sang iya duog nga ginbun-agan. Dapat mahibaluan niya kon diin naghalin ang ngalan sang iya banwa, kon sin-o ang mga dalayawon nga mga tinuga sang una, ang mga ambahanon nga ginhimo sang iya mga kasimanwa kalakip na ang mga kinaugalian kag taliambong nga duna gid sa inyo puok. Ang tumandok nga pulong isa gid sa isa ka butang nga dapat matun-an,” says Loch Bucane from the community.

Translation: “Yes [why the younger generation should learn Hiligaynon] because it is our mother tongue. For example, being born in Iloilo but do not know Hiligaynon is the same as being a foreigner in your own land. For me, a person should know his/her mother tongue, prominent figures in the past, literature of his/her fellow men and women, and art as well as culture.”

“Kinahanglan gd sg naulihing tubo ang pagkasampaton sa paggamit sang pulong nga Hiligaynon. Sa karon nga panahon ang mga libro nga ginatun an sa kolehiyo nasulat sa English.Ti paano na lng ang aton pulong daw malipatan. Kita mismo daw nagahangad gd kta sa tao nga mayad mag English waay naton gnahangad ang tao nga my ikasangkol sa paggamit sg Hiligaynon nga pulong,” states Francisco Osera, another member.

Translation: “The younger generation needs to learn how to speak and write in Hiligaynon. Especially these times that most books used in educational institutions are written in English. Our own language might be forgotten. Most of us want to be proficient in the English language but none of us want to be in our own.”

Note: This article was selected for inclusion in the Buwan ng Wika Campaign of the educational resource publisher Twinkl.

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