A Proposed Standardization of Iloco Orthography
By Raymundo P. Addun
By the title of this essay , one begs the question “ Is it not already standardized?. By the way I spelled ¨Iloco” , the answer, I think, is “It depends…”. If we accept that Bannawag as it written today is the standard, then I rest my case. Orthographic standardization is pretty easy to do. It can be done and imposed with one or two editors sitting in the boardroom.
The more important question however is that whether such a manner of standardization will stand the test of time. When magazines change the editors, will the orthography also change? If we will have a next Bannawag editor whose literary repertoire includes not only the modern Bannawag novels and stories but also the rich Ilocano literature during the Spanish and American periods, I believe we have a problem. Indeed, how should this editor spell the Ilocano word for “big”, dakkel, dackel, or dacquel?
You might also argue or suggest that the editor should just follow what was already begun by the other editors before him. But what if he is uncomfortable with it? Should he write Familia, Pamilya, or Pamilia? You might also retort that he/she should follow what is accepted by the general readership. The problem is that we don’t know exactly what is generally accepted by the readers. Honestly, we do not know the orthographic preference of the readers . What we call general acceptance is in fact nothing more than what editors and writers have imposed upon them to accept.
I believe that, for standardization to be widely accepted and lasting, it should be intelligent. By intelligent I mean that it must take into consideration the body of its past literary tradition and etymology. Intellectualization must be the guiding post of Ilocano orthography.
1. F instead of P.
I believed that P instead of F is not intelligent when the original (Spanish) word is F. P in adopted for Pilipinas is wrong. Filipinas is right. Pernandez is wrong, Fernandez is right. Congratualtions to Gumil Filipinas. Pamilya or Pamilia are not intelligent. Familia is.
2. X instead of Ks
In the same manner, x should be retained instead of ks.
Examples: Examen not Eksamen, exacto not eksakto.
3. The Spanish LL is changed to Li when it is followed by a, o or u.
Example: Caballo (Spanish) to Cabalio (Ilocano); llave to liave.
But ll to ly when it is followed by e or i.
Detalle to Detalye
4. As part of intellectualization, the v in Spanish should also be retained.
Universidad, not Unibersidad; Versificasion (from versificacion), not bersipikasion.
5. C instead of k when 1) followed by a, o, u. 2) when it is an hard “c” sound at the end of a word. 3) when the word is Spanish in origin , ex. Curtina not Kurtina
Anacco instead of anakko. Cannaway, not Kannaway.
6. The Ch in Spanish should be retained. Chacha, chicharon, Champorado,
7. S intead of C in Spanish rooted words when it is followed by e or i.
Administracion (Spanish) to Administrasion (Iluko)
Nacion to Nasion.
Farmacia to Farmasia.
8. K instead of qu
Ken, ket, dackel, Kinunana.
9. the ñ is standardized to ni except in proper names.
cabaña to cabania.
10. The z in Spanish should be retained….
terraza is spelled as it is; fuerza too.
…except in Spanish words ending in zacion which is changed to sasion in Iluco.
Organizacion (Spanish) Organisasion (Iluco).
11. English words are retained broadcaster, waiting shed, tricycle.
12. the English W is adopted. Waywaya, not oayoaya. Weste, not Oeste.
13. the j in original Spanish should be retained
trabajo, jefe, juez, juzgado
14. when the original Spanish is Ge or Gi, change to H
from General to Heneral, from genio to henio, from generacion to henerasion.
The last question that has to be resolved is the case when the writer is not versed with the original Spanish word. The answer is of course to look it up in a dictionary. The Tagalog dictionary will suffice since most Spanish-rooted words are also used in Tagalog. Almost always, the dictionary also provides the original Spanish word. This seems to be cumbersome. However, the writer or editor will not be doing it forever. Theoretically, the editor only does it once for every case of a problematic word. Once published, readers and writers will be adopting it pretty soon afterwards. It is a small price to pay for intellectualization .
In the final analysis, this proposed orthographic standard is actually an appeal to adopt what our parents and forefathers already used in the past, with a few additional, or should I say logical, changes. The rich heritage of Ilocano literature used the Hispanic orthography and is in fact rooted in Hispanic traditions. It would be a perpetual source of pride when the present and coming generations will realize our similarily of orthography with the older Ilocano literature during the Spanish era and early American Period. It is in deference to this rich heritage that we should adopt the above mentioned standards. Of course it entails tail but when introduce gradually, the shift would be nothing but smooth, the changes not being too major.
Yet another reason why we should adopt this orthography is to link Iloco directly to the the developments in western thought through the use of English and Spanish terms that have no exact equivalent in Ilocano. This is specially true in the case of Western scientific thought.
There have been arguments to the effect that the adoption of too many foreign words will make Ilocano a creolle language. This argument does not hold water. First of all, Ilocano will always be Ilocano for as long as it preserves its present grammatical structure, so long as it does not adopt the Spanish and English structure. Furthermore, majority of the words in an Ilocano sentence will still be Ilocano and the assumption of too many foreign words is overly hypothetical.
We should not succumb to the wishes of so called experts in another regional language who imposed upon us lasting monuments of ignorance. It is hoped that those who have already succumbed will redeem themselves.