Pangasinan as language on brink of extinction
LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—With fewer residents using it in their conversations at home, the Pangasinan language is now on the brink of extinction, linguists said here.
A Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) survey from 2000 to 2010 ranked Pangasinan as the 43rd language spoken at home in the country, said Mary Ann Macaranas, director of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino’s (KWF) Sentro ng Wika at Kultura para sa Pangasinan.
Macaranas attended on Thursday the inauguration of the 11th Bantayog-Wika, a monument honoring the Pangasinan language as one of the country’s major languages. The language is spoken in central Pangasinan towns and in neighboring Tarlac province.
But according to the PSA survey, Filipino and English were the dominant languages used in Pangasinan homes.
Only the towns of Malasiqui, Binmaley and Mangaldan and San Carlos City have residents who are “solid” Pangasinan speakers, or those who converse using that principal language, Macaranas said, citing a study she conducted.
KWF Commissioner Purificacion Delima said the “weakening of language” was an indication that parents were unable to transfer it properly to their children.
When the older generation disappears, the younger generation who may be using a different language takes over, erasing “the intergenerational transmission of linguistic and cultural knowledge,” she said.
“So for the younger generation, the language [of their parents] is already dead,” said Delima.
Of the country’s 130 languages, 35, including Pangasinan, are endangered, she said. Five languages have been considered dead because these are no longer being used.
Delima challenged local officials and educators to lead in local language preservation, especially with the implementation of mother tongue-based multilingual education.
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