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UP Diliman professor calls for more research, studies on Bicol language

LECTURER’S REACTORS. UP Diliman Prof. Jesus Frederico Hernandez (leftmost) responds to questions by his reactors Ramon O. Olaño of Bikol Wikipedia, Dr. Jesus Cyril M. Conde, Chairperson of the Dept. of Literature and Linguistic Studies in the Ateneo de Naga University (AdNU), and Fr. Wilmer S. Tria, AdNU Press director.

NAGA CITY---”We need to build a critical bibliography of Bicol languages” thus urged Jesus Frederico C. Hernandez, Associate Professor of Dept. of Linguistics in the University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman.

Hernandez last Sept. 6 gave a lecture on “The Bikol Languages: Notes on Scholarship, Variations, and Descent” during the 3rd Annual Fr. James J. O’Brien, SJ, Memorial Lecture Series held at Richie Fernando Hall, Ateneo de Naga University.

The lecture was sponsored by Ateneo de Naga High School Batch 1966, as part of their O’Bikoliana, a Golden Jubilee Legacy Project, in commemoration of Fr. O’Brien, a Jesuit priest who pioneered the Bicol linguistic and cultural studies in the university.

Hernandez, who is also a Bicolano, urges that the academe must give attention and take action on researches concerning Bicol linguistics.

He said that detailed dialectological studies in Bicol will surface transition areas and contact sites that will track the roots of various Bikol languages and dialects such as those spoken by indigenous Agta natives that are now considered by scholars to be nearly extinct and threatened.

“There is a lot of unknown about genetic relationships of Bicol languages and descent of these languages,” he said.

To discover every hidden history and standardization of Bicol languages, he suggested that trainings in scientific study of language must be encouraged.

The construction of Bicol language studies was built thru the Spanish language, hence, the grammatical description of Bicol languages must be based on its linguistic categories, he said.

He added that researches on phylogenetics must be pursued as Bicol languages are categorized as one of the Austronesian languages.

Today, some of languages in the region are threatened due to Tagalog-centric mentality that leads Bicolanos to speak in Tagalog instead of their own vernacular, it was observed.

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