Error-ridden Ilokano textbook draws fire from Ilokano writers

BATAC CITY, Ilocos Norte–The country’s Ilokano writers decried the publication of a book that is replete with errors in Ilokano grammar, ignores the language orthography and other usage, and is now being sold to elementary teachers in Ilocos Norte as material for the MTB-MLE program of the Department of Education for Grades 1, 2, and 3.

Published by Danabon Enterprises in Barangay Buttong in Laoag City, the book was written by a certain Jhony C. Azada of Nueva Era National High School and edited by Maria S. Eliza, a teacher who, they say, is also ignorant of Ilokano syntax and grammar. The book is currently being sold in National Book Stores.

Joel B, Manuel, president of the Ilokano Writers’ Association in the province and a novelist of Bannawag, the weekly Ilokano magazine, said he first saw the manuscript of the book when Ilocos Norte Schools Division Superintendent Araceli Pastor asked him to comment on its content prior to its publication.

But Manuel, who is also a teacher and public school principal, claimed he didn’t know that copies were being printed even before he saw the manuscript. He said he rejected the contents of the manuscripts, saying it contains faulty grammar and orthography, among others.

Manuel sad that the book reflects an ignorance of the use of the demonstrative “ti” and its oblique form, “iti, ” and the ligatures “a” and “nga.”

“Writers and editors should master these basics of Ilokano before they even try to write or edit Ilokano articles,” he said.

The book is filled with errors and does not conform to the rules as prescribed in the “Tarabay iti Ortograpia ti Pagsasao nga Ilokano published by the Kapisanan sa Wikang Filipino, according to veteran Ilokano writers in the Ilocos. The Ilokano orthography guideline is mandated for use in elementary schools in Ilokano- speaking Regions 1 and 2 in Northern Luzon.

Manuel cited the following as some of the glaring errors in the book:

1. Domesticated animals are mistakenly referred to as “bingwen” instead of “dinguen;” brown is rendered as “maradaya” when it should have been “maris-daga.” The string bean “sitaw” is interchanged with “utong,” which is the common bean.
2. A bird’s nest is mistakenly placed as “iti ngato ti kayo” (above the tree) when it should have been “iti nagsapalan dagiti sanga”, as illustrated.

3. The popular Ilokano song Pamulinawen has faulty lyrics

Aside from other improper terminologies, Manuel said that the book contains factual errors and does not reflect reality in the real world.

For instance, he said, a deer is mentioned as an animal freely roaming in the fields (page 14) and a child biting his palate (pages 19 and 14).

It will be recalled that the Philippine deer is an endangered specie and is only found in the country’s remote forests and mountainous terrain.

Also, the books is inventing a false tradition, such as preparing a feast during fiesta in a certain locality that does not reflect the people’s true culture. In pages 17 and 18, hogs and pigs are illustrated which display insensitivity to other religious beliefs such as that of Muslims, among others, he said.

To top it all, Manuel expressed disgust that while the DepEd forbids school canteens nationwide to sell soft drinks, the book “glorifies” Coca-Cola and is campaigning for the soda as a favorite snack drink (pages 19 and 44.)

“This is undermining the efforts of the education department in promoting health,” he said.

The book has a section on vowels, the five letters of the alphabet that the author erroneously refers to as “patimek,” instead of “paaweng” (paaweng, from agaw-aweng when vocalized) as used by Ilokano grammarians, according to Manuel.

“It should also have a section on the “pauni” or consonants,” he said, referring to the book. REYNALDO E. ANDRES, Mariano Marcos State University