Mis-education, Translation, and the Barkada of Languages: Reading Renato Constantino with Nick Joaquin

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/

Abstract

This paper re-visits the classic piece by Renato Constantino, “The Mis-education of the Filipino” (1959/1966), inquiring into the colonial basis of his anti-colonial critique of American English. It explores the affinity between his view of language and those of American colonial officials, especially around the relationship between English and the vernacular languages. Both conceived of that relationship in terms of a war of and on translation. It then turns to an important but overlooked essay by Nick Joaquin published around the same time as Constantino’s, “The Language of the Streets” (1963). By closely considering Joaquin’s views on “Tagalog slang” as the basis for a national language, we can see a different politics of language at work, one based not on translation as war but as play. Whereas Constantino was concerned with language as the medium for revealing the historical truth of nationhood that would lead to democratizing society, Joaquin was more interested in the conversion of history into language as a way of expanding literary democracy.

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)