Yogad Kan: Preserving Language and Identity in International Spaces
Presentation for Linguistics 1100: Mysteries of Language
March 22, 2017
It's about time people hear about Yogad! Here's the first-ever presentation I did about the work that I do at a class in my university. I want to thank Dr. Lev Blumenfeld for the opportunity, friends and family who came to support, and all the kind people who listened and asked me the right questions. I also want to thank the awesome people at Carleton University Online Learning who gave me access to this recording.
I was super nervous, so I made a couple of mistakes: The person who worked with my great-grandfather in publishing the Yogad dictionary was actually not from SIL. However, SIL helped produce the Yogad primer. Sorry for the mix up.
As always: Let's go save a language!
"Storytelling is just as valid as any research method."
Dr. Palulis was one of those professors that really got to me while I was studying at the University of Ottawa. Now that I've moved over to Carleton University, I have decided to tell stories of my journey in preserving a heritage language.
Preserving a language can be really frightening. When I look down the road I have chosen to take, it seems so long. I don't know where my decisions will take me. I don't even know if I am the right person for this. I do know, however, that I am willing to keep taking that step forward. There's just no going back, even if I can't see the end of the road. Along the way, I have learned that if I just looked hard enough, there are corners of hope. Those corners have led me to incredible people that have been just as willing to help. These are the stories that keep me going.
Gotta Love Librarians
Not only is there a limited amount of work done on Yogad, most of them have also not been digitized. One time, I knew I needed a copy of the Grande article, so I had to make a phone call to the UP Los Baños Library. Considering the time difference, I called them after midnight, hoping someone would pick up. Someone did, referred me to someone who could respond to my request, and within a week's time, they sent me a scanned copy! I was so happy, and I still refer to that document as my first step forward.
When I needed a copy of another study, this time from Centro Escolar University, I decided to e-mail them instead. My friend said no one would ever answer. Thank God, he was wrong. The next day, the librarian said they are currently working on digitizing their theses and will make sure my request would be a priority. So far, I have a copy of the abstract, but I trust that he will keep his word.
So to our dear librarians, keep being awesome. We should honestly learn to thank you more. We owe so much of our scholarship to you.
Clan Culture is Legit
One of the challenges in exposing and posting work online is facing criticism. When I sent out a language survey to people in my network, someone sent me a message challenging my study and how he was from one of the first clans that ever settled in the town. Since my mother intermarried, and so did my grandmother, I have no Yogad last name. However, as soon as I mentioned my clan, the conversation took a 180-degree turn: We discovered we were cousins! He also decided that he would help me any way he could. First, he travelled through the mountainous parts of our province to get me access to another document I needed. Second, he connects me to others who can help me in this project, and just recently, he found the oldest living person in the town who speaks Yogad! Being a language teacher himself, despite his busy schedule, he is doing all this for free. Having migrated so much, I have never understood what a clan culture really meant. I think I do now, and it is legit one of the most amazing things we have ever done as social beings.
I will meet him for the first time when I go home. That's right; I am coming home soon! As to when exactly, is something I will keep for myself for now. I also just presented for a Linguistics class, which turned out well. I am working on getting a copy of the video, and hopefully I can share that with all of you soon.
There are more stories to write, but I will keep those for another day. Until then, thank you for being so kind. One of my friends said that when I talk about Yogad, my face lights up - Just enough light to see the next step, and just enough to see that I am not alone.