Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation
Vicente L. Rafael is Professor of History at the University of Washington. His books include
Wars of Translation: American English, Colonial Schooling, and Tagalog Slang
In its occupation of the Philippines, the United States conceived of education as an essential counterinsurgent measure necessary for quelling Filipino revolutionary energies at the turn of the twentieth century, and so the colonial government established English as the sole medium of instruction. However, learning English required the simultaneous repression of myriad vernacular languages in the archipelago, resulting in a war of as well as a war on translation. Writing in the 1960s, Renato Constantino faults English for the “mis-education” of Filipinos, in effect keeping them in the depths of their colonial stupor. Much of this nationalist critique was anticipated...