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Filipino Pronouns Decimate Gender Bias

Teacher I

For one to fully comprehend the power of language, one must go beyond its superficiality as there’s more to what we utter than meets the eye. The first sentence that serves as the opening salvo of this article is a proverb written by the same person who wrote and committed to the reckoning of the publication of this article, yours truly. Such an "operational" proverb is necessary to emphasize the fact that “language” is powerful, and let alone, has a perplexing nature.

Before we delve into the major predicament as offered earlier in the title and the opening paragraph, we must first know what pronouns are. Being an essential part of the English and Filipino language, pronouns are words that serve as substitutionary concepts for nouns and noun phrases. Pronouns are used to pertain to individuals in a somewhat ambiguous manner.

Despite the fact of its predominant and crucial existence in the two most spoken languages in our country, namely Filipino and English, pronouns are used in very different ways from one to another. In the Filipino language, pronouns are coined as “panghalip”. Both “panghalip” and pronouns are utilized with the same function in mind as emphasized earlier, to play as the proxy for nouns and noun phrases alike, but although both are the same in function, both still pertain to nouns in a very different manner respectively.

Just by looking at the examples of pronouns written in Filipino as compared to pronouns written in English, such an act would immediately give you a hint with regards to the writer’s point of making this article in the first place. Some examples of nouns written in Filipino or “panghalip” would be “ako”, “siya”, “sila”, “kanila”, “kayo”, and the list just goes on. On the other hand, some examples of pronouns printed in English would be “he”, “she”, “they”, “them”, and the list goes on as well. Also, I would like to provide it with clarity that with our dilemma on gender bias in mind, this article will focus on personal pronouns or “panghalip panao” and would revolve around the comparison of the same words written in the two languages involved and the reasons why they are written in such manner in the first place.

But before capitalizing on the point provided by the earlier paragraph, I’d like to introduce you to our main predicament for this publication. Such issue is one of the most hotly contested and talked about to date not only on social media but by professional academic researchers as well both in college and in graduate school, namely the existence of gender bias. For years on end, sociologists, psychologists, field experts, government officials, and many more people of proper jurisdiction have worked hand in hand to properly understand the nature of “gender bias” as it exists in our country to date as well as the causal factors that help make it come to play even though we are already living in a time where liberty is enjoyed by almost everyone living on this planet.

Sources that are readily available online tells us a concrete explication of “gender bias” as a behavior that shows favoritism toward one gender over another (Gender bias is a behavior, 2019). From such definition, one would conclude that the presence of such concept is a threat towards the dogma of liberty that we uphold today, all the more, it poses a threat to the belief that human beings are free to become what or who they want to be, and all the more bothering to the scientific community is that such bias would be commination to the notion of individuality and uniqueness among people as science continues to attest to date that acceptance of individuality is a necessary step that must be taken to keep insanity at bay.

Now, with your newly learned knowledge about the presence and dangers of"gender bias". I need you to look back at the fourth paragraph of this article that emphasized the different examples of pronouns written in English and Filipino. As you can see, pronouns that are written in English appear to give more emphasis to gender as compared to their Filipino-written counterparts as the immediate definition of the earlier-given pronouns such as “she” and “he” are already about one’s gender. On the contrary, Filipino written pronouns or “panghalip” appear to give less importance to gender as the earlier-provided examples such as “siya”, “kanila”, “kaniya”, and others alike appear to provide ambiguity, if not, totally ignoring the notion of gender when it comes to the use of language.

Some people might raise an argument that those are merely words uttered and they can only do so much harm. But, as a matter of fact many, if not, truckloads of studies have already been published, more specifically in the field of Psychology and Filipino Psychology that the language we use is a reflection or a mirror of the culture that we have as according to several studies, the most apparent way that our culture morphs itself to become tangible and concrete, from its intangible and ambiguous nature, is thru the words that we speak or our language.

Therefore, with such in mind, one can immediately conclude that a language that poses less threat towards gender identification, is also used by people who naturally live by a culture of having a less sense of gender bias. An apparent example would be that many studies in recent years have shown that workplace inequality when it comes to gender discrimination is much less apparent in the Philippines as compared to other western countries, as to date, many countries in the western hemisphere continue to deal with the adverse effects as brought about by biased selection and hiring done by human resources personnel by using gender as one of their primary tenets for judgment, such is an example and proof that gender bias is more apparent in countries and territories that offer languages that emphasize strengthening and even capitalizing on the fine line written between genders.

The pronouns or the words themselves are not powerful enough to decimate gender bias in our society, but again, those are powerful tools to provide us with a more open, liberal, proper, and productive mindset that would allow us to accept people around us and through such acceptance, only then could we peacefully coincide with everyone while remaining productive. Therefore, love and loyalty to our language, the Filipino language is theoretically a tool, to take a step further in decimating gender bias and others alike. How about you? What do you think about the effects of using language as a reflection of our culture? Do you think that this article can be subjected to further academic researches? Maybe, you, the person reading this article would have the answer to such questions that I’ve posted.