By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — According to the respected professor and scholar of culture Dr. Morr Tadeo Pungayan, the Ibaloi language is the identification of the Ibaloi people.
In the first Ibaloi Forum dubbed “Tongtong” held at the Baguio Museum, Pungayan said that in other provinces of the Cordillera region, they speak and sIng their hymns and history in their own languages and dialects. He said the rich history of the Ibalois meanwhile is written and sung in the English language.
Pungayan said that the Nabaloy or the Ibaloi language is an independent language. He stressed that the Ibaloi language does not belong to any family of languages thus it is not a simple dialect. He added that Nabaloy can compete with other languages of the world.
The Ibaloi professor said that sadly, the Nabaloy is already endangered as many Ibaloi youths at present do not even know how to speak the language and sadly, some of them even cannot understand it.
But he said that it is not too late to teach the young, there is still hope. “It is not yet over, speak to them in Ibaloi even if they will speak to you in English,” he said.
Pungayan said that there should be an aggressive teaching of the language. He added that the teaching Nabaloy is not only for literacy but for the legacy of the Ibalois.
He also said that there should be a development of orthography and grammar. “ There is a need of proper observance of grammar, never mind the intonations,” said Pungayan.
He used to teach, as a three-unit subject, the Ibaloi language in the University of Baguio and Saint Louis University in their graduate schools some time in the early 2000.
He urged councilors Poppo Cosalan and Peter Fianza who were present and Ibalois, to initiate the passing of a council resolution commending the two universities for including the Ibaloi language in their offered subjects. “ After all, it is for the glory of the Ibalois of Baguio,” he said.
Pungayan also challenged the participants in the said forum to research and document the rich Ibaloi history. He said that most of the Ibalois for instance know only few battles between the Ibalois and the Spanish colonizers. According to him, there are around 52 expeditions in the land of the Ibalois where many battles happened.
The Ibaloi scholar said that the Ibaloi language is already traversing to extinction. He challenged the Ibaloi elders to prevent this. He said that the Ibaloi themselves will save the language and the culture from becoming extinct.