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Living in a Diverse Dialect at Home: Celebrating Cultural Richness in Mindanao

"Kaon ta."

"Mangan tamo."

"Kain tayo."

There are many ways to say "let's eat" at our dining table. Growing up in a household where diverse dialects are spoken is truly a unique and enriching experience. My family, composed of a Bisaya-speaking father, a Kapampangan-speaking mother, and a community predominantly speaking Hiligaynon, has created a linguistic mosaic within our home. As a result, Tagalog has become our common language of communication. This rich tapestry of dialects has bestowed upon me the advantage of understanding and appreciating multiple languages, which has proven to be a valuable asset throughout my life.

Living in a linguistically diverse home has broadened my perspective and ignited a deep appreciation for the distinct cultures represented in our family circle. Through the conversations at our dinner table or the playful banter with family members, I am constantly exposed to the intricacies and tones of each dialect. From the colorful idioms of Bisaya to the melodious intonation of Hiligaynon and Kapampangan, I have developed a keen ear for the beauty that lies within each language. This lingual harmony extends beyond our home and into the community, where we interact with friends and relatives who predominantly speak Hiligaynon, Ilonggo, or Muslim dialects within South Cotabato and nearby provinces.

As a Mindanaoan, it is an advantage to be exposed to diverse dialects and languages through celebrating each other's languages, exchanging stories, songs, traditions, and food that build our understanding and admiration for one another. The diversity of dialects doesn't come without challenges, however. Just like the rest of the islands in the country, there are other ethnic groups, tribes, and indigenous peoples' cultures mixed in our own culture. It requires constant efforts to ensure effective communication in different settings. Understanding and speaking several dialects not only broaden our cultural horizons but also help us forge connections and bridge gaps in communities where one dialect may dominate.

Mindanao, an island of vibrant cultures and languages, is a testament to the beauty of diversity and the power of language to bring people together. It is our duty to celebrate and preserve this legacy for future generations, to cherish the multilingual symphony that echoes through our households, and to savor the richness of our cultural inheritance.

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