Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baybayin Modern

A great blog post written by Malaya Design on the modernization of Baybayin. Here's a snippet, but check out the whole post here.
Modifying, modernizing the Baybayin is a debated issue between some writers. Some don’t see a problem with using the Spanish modification by placing a + sign under a character to cancel out a vowel, but some do. It is both right and wrong at the same time, depending on who you are…yeah, it’s vague. I am a traditional practitioner that has evolved to include a variation of it by placing a kudlit above and below the character. I didn’t make it up, I saw it someplace and had an “error 404” episode.

Does that mean I condone the use of cancellation kudlits? Yes, to some extent, but I will not bastardize the writing system just because of an individuals ignorance. If anything, I hate seeing transliterations that are blatantly wrong because either the writer or the person wearing the script just didn’t take the time to research and ask questions. There is no “system restore” for this mishap.
And in case Wordpress gets wonky on me, here's the reply comment I (tried to) put up:
Very insightful and well put!
I do believe that modernization of Baybayin is the way to go, however, who would be responsible for doing so? Who should be held responsible to commit to the task of amending a writing system? The Baybayin artists? The tribesmen that still use an iteration of it? The Philippine government? College professors, academics and intellectuals? Consider a similar scenario in which the increasing Spanish-speaking population in America may one day deem it necessary to add the Enye (~n) letter to the American alphabet. Who would be responsible in doing so? And how would such an amendment be standardized throughout the country? Then how would this be distributed to the academic institutions? I suppose one can look at the politics behind the redefinition of Pluto no longer being a planet and being made into public intellect as a reference.

I understand that several Baybayin writers have tried to modernize the Baybayin script by adding new characters to express modern phonetics as well as reconfiguring the kudlits to become more expressive; however, I feel like most of these changes were done independently by the individual Baybayin writer thus becoming unlikely to be held as a standard. Without a cohesive agreement from the "Baybayin community", I think it would be difficult to bring forward a modern Baybayin character set if there are too many individual variations.

I think to successfully modernize Baybayin, several things must take place: First, a committee should be formed to discuss, debate, document and deliberate all Baybayin-related matters. By unifying efforts and collecting opinions, insights, and perspectives, macro-level changes of a writing system could have a stronger foundation to be built upon. Second, the 17 Basic character system should have it's character strokes finalized and standardized to be recognized by the Baybayin community; The problem with making changes to Baybayin I feel is that because of regional, stylistic and individual differences, it can be difficult to communicate the same idea when many are unsure if the character they're writing is founded on a standard character face. But once this has been defined, standardized, documented and distributed, I truly believe that modernization of Baybayin will be a much smoother, calculated and designed process.

As to what we do with this new Baybayin system is a discussion for another time...

The future is now, it just needs to be thought out before it's implemented. Like the creative designer mantra goes, "Think more, design less."

Stay up,



rob said...

On the contrary, I believe the users of Baybayin are the most likely to originate, as well as adopt, improvements to the script. Thru a process of sharing and artistry, "better" solutions may be adopted, and a set of closely related standards may develop, independent of committee. I think that is the best way.

In a way, you yourself imply the same thing:

"Without a cohesive agreement from the "Baybayin community", I think it would be difficult to bring forward a modern Baybayin character set if there are too many individual variations."

Surely "cohesive agreement" is a good goal BECAUSE it is difficult. And, more to the point, for changes to be accepted they have to reach a certain critical mass, which is better served by a community, and not a committee.

Onward, then.

David Lazaro (cyph) said...

I see your point rob, and indeed, individual change is great. However, just because it's "difficult" for a community to unite and take action together, doesn't mean it should be out of the question altogether. The Baybayin community needs cohesiveness in the first place, and I think once communication is open enough to start talking about modernized characters, then it'd be a sign of grand progress and movement. Things come together when everyone's ready for it.

Stay up


rob said...

Thanks for the reply David. I do agree with you, and am encouraged that there is open discussion and (hopefully) not a lot of criticism.

I suspect my reply appears more harsh than it ought to have been. My apologies!

rob said...

Hi David,

As a followup, I've posted some Baybayin doodlings I've been trying out recently, at: