Sa Atong Dila: Introduction to Visayan Literature
Author: Merlie M. Alunan
Sa Atong Dila, or In Our Own Tongue, when freely translated, is Merlie M. Alunan's newest offer, a textbook on the literatures of the Visayas intended as an instructional material for teachers and students. The book is divided into three parts: Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, and Western Visayas, each of which focuses on the major languages of that area.
Waray literature can be gleaned in the pages of the Eastern Visayas section, Cebuano literature in the Central Visayas section, and Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, and Akeanon literatures in the West Visayas section. Each part features folk literary materials, the works of writers in the tradition, and new writing. Works range from poetry to fiction to drama in the five Visayan languages mentioned. Guide questions are provided at the end of each selection as suggestions for further discussion. An appendix at the end of the book contains critical essays by literary scholars such as Resil Mojares, Macario Tiu, Victorio N. Sugbo, and Sherma Benosa.
The book fulfils an important need of the times: making works in the languages available in our schools. “Finally, in our desire to attain nationhood,” writes literary scholar, Victor N. Sugbo, in Something Weird Happened on the Way to Nationhood: Revitalizing Regional Literatures, which is included in the book, “something weird took place—our country lost pieces of its cultural memory. It is time to restore those pieces in the voices of our poets and storytellers in the local languages.”
In a similar note, Macario Tiu, Davao-based literary critic, writes: “It is high time we write stories, poems, novels, dramas directed to our own communities. It is high time we write in our own respective languages. The audiences in our communities are in the millions. Let us reach them. Let us link up with them because they are our roots.”
C.2016 / UPP