: The Miss Universe pageant was held last week. Filipinos were excited that Miss Philippines, Venus Raj, made it as a finalist, but were dismayed that she made it to 5th place. People placed the blame on her answer
to a question posed by William Baldwin; maybe Austronesian-style reduplication doesn't really translate well to an American audience. Or perhaps, it was the question itself
, but I digress.
In any case, many, including myself, have thought that perhaps Miss Philippines should have answered in Tagalog, or better yet in her native Bikol. This is despite the fact that she, like many Filipinos, are educated in English from late elementary school and beyond.
One of the people who agreed with this was actress Gloria Diaz, the Miss Philippines who won Miss Universe in 1969. But the way she expressed this opinion has been the cause for unnecessary outrage among members of the Cebuano (also called Visayan/Bisaya) ethnic group. (Cebuano/Visayan/Bisaya is also the name for the language)
The interview is in the clip. The English portion is :27-1:04. But the relevant portion starts at :54.( Collapse )
She says "kasi
(because), when you think about a Cebuana, can hardly speak English, and of course Tagalog, so maybe she should answer in Bisaya."
The way I interpret this is that she's saying that if there is a Cebuana contestant who cannot express herself adequately in English, then she should have the right to Cebuano-English interpreter. But the outrage stems from people interpreting it as Cebuanos do not speak English & Tagalog well, so they will need an interpreter. In the Philppines, a good command of English & Tagalog have prestige and are linked to higher education and intelligence, so they took this as a slap to the face.
So, to my point. Maybe I'm biased. So I thought I'd ask native and near-native speakers of English here.
How do you interpret what she said? I know, it's an awkward sentence. But do you think it's reasonable to conclude that she's generalizing about Cebuanos and their lack of proficiency in English? Or could it go both ways? I can see how people can misinterpret that, but I know what she means and she has clarified what she meant
Oddly enough, I think this whole fiasco reinforces Gloria Diaz's point that interpreters are needed. Not only for her, but people who are outraged over this.