Creative destruction and our languages

I FIRST encountered the concept of “creative destruction” in our urban economics module two years back. While researching on soft budget constraint in preparing my principal’s position paper on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), I met it again.

According to Wikipedia

Creative destruction, introduced in 1942 by the economist Joseph Schumpeter, describes the process of industrial transformation that accompanies radical innovation. In Schumpeter’s vision of capitalism, innovative entry by entrepreneurs was the force that sustained long-term economic growth, even as it destroyed the value of established companies that enjoyed some degree of monopoly power.

I see this concept behind the ongoing evolution of two languages closest to my heart, Bikolano and Filipino. The pace varies, but both these tongues are evolving.

Take for instance Kristian Cordero’s take on the politics of writing in Bikol. The piece touches on the unresolved struggle between purists who want to maintain its original iberian moorings and the pragmatists, like Cordero and myself, who see language as a dynamic, living entity. This is set in the context of a renaissance in Bikol literature which Frank Peñones told me about, ushered in by the growing influence of Rinconada: “duman sa kun an mga tawo magtaram garo mga gamgam,”* to borrow Cordero’s words.

Or take the 55 comments, and growing, on VegasFilAmGuy’s post inspired by Irvin. Sto Tomas’ weblog on Filipinization arising from the 2001 revision of the Filipino alphabet and spelling. I was disoriented by this five-year old policy myself, and so is Grace from our Planet Naga blog aggregator. But while I am not happy with this policy, we should not miss trees for the forest: creative destruction is well underway in these two languages.

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*Where the people speak like birds

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