20 February 2009
Abdon M. Balde Jr.
Yesterday (19 February) in Legazpi City, I was with Philippine prizewinning novelist Abdon M. Balde Jr., who writes in Bicolano, as well as in Filipino and English. What is particularly interesting about him is that has written pieces that are in two different dialects of Bicolano (Bicolano, a language spoken in the Western part of the main island of Luzon of the Philippines, has about eight dialects). What he does is similar to what some non-Filipino writers do, which is to play around with dialects, not only with languages. We can't really call this kind of language shifting as second-language writing, because it is still the same language, but it calls for critics that know the dialects and not just the languages involved in the text. Where are these critics? As usually happens in literary history, writers are several steps ahead of critics.