Right now there's a difference of only 15 million between the number 1 ranked language (English) and number 2 (Mandarin Chinese) spoken by the most number of people in the world. There will probably be new programs like TCFL (Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language); and eventually, though a little farther down the road, TIFL (Teaching Ilocano as a Foreign Language). When we were taught the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, we already knew about áhas— snakes that could at least be trusted to keep rodents away from the crops. The world was only one sea and one sky when a bird split a bamboo in half; Malakas and Maganda stepped out at the same time, which is possibly why they share the non- gender specific pronoun siya. Census figures predict that by 2050, nonwhites will be the majority in America and Europe. Still, given how long you've lorded it over so much in history, I don't think English will completely disappear into some great marble mausoleum in the cemetery of dead languages. But by then the rest of the world will have come to more deeply appreciate among other things the resonance of a science whose name for the universe is máyaw, which in Tagalog also means harmony. Who could have foreseen how ube would become the ubiquitous color of sliced bread; or how the richness of our poetries could finally be acknowledged for what they've always been? Makahiya, sampaguita, dama de noche, ylang- ylang, champaka; uwak, kuwago, loro, kalapati, agila—all such names for flora and fauna could easily fill up codices. You still don't seem to know what you're missing. (after "Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist after the Death of the English Language")
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.