Return to the TAGALOG ArchiveForward to the Current TAGALOG discuss

magandaTuesday 22nd of February 2005 12:48:03 PM
Filipino Language - Filipino language

Filipino (or Pilipino) is the national language and one of the official languages of the Philippines along with English. The language, a member of the Austronesian languages, a standardized dialect of Tagalog. It is sometimes the generic name for all several different languages of the Philippines.

On November 13, 1937, the First National Assembly created the National Language Institute, which selected Tagalog for the basis of a new national language. In 1961, this language became known as Pilipino, which was later renamed to Filipino.

The Filipino language is the national language and an official language of the Philippines, having been so designated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

When the national language–based Tagalog was developed, Lope K. Santos wrote the Balarila ng Wikang Pambansa and introduced the Abakada of 20 letters in which only one letter represents one meaningful sound in Tagalog. The 20 letters of Abakada are written as a b k d e g h i l m n ng o p r s t u w y. The National Language Institute of the Philippines initiated the new language in 1973. As a language designed to be the lingua franca of the islands, it borrows many words from the various languages used throughout the islands, although grammar is based on Tagalog. In 1976, the alphabet consisted of 31 letters—the 26 letters of the English alphabet, the Spanish ñ, ll, rr, and ch, and the ng of Tagalog. In practice, however, the digraphs are considered as their two constituent letters. In 1987, the alphabet was revised and rr, ll and ch, all of which are of Spanish origin, were removed, leaving 28 letters.

The national language of the Philippines has been subject to several controversies and misunderstandings, even to this day. The 1987 Consitution of the Philippines, Article XIV, Section 6 merely states: "The national language of the Philippines is Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages." However, there was no language called "Filipino" prior to the 1987 Constitution. Whether the Filipino language should be based on Tagalog is not stated, although a large number of people assumed that the Filipino language is the same as (or at least be based on) the Pilipino language, which was the national language at that time and was clearly defined to be based on Tagalog. Most Filipinos will have one of these three views when asked regarding the Filipino language:

Filipino is just plainly Tagalog and is just another name for the language, along with its older name, Pilipino.
Filipino is the amalgamation of all the Philippine languages, with English and Spanish also possible vocabulary sources.
Filipino is Tagalog with borrowings from English and other Philippine languages and is Tagalog as it is spoken in Metro Manila.
Most people in the Philippines still consider Filipino essentially and practically the same language as Tagalog. It is more likely that Filipinos ask others if they know how to speak "Tagalog" rather than if they know how to speak "Filipino." Proponents of the second view however, specifically state that Tagalog does not include words such as "guapa" (beautiful), those terms whose meaning can be easily guessed by native Tagalog speakers but are not generally considered or used in the Tagalog-speaking region. Some people also point out that Filipino should include English words commonly used by Filipinos whereas Tagalog does not. During the time when the language was still known as Pilipino (before the name was changed to Filipino), the tendency was to use pure Tagalog, even trying to replace words of Spanish or English origin with new artificially coined words that are based on Tagalog. To some people, this differentiates Filipino from Pilipino.

A number in the academe define the Filipino language as an amalgamation of the Philippine languages with some even proposing that English words be included in the Filipino lexicon. The problem with this view is linguistically, the Philippine languages are not "dialects" of the same language, but are languages in their own right, each being mutually unintelligible from the other. If the grammatical structure and all the words from the other languages are to be included in the lexicon, this basically forfeits the purpose of a lingua franca as people speaking Tagalog Filipino will not be able to communicate effectively with someone speaking Cebuano Filipino.

Realistically, Filipino is perhaps just the language as spoken in Metro Manila. With its migrant population swelling, there are some words from the other Philippine languages that have been borrowed into the speech of native Manileños. The Tagalog as spoken in the capital, however, is difficult to use as a standard. It is rapidly evolving, and there is no one dictionary or guidebook to define what is proper usage or which words are considered to be officially part of the language. This is compounded by the problem that most Filipinos are bilingual or multilingual, and English is very predominant, that a number of Filipinos now use Taglish (Tagalog peppered with English words all throughout) as their everyday speech. While this language is perfectly fine for informal communications, it remains difficult to freely use an admixture of two languages in formal written communication.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

magandaThursday 21st of April 2005 03:50:31 PM
About the Pilipino (Tagalog) Language - Tagalog is an Austronesian language with about 57 million speakers in the Philippines, particularly in Manila, most of Luzon and Mindoro. It is also spoken in Canada, Guam, Midway Islands, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, UK and USA.

The Tagalog, Baybayin or Alibata alphabet is one of a number of closely related scripts used in the Philippines until the 17th Century AD. It probably developed from the Kawi script of Java, Bali and Sumatra, which in turn descended from the Pallava script, one of the southern Indian scripts derived from Brahmi.

Today the Latin alphabet is used to write to Tagalog.

Pilipino (Tagalog) is the official language of the Philippines. Within the Philippines there are eight distinct major languages and about 80 ethnolanguages that are permutations of these eight languages. Children in the Philippines are taught in kindergarten through third grade in their own local language. English is introduced in the fourth grade. English is the language of choice to conduct official business. Many historical documents were written in Pilipino or Tagalog before English was introduced into the Filipino society.

The Philippines is considered to be the 4th largest English- speaking country, after the United States, United Kingdom, and India. Pilipino is used interchangeably with Filipino to refer to people from the Philippines. During the 1960s activists in the San Francisco Bay Area symbolically adapted "Pilipino" as self- identity to claim their ethnicity, cultural identity and cultural legacy. They explain that this term comes from two Pilipino/Tagalog words "pili" which means "choose" or "chosen" and "pino" which means "refinement, of great quality." Therefore Pilipino translates to "chosen people of quality." This label also symbolically dissociates them from the historical heritage of colonialism brought to the Philippines under the reign of King Philip of Spain after whom the country was named. A third reason for the spelling is to emphasize the absence of the letter F in the Pilipino alphabet.


magandaThursday 21st of April 2005 03:53:20 PM
Cultural Note - Although the word "Filipino" is acceptable in Filipino (the Philippine language), most Filipinos will still say Pilipino when referring to a Filipino person while speaking in Filipino/Tagalog.

For example: "Ako ay Pilipino." ("I am Filipino.")

Why? Well, among other reasons, a "p" sound is easier for a Filipino to pronounce than an "f" sound. In fact, even though the letters c, f, j, x, z, etc. have formally been included in the Philippine/Filipino alphabet, there is still an overwhelming tendency to transliterate foreign words into native pronunciation forms.

Examples: kompyuter, kwalipikasyon, okasyon, indibidwal, sipilis...


magandaThursday 21st of April 2005 03:56:46 PM
Postscript - Philippino, Philipino and other such misspellings are unacceptable and are jarring to Filipino eyes. Remember: Filipino is the noun that refers to the Philippine national language and to the Philippine people (Filipinos); it is also an adjective to describe people, things and such from the Philippines (the other adjective being Philippine). The country itself is called the Philippines (currently the Republic of the Philippines; formerly, and actually still, the Philippine Islands) in English, Las Islas Filipinas or simply La/Las Filipinas in Spanish, and Pilipinas in Filipino (Tagalog).