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Buwan ng Wika 2007

August is Buwan ng Wika (Language Month).

Supposedly, Filipino is the national language of the Philippines, but if you speak a language spoken in the Philippines other than Tagalog, you are probably unlikely to accept that Filipino (the language) is Tagalog (and it's not). As Horacio de la Costa once put it so eloquently: "If we must needs give currency to our thoughts, we are forced to mint them in the coinage of a foreign tongue, for we do not even have a common language."

The "foreign tongue" to which De la Costa alluded was, of course, English—the same one that I use to write on this blog, and the one that I've learned is actually a better alternative to Tagalog in certain parts of the Philippines. The video below, found through Filipinayzd, shows very clearly why I was right to switch from Tagalog to English while I was in Cebu a few years ago.

If you thought that Tagalog was the national language of the Philippines or are not sure of the difference between Pilipino and Filipino, take a look at the following articles that trace the development of the Filipino language:

"Development of Filipino, The National Language of the Philippines" by Paz M. Belvez

"The Metamorphosis of Filipino as National Language" by Jessie Grace U. Rubrico

"Filipino with the 'F': A Construction of the National Language Policy" by Eldrige Marvin B. Aceron (see also Part Two, and the complete article [doc])
The first was written by an educator, and you may want to read it if you don't really have much time. The second is by a linguist, and is much longer and more academic in nature than the first. The third is by a lawyer-blogger, and the blog post's subtitle, "A Guide for the Perplexed," indicates what I liked about it: it's scholarly and it has footnotes, but it's very readable.

If you would like to find out more about what exactly the Filipino language is, including just how many letters are in its alphabet, check out my post last year on "Ang Bagong Alfabeto at Patnubay sa Ispeling," where links are provided to the full text of the latest guidelines, articles about the guidelines, and even a blog that is utilizing the guidelines. But please note that the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) is reviewing the 2001 Ang Bagong Alfabeto at Patnubay sa Ispeling, and the Department of Education has stopped its implementation and recommended the use of the "1987 Alpabeto at Patnubay sa Ispeling" (pdf). Then again, you may just wish to wait until those in the know have made up their mind =)

In the meantime, you may wish to join the writing contests organized by the KWF (Rules | Form) and Pinoy Blogosphere (Wika2007 Blog Writing Contest). The deadline for the former has been extended to August 15, while the deadline for the latter is August 18. The theme for both is "Maraming Wika, Matatag na Bansa" (KWF translation: "A gift of tongues for a strong nation"), which indicates, perhaps, that Buwan ng Wika will not anymore be just a celebration of the Filipino language, but of the many languages of the Philippines.

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