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Buwan ng Wika 2008

August is Buwan ng Wika (Language Month). This year, the theme is "Wika Mo, Wikang Filipino, Wika ng Mundo, Mahalaga!" I'm not quite sure I understand what it means, but here's my translation: "Your language, Filipino, language of the world, is important."

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) is holding two contests this year. One is the Gawad Komisyon sa Sanaysay-Gantimpalang Collantes (doc), an essay-writing contest in Filipino. Its deadline has been extended to August 15. The other is the Gawad Komisyon 2008 (pdf), which is for poems and short stories written in the following major languages: Ilokano, Sebwano, Tagalog, Bikol, Hiligaynon, Samar-Leyte, Pangasinan, Kapampangan, Meranaw. The deadline for this one is September 30. The prizes range from P2,000 to P20,000 for winners in both contests.

It is worth noting that the first requires the use of Filipino, while the other includes Tagalog. This, perhaps, was meant to highlight the difference between Filipino and Tagalog, that one is not equivalent to the other. But what if, for instance, someone submits an essay written in Tagalog for the Gantimpalang Collantes? Will it be accepted as having been written in "Filipino"? If the answer is yes, would the answer still be the same if the essay were written in any of the other major languages? If not, does this mean that the other languages are not, in fact, Filipino?

One last thing. I hope that they will also publish the works, not just a list of winners (doc), like they did last year. There doesn't seem to be a PinoyBlogoSphere contest this year, but unlike KWF they did provide links to the works of last year's winners. How do you promote the use of Filipino? Make sure that there are outstanding examples available—not just in papers hidden away in filing cabinets, but online, where students and those interested can find them.

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