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Manila Tagalog
Wikang Filipino
Pronunciation [ˈwi.kɐŋ fi.liˈ̞]
Native to Philippines
RegionAll of the regions of the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila, the National Capital Region, and in other urban centers in the archipelago
Ethnicity Filipinos
Native speakers
see Tagalog language
Early forms
Latin ( Filipino alphabet)
Philippine Braille
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
United States
United Arab Emirates
Regulated by Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-2 fil
ISO 639-3 fil
Glottolog fili1244
  Countries with more than 500,000 speakers
  Countries with between 100,000–500,000 speakers
  Countries where it is spoken by minor communities
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Filipino (English: /ˌfɪlɪˈpn/ , FIH-lih-PEE-noh; [1] Wikang Filipino, [ˈwi.kɐŋ fi.liˈ̞]) is a language under the Austronesian language family. It is the national language (Wikang pambansa / Pambansang wika) of the Philippines, lingua franca (Karaniwang wika), and one of the two official languages (Wikang opisyal/Opisyal na wika) of the country, with English. [2] It is a standardized variety of Tagalog [3] based on the native language, spoken and written in Metro Manila, the National Capital Region, and in other urban centers of the archipelago. [4] The 1987 Constitution mandates that Filipino be further enriched and developed by the other languages of the Philippines. [5]

Filipino, like other Austronesian languages, commonly uses verb-subject-object order, but can also use subject-verb-object order. Filipino follows the trigger system of morphosyntactic alignment that is also common among Austronesian languages. It has head-initial directionality. It is an agglutinative language but can also display inflection. It is not a tonal language and can be considered a pitch-accent language and a syllable-timed language. It has nine basic parts of speech.


The Philippines is a multilingual state with 175 living languages originating and spoken by various ethno-linguistic groups. Many of these languages descend from a common Malayo-Polynesian language due to the Austronesian migration from Taiwan. The common Malayo-Polynesian language split into different languages, and usually through the Malay language, the lingua franca of maritime Southeast Asia, these were able to adopt terms that ultimately originate from other languages such as Japanese, Hokkien, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Arabic. The Malay language was generally used by the ruling classes and the merchants from the states and various cultures in the Philippine archipelago for international communication as part of maritime Southeast Asia. In fact, Filipinos first interacted with the Spaniards using the Malay language. In addition to this, 16th-century chroniclers of the time noted that the kings and lords in the islands usually spoke around five languages.[ citation needed]

Spanish intrusion into the Philippine islands started in 1565 with the fall of Cebu. The eventual capital established by Spain for its settlement in the Philippines was Manila, situated in a Tagalog-speaking region, after the capture of Manila from the Muslim Kingdom of Luzon ruled by Raja Matanda with the heir apparent Raja Sulayman and the Hindu-Buddhist Kingdom of Tondo ruled by Lakan Dula. After its fall to the Spaniards, Manila was made the capital of the Spanish settlement in Asia due to the city's commercial wealth and influence, its strategic location, and Spanish fears of raids from the Portuguese and the Dutch. [6]

The first dictionary of Tagalog, published as the Vocabulario de la lengua tagala, was written by the Franciscan Pedro de San Buenaventura, [7] and published in 1613 by the "Father of Filipino Printing" Tomás Pinpin in Pila, Laguna. A latter book of the same name was written by Czech Jesuit missionary Paul Klein (known locally as Pablo Clain) at the beginning of the 18th century. Klein spoke Tagalog and used it actively in several of his books. He wrote a dictionary, which he later passed to Francisco Jansens and José Hernández. [8] Further compilation of his substantial work was prepared by Juan de Noceda and Pedro de Sanlúcar and published as Vocabulario de la lengua tagala in Manila in 1754 and then repeatedly [9] re-edited, with the latest edition being published in 2013 in Manila. [10]

Spanish served in an official capacity as language of the government during the Spanish colonial period. During the American colonial period, English became an additional official language of the Philippines alongside Spanish; however, the number of speakers of Spanish steadily decreased. [11] At present, Spanish was designated an optional and voluntary language under the 1987 Constitution, along with Arabic.

Designation as the national language

While Spanish and English were considered "official languages" during the American colonial period, there existed no "national language" initially. Article XIII, section 3 of the 1935 constitution establishing the Commonwealth of the Philippines provided that:

The National Assembly shall take steps toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages. Until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall continue as official languages.

On November 13, 1936, the first National Assembly of the Philippine Commonwealth approved Commonwealth Act No. 184; creating the Institute of National Language (later the Surián ng Wikang Pambansâ or SWP) and tasking it with making a study and survey of each existing native language, hoping to choose which was to be the base for a standardized national language. [12] Later, President Manuel L. Quezon later appointed representatives for each major regional language to form the NLI. Led by Jaime C. De Veyra, who sat as the chair of the Institute and as the representative of Samar-Leyte-Visayans, the Institute's members were composed of Santiago A. Fonacier (representing the Ilokano-speaking regions), Filemon Sotto (the Cebu-Visayans), Casimiro Perfecto (the Bikolanos), Felix S. Sales Rodriguez (the Panay-Visayans), Hadji Butu (the languages of Muslim Filipinos), and Cecilio Lopez (the Tagalogs). [13]

The Institute of National Language adopted a resolution on November 9, 1937 recommending Tagalog to be basis of the national language. On December 30, President Quezon issued Executive Order No. 134, s. 1937, approving the adoption of Tagalog as the language of the Philippines, and proclaimed the national language of the Philippines so based on the Tagalog language. Quezon himself was born and raised in Baler, Aurora, which is a native Tagalog-speaking area. The order stated that it would take effect two years from its promulgation. [14] On December 31 of the same year, Quezon proclaimed Tagalog as the basis of the Wikang Pambansâ (National Language) giving the following factors: [13]

  1. Tagalog is widely spoken and is the most understood language in all the Philippine Regions.
  2. It is not divided into smaller daughter languages, as Visayan or Bikol are.
  3. Its literary tradition is the richest of all Philippine languages, the most developed and extensive (mirroring that of the Tuscan language vis-à-vis Italian). From at least before 1935, more books were written in Tagalog than in any other Philippine language.
  4. Tagalog has always been the language of Manila, the political centre of the Philippines in much of its history as a multiethnic country and a considerable economic centre of the Philippine islands since time immemorial.
  5. The Katipunan generally used the Tagalog language for its operations, and the Philippine Revolution and the First Philippine Republic operationally used Spanish afterwards, but many of the leaders of the revolution spoke Tagalog, more so among ethnic groups from central to southern Luzon including some adjacent islands. Tagalog also became a choice for some non-Tagalog Filipino revolutionary leaders and nationalists in some of their publications, especially if they were to publish in Manila. The Katipunan extended the meaning of the term Tagalog to all people native to the Philippine islands, including Cebuanos, Ilocanos, Kapampangans, etc, and extended the term Katagalugan to the whole Philippine islands not just native Tagalog-speaking areas, building a Tagalog Republic, the reason being a unified opposition against Spanish hegemony.

On June 7, 1940, the Philippine National Assembly passed Commonwealth Act No. 570 declaring that the Filipino national language would be considered an official language effective July 4, 1946 [15] (coinciding with the country's expected date of independence from the United States). That same year, the Balarílà ng Wikang Pambansâ (English: Grammar of the National Language) of grammarian Lope K. Santos introduced the 20-letter Abakada alphabet which became the standard of the national language. [16] The alphabet was officially adopted by the Institute for the Tagalog-Based National Language.

Further history

In 1959, the language became known as Pilipino in an effort to disassociate it from the Tagalog ethnic group. [17] The changing of the name did not, however, result in universal acceptance among non- Tagalogs, especially Cebuanos who had previously not accepted the 1937 selection. [18]

The 1960s saw the rise of the purist movement where new words were being coined to replace loanwords. This era of "purism" by the SWP sparked criticisms by a number of persons. Two counter-movements emerged during this period of "purism": one campaigning against Tagalog and the other campaigning for more inclusiveness in the national language. In 1963, Negros Occidental congressman Innocencio V. Ferrer took a case reaching the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the choice of Tagalog as the basis of the national language (a case ruled in favor of the national language in 1970). Accusing the national language as simply being Tagalog and lacking any substantial input from other Philippine languages, Congressman Geruncio Lacuesta eventually led a "Modernizing the Language Approach Movement" (MOLAM). Lacuesta hosted a number of "anti-purist" conferences and promoted a "Manila Lingua Franca" which would be more inclusive of loanwords of both foreign and local languages. Lacuesta managed to get nine congressmen to propose a bill aiming to abolish the SWP with an Akademia ng Wikang Filipino, to replace the balarila with a Gramatica ng Wikang Filipino, to replace the 20-letter Abakada with a 32-letter alphabet, and to prohibit the creation of neologisms and the respelling of loanwords. This movement quietened down following the death of Lacuesta. [19] [18] [20]

The national language issue was revived once more during the 1971 Constitutional Convention. While there was a sizable number of delegates in favor of retaining the Tagalog-based national language, majority of the delegates who were non-Tagalogs were even in favor of scrapping the idea of a "national language" altogether. [21] A compromise was reached and the wording on the 1973 constitution made no mention of dropping the national language Pilipino or made any mention of Tagalog. Instead, the 1973 Constitution, in both its original form and as amended in 1976, designated English and Pilipino as official languages and provided for development and formal adoption of a common national language, termed Filipino, to replace Pilipino. Neither the original nor the amended version specified either Tagalog or Pilipino as the basis for Filipino; Instead, tasking the National Assembly to: [22] [23]

take steps toward the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino.

In 1987, a new constitution designated Filipino as the national language and, along with English, as an official language. [24] That constitution included several provisions related to the Filipino language. [2]

Article XIV, Section 6, omits any mention of Tagalog as the basis for Filipino, and states that: [2]

as Filipino evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.

And also states in the article:

Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system.


The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein.

Section 17(d) of Executive Order 117 of January 30, 1987 renamed the Institute of National Language as Institute of Philippine Languages. [25] Republic Act No. 7104, approved on August 14, 1991, created the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission on the Filipino Language, or KWF), superseding the Institute of Philippine Languages. The KWF reports directly to the President and was tasked to undertake, coordinate and promote researches for the development, propagation and preservation of Filipino and other Philippine languages. [26] On May 13, 1992, the commission issued Resolution 92-1, specifying that Filipino is the

indigenous written and spoken language of Metro Manila and other urban centers in the Philippines used as the language of communication of ethnic groups. [27]

However, as with the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions, 92-1 went neither so far as to categorically identify, nor so far as to dis-identify this language as Tagalog. Definite, absolute, and unambiguous interpretation of 92–1 is the prerogative of the Supreme Court in the absence of directives from the KWF, otherwise the sole legal arbiter of the Filipino language.[ original research?]

Filipino was presented and registered with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), by Ateneo de Manila University student Martin Gomez, and was added to the ISO registry of languages on September 21, 2004, with it receiving the ISO 639-2 code fil. [28]

On August 22, 2007, it was reported that three Malolos City regional trial courts in Bulacan decided to use Filipino, instead of English, in order to promote the national language. Twelve stenographers from Branches 6, 80 and 81, as model courts, had undergone training at Marcelo H. del Pilar College of Law of Bulacan State University following a directive from the Supreme Court of the Philippines. De la Rama said it was the dream of Chief Justice Reynato Puno to implement the program in other areas such as Laguna, Cavite, Quezon, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Rizal, and Metro Manila, all of which mentioned are natively Tagalog-speaking. [29]


Since 1997, a month-long celebration of the national language occurs during August, known in Filipino as Buwan ng Wika (Language Month). Previously, this lasted only a week and was known as Linggo ng Wika (Language Week). The celebration coincides with the month of birth of President Manuel L. Quezon, regarded as the "Ama ng Wikang Pambansa" (Father of the national language).

In 1946, Proclamation No. 35 of March 26 provided for a week-long celebration of the national language. [15] this celebration would last from March 27 until April 2 each year, the last day coinciding with birthday of the Filipino writer Francisco Baltazar, author of the Tagalog epic Florante at Laura.

In 1954, Proclamation No. 12 of March 26 provided that the week of celebration would be from March 29 to April 4 every year. [30] This proclamation was amended the following year by President Ramon Magsaysay by Proclamation No. 186 of September 23, moving the dates of celebration to August 13–19, every year. [31] Now coinciding with the birthday of President Manuel L. Quezon. The reason for the move being given that the original celebration was a period "outside of the school year, thereby precluding the participation of schools in its celebration". [31]

In 1988, President Corazon Aquino signed Proclamation No. 19, reaffirming the celebration every August 13 to 19. In 1997, the celebration was extended from a week to a month by Proclamation 1041 of July 15 signed by President Fidel V. Ramos. [32]

Comparison of Filipino and Tagalog

It is argued that current state of the Filipino language is contrary to the intention of Republic Act (RA) No. 7104 that requires that the national language be developed and enriched by the lexicon of the country's other languages. [33]

It is further argued that, while the official view (shared by the government, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, and a number of educators) is that Filipino and Tagalog are considered separate languages, in practical terms, Filipino may be considered the official name of Tagalog, or even a synonym of it. [34] Today's Filipino language is best described as "Tagalog-based". [35] The language is usually called Tagalog within the Philippines and among Filipinos to differentiate it from other Philippine languages, but it has also come to be known as Filipino to differentiate it from the languages of other countries; the former implies a regional origin, the latter national. This is similar to the comparison between Castilian and Spanish, or Mandarin and Chinese.

Political designations aside, Tagalog and Filipino are linguistically the same; sharing, among other things, the same grammatical structure. On May 23, 2007, Ricardo Maria Nolasco, KWF chair and a linguistics expert, acknowledged in a keynote speech during the NAKEM Conference at the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte, that Filipino was simply Tagalog in syntax and grammar, with as yet no grammatical element or lexicon coming from Ilokano, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, or any of the other Philippine languages. He said further that this is contrary to the intention of Republic Act No. 7104, which requires that the national language be developed and enriched by the lexicon of the country's other languages, something toward which the commission was working. [36] [37] On August 24, 2007, Nolasco elaborated further on the relationship between Tagalog and Filipino in a separate article, as follows:

Are "Tagalog," "Pilipino" and "Filipino" different languages? No, they are mutually intelligible varieties, and therefore belong to one language. According to the KWF, Filipino is that speech variety spoken in Metro Manila and other urban centers where different ethnic groups meet. It is the most prestigious variety of Tagalog and the language used by the national mass media. The other yardstick for distinguishing a language from a dialect is: different grammar, different language. "Filipino", "Pilipino" and "Tagalog" share identical grammar. They have the same determiners (ang, ng and sa); the same personal pronouns (siya, ako, niya, kanila, etc.); the same demonstrative pronouns (ito, iyan, doon, etc.); the same linkers (na, at and ay); the same particles (na and pa); and the same verbal affixes -in, -an, i- and -um-. In short, same grammar, same language. [3]

In connection with the use of Filipino, or specifically the promotion of the national language, the related term Tagalista is frequently used. While the word Tagalista literally means "one who specializes in Tagalog language or culture" or a "Tagalog specialist", in the context of the debates on the national language and " Imperial Manila", the word Tagalista is used as a reference to "people who promote or would promote the primacy of Tagalog at the expense of [the] other [Philippine] indigenous tongues". [38]


A Filipino speaker, recorded in the Philippines

This is a translation of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [39] Usually, the diacritics are not written, and the syntax and grammar are based on that of Tagalog.

English Filipino
Universal Declaration of Human Rights Pangkalahatáng Pagpapahayág ng Karapatáng Pantáo
Now, therefore,

the General Assembly proclaims

this UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Ngayón, samakatuwíd,

ang Pangkalahatáng Kapulungán ay nagpapahayág ng

PANGKALAHATÁNG PAGPAPAHAYÁG NA ITÓ NG MGÁ KARAPATÁN NG TÁO bílang pangkalahatáng pamantáyang maisasagawâ pára sa lahát ng táo at bansâ, sa layúning ang báwat táo at báwat galamáy ng lipúnan, na láging nása ísip ang Pahayág na itó, ay magsíkap sa pamamagítan ng pagtutúrò at edukasyón na maitagúyod ang paggálang sa mgá karapatán at kalayáang itó at sa pamamagítan ng mgá hakbáng na pagsúlong na pambansâ at pandaigdíg, ay makamtán ang pangkalahatán at mabísang pagkilála at pagtalíma sa mgá itó, magíng ng mgá mamamayán ng mgá Kasáping Estádo at ng mgá mamamayán ng mgá teritóryo na nása ilálim ng kaniláng nasasakúpan.

Article 1 Únang Artíkulo
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Báwat táo'y isinílang na may láyà at magkakapantáy ang tagláy na dangál at karapatán. Silá'y pinagkaloóban ng pangangatwíran at budhî na kailángang gamítin nilá sa pagtuturíngan nilá sa díwà ng pagkakapatíran.

See also




  1. ^ "English pronunciation of Filipino".
  2. ^ a b c Constitution of the Philippines 1987, Article XIV, Sections 6 and 7
  3. ^ a b Nolasco, Ricardo Ma. (August 24, 2007). "Filipino and Tagalog, Not So Simple". Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2019.{{ cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown ( link)
  4. ^ Pineda, Ponciano B.P.; Cubar, Ernesto H.; Buenaobra, Nita P.; Gonzalez, Andrew B.; Hornedo, Florentino H.; Sarile, Angela P.; Sibayan, Bonifacio P. (May 13, 1992). "Resolusyon Blg 92-1" [Resolution No. 92-1]. Commission on the Filipino Language (in Tagalog). Retrieved May 22, 2014. Ito ay ang katutubong wika, pasalita at pasulat, sa Metro Manila, ang Pambansang Punong Rehiyon, at sa iba pang sentrong urban sa arkipelago, na ginagamit bilang.
  5. ^ Commission on the Filipino Language Act 1991, Section 2
  6. ^ "Spanish Colony 1565 - 1898". Archived from the original on December 27, 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  7. ^ Ambeth Ocampo (August 1, 2014). "Vocabulario de la lengua tagala". Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  8. ^ Juan José de Noceda, Pedro de Sanlúcar, Vocabulario de la lengua tagala, Manila 2013, pg iv, Komision sa Wikang Filipino
  9. ^ Vocabulario de la lengua tagala at Google Books; Manila (1860).
  10. ^ Juan José de Noceda, Pedro de Sanlúcar, Vocabulario de la lengua tagala, Manila 2013, Komision sa Wikang Filipino
  11. ^ "Educadores y sabios adredemente olvidados". Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  12. ^ Commonwealth Act No. 184 (November 13, 1936), AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A NATIONAL LANGUAGE INSTITUTE AND DEFINE ITS POWERS AND DUTIES, Official Gazette of the Philippine Government, archived from the original on April 9, 2023, retrieved May 22, 2020
  13. ^ a b Aspillera, P. (1981). Basic Tagalog. Manila: M. and Licudine Ent.
  14. ^ Executive Order No. 134 (December 30, 1937), Proclaming the national language of the Philippines based on the "Tagalog" language, Official Gazette of the Philippine Government, archived from the original on September 24, 2021, retrieved May 22, 2020
  15. ^ a b "- Presidential Proclamations".
  16. ^ "Ebolusyon ng Alpabetong Filipino". Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  17. ^ Andrew Gonzalez (1998). "The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines" (PDF). Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 19 (5, 6): 487. doi: 10.1080/01434639808666365. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 16, 2007. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
  18. ^ a b Andrew Gonzalez (1998), "The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines" (PDF), Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 19 (5, 6): 487–488, doi: 10.1080/01434639808666365, retrieved March 24, 2007.
  19. ^ Frequently Asked Questions on the National Language (PDF). Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 27, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  20. ^ Tan, Michael L. (August 29, 2014). "Behind Filipino (2)". Pinoy Kasi.
  21. ^ "What the PH constitutions say about the national language". Rappler. August 7, 2014.
  22. ^ Constitution of the Philippines 1973
  23. ^ Amended Constitution of the Philippines 1976
  24. ^ Constitution of the Philippines 1987
  25. ^ "- Executive Orders".
  26. ^ Republic Act No. 7104 (August 14, 1991), Commission on the Filipino Language Act, retrieved November 5, 2014
  27. ^ "Resolusyon Blg. 92-1" (in Filipino). Commission on the Filipino Language. May 13, 1992. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
  28. ^ "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: fil". Summer Institute of Linguistics. Retrieved July 24, 2007.
  29. ^ "3 Bulacan courts to use Filipino in judicial proceedings". August 22, 2007. Archived from the original on June 4, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  30. ^ "Proklama Blg. 12, March 26, 1954,".
  31. ^ a b "Proclamation No. 186 of September 23, 1955,". Archived from the original on June 18, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  32. ^ "Proklamasyon Blg. 1041, s. 1997 – GOVPH".
  33. ^ Congressional Record : Plenary Proceedings of the 14th Congress, First Regular Session : House of Representatives Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Vol. 1, No. 11, August 14, 2007, pp. 455-460 (Rep. López opens the discussion)
  34. ^ Wolff, J.U. (2010). Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Elsevier. pp.  1035–1038. ISBN  978-0-08-087775-4.
  35. ^ Paul Morrow (July 16, 2010). "The Filipino language that might have been". Pilipino Express. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  36. ^ "New center to document Philippine dialects". Asian Journal. June 18, 2007. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved June 30, 2007 – via
  37. ^ "Wika / Maraming Wika, Matatag na Bansa – Chairman Nolasco". Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  38. ^ Martinez, David (2004). A Country of Our Own: Partitioning the Philippines. Los Angeles: Bisaya Books. p. 202. ISBN  9780976061304.
  39. ^ "Universal Declaration of Human Rights". October 6, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2021.


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Further reading