From a Philippine language policy blog:

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Mar 10 15:58:52 UTC 2007

Friday, March 9, 2007
Philippine National Language Policy

I posted this write-up in DILA this afternoon.

In DILA at, "melcichon" wrote:

Mabulig ako't haeugay ku inyong gina-istoryan. (Please allow me to comment
in your discussion) The American English language is a rich language
because it uses words from the French, German, Scandinavian, Dutch, Latin,
Greek, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Nahuati, Afrikaans, Russina, Indian,
Chinese, and even Tagalog like bantay.> And when Filipinos include these
foreign words into their writings, they feel proud of what they do.

But I just wonder why when we Filipinos write in Filipino with languages
from Aklan, Cebu, and other Filipino languages, we think it is badoy. And
at times, we ask ourselves: Is it worth doing it? Or simply we do not like
the idea. The Philippine national language in the next fifty years will
not be the same as it is now. By then many words from other languages in
the Philippines shall have been incorporated in Filipino. By then, the so-
called Tagalog-based Filipino will have less meaning. Then how can we
enrich our national language if we the writers in the Philippines will not
insert some words from our native tongues in our writings?

How can our indigenous languages get into the national sceneif we just
keep it? And how other people from other parts of the Philippines and even
abroad know that there is such a word if we will not start incorporating
these words now into our national language? It is a common knowledge that
for every innovation, there is always a corresponding contradiction. That
creates improvement and better understanding. By enriching the present
national language of the Philippines, we Filipinos will be proud to have
evolved an enriched national language. And it will not kill our indigenous
languages if only we help educate our people on the importance of their
own indigenous languages.

This forum is one of the bridges to that goal. Of course we do not like
that only negative words like buang, aswang, kawatan, etc, are the only
ones that get into the Filipino language. We of course like to include
words like alusiman, kuhoe, bugna into Filipino. And questions like:
Ham-at madueom ro gabii? The word hinay-hinay which is common in the
Visayas is getting into the national scene. So are Dinagyang, Ati-Ati, and
Sinulog. Someone has said that our culture is inherent in our language.

By inserting some of our indgenous words into our writings, our indigenous
cultures will have a greater chance of getting into the national stream.
This will of course enrich our national language. At the same time, our
own indigenous language can adopt other words if that word or words can
best represent our idea. Before, the word sisig was not known in Western
Visayas, but when it was featured in the tv program, people from the
provinces got its idea. Now one can buy sisig in Iloilo.

And when soneone say sisig, we know it has something to do with food.
Whether we like it or not, our indigenous languages will use words from
other languages, especially now that internet, cellphones, and other mass
media outlets are very much common to millions of Filipinos. This is the
very reason, I guess, why Dr. Leoncio Deriada has been encouraging the
writers in Western Visayas and in other parts of the Philippines to
include a word or two in their poems and other literary forms. To
popularize this idea, a state university in Iloilo City has been holding
an annual poetry competition wherein one of the languages being accepted
is Filipino with a word or two from Aklanon, Kinaray-a or Hiligaynon.

Thank you.



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