|Total speakers||First language: 25 million. Second language: over 60 million |
Overall: 90 million
|Ranking||23 (along with other variants of Tagalog)|
|Writing system||Latin (Filipino variant)|
|Official language in||Philippines|
|Regulated by||Commission on the Filipino Language|
(Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino)
|Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.|
Filipino is a prestige register of the Tagalog language and the name under which Tagalog is designated the national language and one of two official languages of the Philippines, the other being English. Filipino is the first language of a third of the population of the Philippines. It is centered around Manila but is known almost universally throughout the country.
On November 12, 1937, the first national assembly of the Philippines approved a law creating a National Language Institute to make a study and survey of each of the existing native languages, with a view to choosing one which was to be used as a basis for the national language of the Philippines. The three main contenders were Tagalog, Visayan, and Ilocano.
On July 14, 1936, the Surián ng Wikáng Pambansâ (National Language Institute) selected Tagalog as the basis of Wikang Pambansâ ("National Language") based on the following factors:
Later, the 1973 Constitution provided for a separate national language to replace Pilipino, a language which it named Filipino. The pertinent article, though, Article XV, Section 3(2), mentions neither Tagalog nor Pilipino as the basis for Filipino, instead calling on the National Assembly to:
take steps toward the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino.
This move has drawn much criticism from other regional groups.
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.
Republic Act No. 7104, approved on August 14, 1991, created the Commission on the Filipino Language, reporting directly to the President and tasked to undertake, coordinate and promote researches for the development, propagation and preservation of Filipino and other Philippine languages. On May 13, 1992, the commission issued Resolution 92-1, specifying that Filipino is the
However, as with the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions, 92-1 neither went so far as to categorically identify nor 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.
Filipino was presented and registered with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), by then 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. In June 2007, Ricardo Maria Nolasco, then Chair of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission on the Filipino Language), acknowledged that Filipino was simply Tagalog in syntax and grammar, with as yet no grammatical element or lexicon coming from Ilocano, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, or any of the other Philippine languages. This is contrary to the intention of Republic Act No. 7104 that requires that the national language be developed and enriched by the lexicon of the country's other languages, something that the commission is working towards. Furthermore, on August 24, 2007, Dr. Nolasco elaborated further on the relationship between Tagalog and Filipino:
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.
On August 22, 2007, 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, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Rizal and Metro Manila.
In practical terms, Filipino is the formal name of Tagalog, or even a synonym of it. It is sometimes described as "Tagalog-based", part of a political fiction that the national language is based on an amalgam of Philippine languages rather than on Tagalog alone.
One famous event which illustrated the relationship between Filipino and Tagalog occurred during the impeachment trial of the former President Joseph Estrada. When the presiding justice Hilario Davide, a Cebuano, asked which language the witness Emma Lim preferred to testify in, Lim promptly answered "Tagalog", to which Davide did not agree. According to Davide, nobody could testify in Tagalog because it is not the official language of the Philippines and there is no available interpreter from Tagalog to Filipino. However, Senator Franklin Drilon, an Ilonggo, defended the oneness of the two by saying that an interpreter will not be needed because everybody would understand the testimony in Tagalog.