Spanish Influence on Language

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on LanguageSpanish Influence on Language, Culture, and Philippine History Leslie E. Bauzon, "Influence of the Spanish Culture," translated to Nihonggo and published as "Firipin bunka eno Supein no eikyo" in Shizuo Suzuki and Shinzo Hayase (eds.), TONAN AZIA NO JITEN FIRIPIN (ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SOUTHEAST ASIA: PHILIPPINES), Kyoto: Dohosha, 1991. Pp. 195-196. Spain colonized the Philippines from 1565 to 1898. The Spaniards ruled the Filipinos for 333 years. Spanish influence on the Philippines and the Filipino inhabitants was immediately visible following the imposition of Castilian colonial sovereignty. The Spaniards transplanted their social, economic, and political institutions halfway across the world to the Philippine archipelago. The colonial masters required the native Filipinos to swear allegiance to the Spanish monarch, where before they only had village chieftains called "datus;" to worship a new God, where before they worshipped a whole pantheon of supernatural deities and divinities; to speak a new language, where before they had (and still have) a Babel of tongues; and to alter their work habits, where before they worked within the framework of a subsistence economy. The Spanish landholding system based on private ownership of land replaced the Filipino system of communal landownership. Thus, when the Spanish rule ended, the Filipinos found many aspects of their way of life bearing the indelible imprint of Hispanization. To administer the Philippines, the Spaniards extended their royal government to the Filipinos. This highly centralized governmental system was theocratic. There was a union of Church and State. The Roman Catholic Church was equal to and coterminous with the State. Therefore, the cross as well as the scepter held sway over the archipelago. While the State took care of temporal matters, the Church took care of spiritual matters and hence preoccupied itself with the evangelization and the conversion of the Filipino inhabitants from their primal religion to Roman Catholicism. The Spanish friars wanted the Philippines to become the "arsenal of the Faith" in Asia. In the process, the Spanish Catholic missionaries helped in the implantation of Castilian culture and civilization on Philippine soil. This is because Spanishness was equated with Catholicism. The two terms were virtually synonymous with one another. One was not a genuine Spaniard if he was not a faithful Roman Catholic believer. The imposition of the Roman Catholic faith upon the Filipino population permanently influenced the culture and society of the Philippines. This is due to the fact that the Spanish friars who undertook the immense task of evangelizing the Filipino natives looked at their missionary work and endeavor as involving more than simple conversion. By Christianizing the Filipinos, the Spanish Catholic missionaries were in effect remodelling Filipino culture and society according to the Hispanic standard. They would be Hispanizing the Filipinos, teaching them the trades, manners, customs, language and habits of the Spanish people. This influence is evident even in the way we tell time ("alas singko y media"), in the way we count ("uno, dos, tres"), and in the family names we carry ( De la Cruz, Reyes, Santos, etcetera). The Filipino populace embraced Spanish Roman Catholic Christianity almost unquestioningly. The Spanish authorities congregated the scattered Filipino population into clustered village settlements, where they could more easily be instructed and Christianized under a friar’s eye. This policy paved the way for the emergence of the present system of politico-territorial organization of villages, towns, and provinces. At the same time, the compact villages which were literally under the bells of the Roman Catholic Church permitted the regular clergy to wake up the villagers each day, summon them to mass, and subject them to religious indoctrination or cathechismal instruction. This process enabled the Church to play a...
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