The Metamorphosis of Filipino as National Language

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The Metamorphosis of Filipino as National Language

By | October 2012
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The Metamorphosis of Filipino as National Language

By Jessie Grace U. Rubrico

Filipino is the term used in both the 1973 and 1987 Philippine constitutions to designate as the "national language" of the Philippines, whether de jure or de facto, it matters not has come full-circle to prick the national consciousness and lay its vexing burden at the feet of our national planners, as well as of the academe. For indeed, the past six decades (since 1935) has seen "Pilipino" (or "Filipino," it’s more acceptable twin ) tossed in the waves of controversies between the pros and the antis as each camp fires off volleys of linguistic cognoscente or even garbage, as the case may be, while the vast majority watched with glee or boredom. 

With a strong constitutional mandate to evolve, further develop, and enrich Filipino "on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages" (Art. XIV, Sec.6, 1986 Constitution), our language planners were supposedly equipped to deal with the legal and administrative details of the problem, after the sad episodes appurtenant to its admittedly emotional sideshows in the 1971 Constitutional Convention (Santos, 1976) and the polemical articles of Vicente Sotto, et. al. (Rubrico, 1996), among others.

But after more than 60 years, has Filipino truly metamorphosed into a Philippine national language? To what extent? What has been its "success stories"? Its failures? What is its current state or condition in the present? What needs to be further done? What is in store for the future? What are the development prospects of the other non-Tagalog languages of the Philippines for integration into Filipino? What are the pervasive influence of English or of other foreign languages on today's speakers? 

This paper is an indicative study of of Filipino's current lexicon, particularly borrowings from the English language --an ineluctable task, but necessary nonetheless, if one has to face honestly the current phenomenon to be described more...

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