The Metamorphosis of Filipino as National Language Page (...continued )
by Jessie Grace U. Rubrico
The evolution of the Wikang Pambansa, now known as Filipino, has
not remained uneventful, as one finds out from the its historical
perspective in the previous section. From 1935 onwards, to the present
1990s we have seen this language develop, first as Tagalog-based that barely
ill-disguised itself as the "national language"--a clear victory of Manuel
L. Quezon and the espousal of the tagalistas over the Bisayan hopes
of Sotto and his Ang Suga advocates-- then, in 1959 acquiring
the term "Pilipino"given to it by executive fiat to remove the last vestiges
of "tagalogism" and imprint its national character. In 1965, when the "puristas"
(purists) attempted to enhance the vocabulary through artificial wordsmithing
and thereby intensifying the 'word war" with their critics. Then, beginning
in the 1970s which saw Pilipino finally
being used as medium of
instruction at the primary and secondary levels of public and private schools.
And, lastly, from its 1987 constitutional enshrinement as "Filipino" to
the present --an amalgamation of Pilipino/Tagalog, Spanish, and a
preponderance for English in respelled forms.
Some lexical items given in the Appendix will now be discussed here
as representing a type of dominant Filipino written or spoken in: (a) the
academe;(b) a language journal; (c) a Cebuano weekly of general circulation;
(d) an article written by a noted Filipino linguists; (e) a series of TV
news broadcasts, and (f) some Metro Manila daily tabloids. The choice of
sources for these lexical items is rather arbitrary, albeit on firm linguistic
ground that the best sources of data are the people themselves --what they
speak, what they read, and so on. In this study,Tagalog and Cebuano speakers
are taken as a combined language group comprising more
than 50 per cent of the Philippine population (Atienza, 1996, citing NSO
1989 figures) with 92 per cent of Filipinos being able to speak the wikang
pambansa, thus effectively establishing Filipino as the lingua franca
of the country, if not, as the national language itself.
Exhibit A (please see Appendix) presents some lexical items used by
professors of the University of the Philippines in their publications in
Filipino on the same topic. These terms are arrayed alongside their English
equivalent. Thus, konsiderasyon is "consideration" (respelled form),
natural is, likewise, "natural" (adopted form). The original
data of about 600 terms show consistency on the aforementioned forms.
Exhibit B, with lexical items sourced from the writings of of a distinguished
group of Filipino writers, exhibits the same forms --respelled, affixed,
or adopted (e.g., diyagram, kategorya, and
C, with lexical items from the highly popular and widely-circulated Cebuano
weekly, Bisaya, shows a close congruence of Filipino
usage as its staid counterparts above (Exhibits A and B). For instance,
for "to deposit," and tiloring
Exhibit D shows some lexical items from one of the works of the foremost
proponent of the "universal approach" to Philippine languages (Constantino,
1974). These items are unabashed borrowing from the English language, such
as fyutyur (future), vawel (vowel),
(subjective), and diksyunari (dictionary).
Exhibit E is a transcription of terms used in selected, highly-rated
TV newscasts in Filipino.Typically, the commentary is fast-paced, accompanied by
live "on the spot" camera footages, with words pouring out in staccato
manner, like administrasyon, kovereyj, masaker, trafik apdeyt,insedente,
aprobahan, and the like. (The respelling of these English equivalent
in Filipino is the researcher's alone, consistent with the phonological
rules of Philippine languages.)
Exhibit F lists lexical terms from the proliferating Metro Manila tabloids
written in Filipino and read by the masa, the "man in the street"
literally. Familiar words like mentaliti (mentality), sektor
isyu (issue), and abroad (abroad).
Taken as a whole, the lexical items drawn from Exhibits A toF reveal
a common, tell-tale pattern of usage one can ignore at his/herown peril.
point ot a heavy and consistent borrowing from the English language.
Why this phenomenon is so will be explained in the next section.
Next Page :
Towards a Theory of Filipino