Aug 13, 2020

Celebrated every August, Buwan ng Wika honors our country’s culture and identity through our language. This year’s theme is “Wika ng Kasaysayan, Kasaysayan ng Wika,” which highlights the role of the Filipino language in informing people about the pandemic.

While our national language has a significant role in informing us about the crisis, we also believe that it’s important to highlight the different languages and dialects spoken across the archipelago. With that in mind, here’s a reading list to help you understand just how diverse our country is in terms of language.

 

How does language affect our experiences?

Beyond just being used to communicate with others and express our personal feelings, language reflects how we perceive experiences and the changes in our cultural landscape.

 

Pick up a new language (or two)

We’re well aware of the debates regarding which language should be considered the country’s official language, but what about the other tongues in the country? According to Ethnologue, we have over 187 languages—175 are Indigenous languages, while eight are non-Indigenous and four are extinct. 

Over the past few years, however, various organizations have developed ways to preserve indigenous languages by helping more people learn about them:

 

Ask the tough questions

As we work towards identifying a language that expresses our thoughts and experiences, it helps to ask important questions about a national language that expresses the many tongues our citizens speak, or if it’s still important for us to continue learning Filipino in college.

 

Header photo by Lyn Rillon for Inquirer Libre

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