Filipinos Also Speak Other Languages and Dialects

Before you end this module, there is one final lesson you need to study. It is true
that the Philippines must have a national language. We must all work together to
achieve this goal. But we must not do so at the expense of forgetting or taking for
granted other languages or dialects spoken in the country. The national language must
not be used as an instrument with which to shut off other cultures or other people.

It is important for you to understand that although it is very important that you
learn to speak our national language, this does not mean it is the only language you
should speak. Speaking in English or in your own dialect does not mean you are not
nationalistic or that you honor our national language less. You can learn to speak the
national language, value your local dialect and be fluent in English at the same time!

In this lesson we will discuss the importance and the functions of the different
Filipino dialects and languages as well as our secondary language, English, in our lives
as Filipinos.

Let’s Try This

Look at the picture below. Take note of the signs that you see.
New Picture (0)

Does this street look familiar? It is just like any street you would see anywhere in
the Philippines. How many signs were you able to spot? Write them down below.

What do these signs have in common? They are all written in English! These are
familiar signs you see all over the country.

Try to look around your neighborhood. Count how many signs, posters and
advertisements are written in English.

How many were you able to count?

Let’s Try This

Study the picture below.New Picture (1)

Let’s Think About This

  1. What is the picture trying to show?

  2. Do you believe that what is portrayed in the picture is really happening in our
    country today? How?

  3. Is the situation being portrayed in the picture good or bad for us and for our
    country? Why?

Now compare your answers with the ones below:

  1. The Filipino superhero represents the Filipino language. The superhero with the word English on its chest represents the English language.
    The picture shows how Filipino is taking the center stage. It is pushing the English language out of the scene. This illustrates how the Filipino language is becoming the sole medium of communication in the Philippines.
  2. Although English is still widely used in the country today, Filipino is
    becoming the most favored medium of communication. Although Filipino
    remains the language of the masses, even those in the middle class are now
    using Filipino to communicate with each other. Filipino is now the language
    in school corridors and canteens, in homes and neighborhoods, restaurants,
    supermarkets, newspaper, news broadcasts, TV programs, etc. On the other
    hand, Filipino has not replaced English as the written and read language of
    higher education, in government correspondences and communication, and
    in professional licensure exams.
  3. The issue on the use of Filipino as the sole medium of instruction over
    English seems to be a never-ending debate. So-called patriotic citizens and
    nationalists call for unity and national pride through the use of Filipino as
    the sole medium of communication in the whole country. They argue that
    countries like Japan, North Korea, China and others were able to achieve
    economic progress without the aid of the English language.
On the other hand, these countries are now eager to learn the English
language. They see English as a tool in today’s age of information.
Advances in technology and science are written in English. Therefore, if you
want your country to be globally competitive, English is the language to
learn. Aside from this, it is the English language skills of our Philippine
labor force that attracts foreign investors. Even our Overseas Foreign
Workers (OFWs) have a competitive edge over those from other countries
because of their English speaking skills.

Let’s Read

The Bilingual Education Policy of the Department of Education, Culture and
Sports (DECS) was first implemented in 1974. It was again promulgated in
compliance with the 1987 Constitution.
The bilingual policy involves the use of both English and Filipino as mediums of
instruction in schools all over the country.

Let’s Think About This

How do you think the DECS Bilingual Education Policy will affect the status of
the English language in the Philippines? Write your ideas in the spaces provided

The bilingual policy implies that English is still recognized as a useful and
important medium of communication in the country.

Let’s Learn

Despite the existence of Filipino, the official national language, English is still
widely used in the country today. Do you know why?

English was, after all, our first national language. Filipinos have used it for many,
many years and it has taken root in our culture and consciousness. It is used in media,
like television, newspapers and radio. It is used in entertainment. It is used in official
proceedings and functions—in courtrooms, in the Senate, in government offices and
in business transactions. It is also the language of science, mathematics and

English is considered the international language and we cannot deny its
importance. We cannot use Tagalog, Filipino or any of our dialects to communicate
with people from different parts of the world. But English is used and understood in
many countries all over the world, and people all over the world understand each other
through it. The countries that use the English language cover almost half of the total
land area of the world.

Also, more and more Filipinos are going abroad to work. They are called
Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs. They go to work in other countries as laborers,
household servants, entertainers and even as professional workers. They help generate
income for our country. How can they survive in foreign countries if they do not know
how to speak English?

There are many other instances where knowledge of the English language is
important. Another example is when you are using a computer to get information from
the Internet.

New Picture (2)

Did you know that 80% of all computer websites on the Internet are in English?
The Internet is fast becoming a major force in world business and relations. It is now
the greatest source of information that people all over the world can access. What a
great loss to Filipinos if they cannot make use of this information source because
they cannot understand English!

Also, we will not be able to keep in touch with the latest advances in science and
technology if we have a poor command of English. Most researches and journals on
these matters are, after all, written in English.

Now that we have a national language, should we let go of English completely?

If you take the English language away, our culture would suffer a terrible loss. It
would be like pulling a leg off of our national identity. English is a part of our past,
our culture and our identity as Filipinos. It is, furthermore, the international language.
It is the key that can open doors for us in international relations and political growth.
Why should we throw it away?

Nevertheless, you must keep in mind that Filipino is still our national language.
English and Filipino are both important to us. We must learn to speak and appreciate
them both.

As of today, English is still a very powerful language in the country. You must
learn to speak it if you want to improve your career and your life. When applying for a
job, for instance, it would be an extra point for you if you can speak English fluently.

Let’s Try This

Look at the following picture.New Picture (3)

Let’s Think About This

  1. What does the picture portray?

  2. Do you think what is shown in the picture is good for us and for our country?
    Why or why not?

Now compare your answers with the ones below:

  1.  The picture shows the English language and Filipino, the national language,shoving aside a superhero with “dialect” written on his chest. He represents
    the many local dialects spoken in different parts of the Philippines. This
    means that because of the great importance we place on English and Filipino,
    we are setting aside or rejecting our local dialects.
  2. What is shown in the picture is not good for us and for our country. Our
    dialects are as important as English and Filipino. They have their own
    functions and roles. They should be given as much importance as the other

Let’s Read

Do you remember Nena? You met her in Lesson 1. She is the girl who lives in a
boarding house with different girls from all over the Philippines.New Picture (4)

Let’s Try This

Look at the pictures below. These people are saying “I love you” in the different
languages and dialects spoken in our country.New Picture (5)New Picture (6)
New Picture (7)
New Picture (8)
New Picture (9)
Just as there are many different ways to express love, so there are many beautiful
ways Filipinos can express themselves through their local dialects. Were you able to
find your dialect in the examples shown above and on the previous page? Using your
dialect shows that you are proud of your people and proud of your Filipino heritage.

Let’s Learn

The Philippines is made up of many different groups of people with many
beautiful but different cultures. Our dialects are representations of these diverse
cultures. If we give up our dialects, it is just like turning our backs on our cultural
identities and heritage.

Learning how to speak Filipino and English may be the key to national
development, but preserving the different dialects is the key to preserving our heritage.
This includes native songs and dances, folktales, beliefs, traditions and others. All
efforts must be made to preserve our heritage by translating them in Filipino and
propagating them through the different parts of the country.

Regional languages and provincial dialects are important because they remain the
lingua franca (common language) outside of Metro Manila. If you live in the province,
it is the language you use at home. It is the language you are most familiar with and
find easiest and most comfortable to speak every day. Because of this, most probably
you express yourself best in this language.

Be proud of your dialect. It is the embodiment of your cultural and traditional
roots. Do not be ashamed to speak it in public. But neither should you brag about it,
judging other dialect-speaking groups as inferior. We live in a culturally diverse
country. Each and every different dialect and culture is precious and beautiful,
however different each may be.

Let’s Try This

New Picture (10)
This is how Filipino, English and the local dialects should be. One should not be
considered better than the other. All are equally important. If they are allowed to work
together, they can help us improve our lives and our country.


Let’s See What You Have Learned

Fill in the blanks with the necessary words or phrases to complete the following

  1. The DECS Bilingual Education Policy involves

  2. In the Philippines, English is used in
  3. English is important for Filipino OFWs because
  4. My local dialect is important because
  5. Filipino, English and our local dialects are _________________________.
    All three together can help us attain a prosperous, peaceful and stable nation.

Compare your answers with those in the Answer Key here. If you got three
or more correct, congratulations! You have successfully finished the last lesson of
this module. You may now take the post-test. Good luck!


If you got 1, 2 or no points at all, just go back to the parts of the lesson you did
not understand before taking the post-test.

Let’s Remember

It is important for you to keep in mind that although you must learn, speak and
appreciate our national language, you should also do the same for English and the
other languages and dialects spoken in the country. They are equally important and
serve useful functions that can help us improve our lives and our country.