Filipinos Speak Filipino

We have talked a lot about how our present official national language developed.
We have also learned about studies that show how Filipino is increasingly becoming
accepted and spoken by more and more Filipinos every year. We have said that every
Filipino must learn to speak Filipino in order for us to grow in strength and unity as a
nation. But what exactly is Filipino? This is a very important question, and one that we
will try to answer here.

After studying this lesson, you should know our national language fairly well.
You should be able to tell the difference between it and other Philippine languages,
particularly Tagalog. You should also be able to tell when and how it should be used.

Let’s Try This

Below is a paragraph in Tagalog. Read it carefully.

Pumasok ang guro sa silid-aralan dala ang kanyang mga aklat. Sumulat siya
sa pisara sa pamamagitan ng tisa, at inutusan niya ang mga mag-aaral na kunin
ang kanilang mga takdang-aralin.

Now try writing that again, this time in Filipino.

Compare your translation with the one below.

Pumasok ang titser sa klasrum dala ang kanyang mga libro. Sumulat siya sa
blakbord sa pamamagitan ng tsok, at inutusan niya ang mga estudyante na kunin
ang kanilang mga asayment.

How did you find the activity? Did you have any difficulty translating the
paragraph into Filipino?

Let’s Think About This

  1. Do you think Filipino is just Tagalog with a new name?

  2. If you answered no to the first question, how do you think Filipino is different from Tagalog? Use the translation in the previous activity to guide you.

You will find out more about this issue in the discussion that follows.

Let’s Learn

If you will observe the translation on page 28, you will notice that Filipino is still
very similar to Tagalog, but many words have been changed. Let us look at some of

guro titser
silid-aralin klasrum
aklat libro
pisara blakbord
tisa tsok
mag-aaral estudyante
takdang-aralin asayment

Can you see how the words have been changed? More importantly, can you tell
why they have been changed?

Look at the new Filipino words again. Do they sound familiar? They probably do.
They are borrowings from other languages spoken in the Philippines, particularly
English and Spanish. If you look at them closely, you will notice that:

titser is derived from the English word teacher;
klasrum is derived from the English word classroom;
libro is the exact same Spanish word for “book”;
blakbord is derived from the English word blackboard;
tsok is derived from the English word chalk;
estudyante is derived from the Spanish word estudiante; and
asayment is derived from the English word assignment.

So you can see that Filipino is different from Tagalog because it borrows more
heavily from other languages. Words from other languages are respelled, adopted,
affixed and borrowed. They are often written the way they are pronounced by
Filipinos. This is done in order to acknowledge the fact that these languages are a big
part of our culture. Most Filipinos often use these English and Spanish words instead
of their Tagalog equivalents. They are commonly used in everyday conversations and
even in television and radio programs and newspapers. At present, Filipino borrows
most heavily from the English language. Here are some more Filipino terms borrowed
or adapted from English:

accusation akusasyon faculty fakulti
action aksyon graduate gradweyt
appointed apoynted identity aydentiti
artificial artipisyal individual indibidwal
broadcast brodkast mass media mas midya
business bisnis national nasyonal
category kategori official opisyal
chairman tserman physical pisikal
commercial komersyal property properti
committee komite qualification kwalipikasyon
context konteksto sector sektor
control kontrol sentence sentens
conversation kumbersasyon situation sitwasyon
crisis krisis spiritual ispiritwal
declared idineklara stress istres
deliberate delibereyt textbook teksbuk
discussion diskasyon tricycle traysikol
election eleksyon variety barayti
elementary elementari version bersyon

We have looked at the foreign borrowings in the Filipino language, but what about
the borrowings from the local languages? Remember that in the 1987 Constitution,
Filipino is supposed to be “further developed and enriched on the basis of existing
Philippine and other languages.”

At present there are very few borrowings in the Filipino language from other
local languages. This is understandable because Filipino is still in the process of
development. Let us just hope that, in the future, the definition of Filipino as stated in
our Constitution will be fulfilled. That is, Filipino will hopefully contain more
borrowings from other Philippine languages.

Let’s Think About This

Based on what we have discussed so far, how would you describe the Filipino

Compare your answer with the one below:

The Filipino language is meant to be a beautiful mixture of different words,
concepts and tones from many languages used in the Philippines. Today, however, it
is still in the process of development and contains very few borrowings from local
languages. It is still based on Tagalog but it borrows heavily from many foreign
languages, most especially English.

Let’s Try This

Read the situations below and answer the questions asked.

New Picture
New Picture (1)
New Picture (2)
New Picture (3)

In the spaces below, write what you think each of the Filipinos above must do:





Do all your answers involve the use of Filipino, our national language? If so, then
you are right! Pedro must use Filipino in order to do business with the Samareños.
Julia should speak in Filipino in order to make friends and to work well with her
Manileño co-workers. Polo should make sure his film is in Filipino in order for all
Filipinos to understand it. Finally, Vina should sing her songs in Filipino so that the
entire country can understand and appreciate them. What does this tell you about the
use of Filipino?

Before we answer that question, let’s look at another situation.

Let’s Read

New Picture (4)

Loida is from Davao. She speaks Cebuano. She and her husband Dodong plant
orchids. They live in a small house beside the road. People passing by can see the
beautiful flowers that they grow. One day, Carmina, a flower shop owner from Manila,
noticed the flowers.

Carmina wanted to buy orchids for her shop. But since she was from Manila she
didn’t know how to speak Cebuano. It was a good thing Loida and Carmina both knew
how to speak Filipino. They were able to do business successfully. The two decided that
Loida and her husband would provide flowers for Carmina’s shop at a price that they
would set monthly.

To celebrate their sale and good fortune, Loida decided to take her children out for
a treat. They wanted to watch the new movie showing in town, starring a local action
hero. They invited Carmina to watch with them. Everyone enjoyed the movie because it
was written and performed in Filipino and they could all understand it very well.

After the nice movie, Carmina gave Loida and Dodong a book by F. Sionil Jose,
written in Filipino, as a parting gift. She also gave their children a casette tape of their
favorite song—“Sana Maulit Muli,” sung by Gary Valenciano. Eventually, Loida and
Carmina developed a good business relationship as well as a lasting friendship. To this
day, they often write each other letters, in Filipino of course!

Let’s Think About This

Based on the story, in what instances is Filipino useful as a medium of

Compare your answer with the one below:

In the story, the characters’ knowledge of Filipino became useful when:

  1. Carmina arranged for Loida to supply flowers to her flower shop in Manila;
  2. Carmina, Loida and her children watched a movie;
  3. Carmina gave Loida and Dodong a book;
  4. Carmina gave the children a casette tape of a Filipino song; and
  5. Carmina and Loida developed a good friendship and frequently wrote letters
    to each other.

This tells us that Filipino is useful in business transactions, in film, in literature,
in music and in personal communications between Filipinos from different provinces
or areas. In all of these cases it helps our people understand each other better and live
in harmony and peace.

Let’s Learn

There are no clear rules about the proper situations in which Filipino should be
spoken. You should use your common sense regarding this matter. But the instances in
which Filipino may be spoken and in which it can, in fact, be very useful include:

  1. Business transactions
    If everyone speaks a national language, business transactions between
    Filipino entrepreneurs and small businessmen from different parts of the
    Philippines would be possible.
  2. Education
    It is important that Filipino be taught in schools, so that children will be
    able to learn the national language. Aside from this, other subjects may also
    be taught in Filipino. The DECS Bilingual Education Policy provides for the
    use of Filipino and English in schools. This will be discussed more in the
    next lesson.
  3. Services
    Filipino will be very useful in many important services involving health,
    transportation, calamity relief and others. A Cebuano doctor needs to
    understand what is ailing his Pampango patient, for example. Without the use
    of a common language like Filipino, how can they understand each other?
  4. Literature and entertainment
    Movies, television shows, books and other forms of entertainment
    would be better understood by all Filipinos if they are delivered or written in
    a language common to all. In fact, the use of Filipino in literature and
    entertainment is one of the best ways to teach the people how to speak
    Filipino. It is also a good way to show the beauty of the language.
  5. Information
    Important news events and other significant pieces of information, if
    broadcast or delivered in Filipino, may be easily understood by people from
    all over the country.
  6. Personal communication
    Perhaps the most important function of our national language is to bring
    us Filipinos closer together. If you use Filipino when conversing, writing
    letters or emails or in any other form of personal communication, you can
    gain many more new friends from all over the country.

Let’s See What You Have Learned

  1. Answer the following questions.
  2. Enumerate the instances that we have discussed in which the Filipino
    language may be spoken and may in fact be very useful. Cite an example for
    each. (2 points each)

Compare your answers with those in the Answer Key on pages 53–54. Are all or
most of your answers correct? The perfect score for this test is 20. If you got 11 and
above, very good! You have passed the test and may go to the last lesson.

If you got 10 points and below, that’s okay. Review this lesson first before
proceeding to the next one.

Let’s Remember

  • Filipino is different from Tagalog because it contains heavy borrowings
    from English and other languages. It is meant to be a mixture of different
    languages used in the Philippines. Today, however, it is still in the process of
    development and contains very few borrowings from local languages. It is
    still based on Tagalog but it borrows heavily from many foreign languages,
    most especially English and Spanish.
  • Filipino is very useful in many aspects of life, including business, education,
    services, literature, entertainment, information and personal