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PAZ M. BELVEZ

       The way language changes and gives rise to new varieties is not something new. Language variation is an occurrence in all languages of the earth. There are different kinds of varieties such as regional varieties or “dialects”, educational and social varieties or “socialects”, subject matter or “registers”, medium or “mode of discourses”, altitude or “style” and interference or “second-language varieties”. Filipino, the national language of the Philippines, which is Tagalog-based could not escape the influence of various regional languages of the country and of the foreign languages most especially Spanish, Chinese and English. All of these languages play dominant roles in the development and evolution of Filipino as the national lingua franca. Hence the evolvement of several varieties of Filipino.

       There are more than a hundred languages separately spoken all over the different regions. They all belong to the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages and so there is a great deal of uniformity/similarity in the grammar and lexicon, some variations can be observed on their way of pronunciation and accent. An Ilokano, for example, will speak Filipino with the Ilokano accent, while mixing naturally and effortlessly Ilokano lexicon. The same will be true to all regional language users. Hence, the emergence of different regional varieties of Filipino. Besides the accompanying regional accent noticeable also is the infusion or integration of the lexicon of the regional languages especially so with terms and lexicon not found in the Tagalog-based national language but are in the regional languages.

       Languages continuously change because it is a living organism. New words and new uses are being coined at a furious rate to describe new inventions and new experiences. As always, new words are being created at the frontiers of science, industry, culture and society. So, aside from the geographical regional varieties we have also other varieties such as the academe/professional variety or speech registers.

       The Filipino Visayan variety has the influence of the regional languages in the area such as Cebuano, Ilongo/Hiligaynon, Kiniray-a, Waray, Samarnon, Aklanon, etc., speakers of these languages would prefer the use of prefix mag in place of the Tagalog suffix um. Hence they will use:

magdating (in place of dumating) to arrive
nagkain (in place of kumain) ate
magbasa (in place of bumasa) to read
mag-ulan (in place of umulan) rained
magkain (in place of kakain) will eat

 

       Meanwhile, a positive effect on Filipino, as the national language on lingua franca of the Philippines will be the infusion/eventually integration of some words and terms from the Visayan group of languages (Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilongo, Kiniray-a, Samarnon, Waray, Aklanon, etc.) These words and terms are not in the lexicon of the Tagalog-based Filipino. These, they can be a contribution to the development and enrichment of the national language, some of these words are the following:

abi-abi (welcome)
bana (husband)
gintaipan (horizon)
kahirup (intimacy)
vihud (fish eggs)
kamingaw (nostalgia)
pagbanlaw (resurrection)
pag-uswag (development)
tagbalay (host)

 

       The emergence of the various regional varieties of Filipino from the different ethnolinguistic groups and geographical regions contributed to the development of the national lingua franca and the enrichment of its vocabulary. There is additional contribution of words and terms. Hence are some examples:

 

payao (rice terraces)
peyew (rice terraces)
bulan (moon)
adlaw (sun)
aldaw (sun)
vihud (fish eggs)
cañao (a ritual)
higala (a friend)
kalinaw (peace)
paglaun (hope)

 

       Still other words from the different varieties of Filipino may end up as synonyms like maganda, magayon,matahum, maanyag.

About the Author:
Paz M. Belvez is a retired Professor IV of the Philippine Normal University and has crafted curriculum for the same school and authored textbooks.