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Tagalog and Other

Major Languages in
the Philippines

Ernesto Constantino

• This paper has 2 parts

– A general introduction
on the major languages
of the Philippines
– Review of the
developments in the
study of the Major
languages since the
beginning of the 20th
Major Languages
• William MacKinlay
– 8 tongues and 60
dialects (1902)
• Otley Beyer
– 43 tongues and 87
• 1960 census
– 75 tongues and 300
• Major Ethnic Groups

– Cebuano
– Tagalog
– Ilokano
– Hiligainon
– Bikolano
– Waray
– Kapangpanagn
– Pangasian

• 8 largest ethnic groups

• More than 85 percent of
the total population of the
Spread of Tagalog

40 tagalog
1939 1948 1960 1967
• In 1937 Tagalog was chosen as
the basis of the Philippine
National Language now called
• Favored because it is spoken
mainly in Metro Manila
Review of Linguistic
Three Periods

• Spanish Period

• American Period (1900)

• Independence Period
Spanish Period

• Done by friars

• Are mostly grammars,

dictionaries, catechisms,
confessionals and
Doctrinas Christianas
American Period
Army Linguists

– At 1st were mostly done

by army officers

– Produced 2 articles and 3


– Studies were done for

scientific and academic
Chief Linguists

• Cecilio Lopez (Philippines)

• Otto Scheerer (Germany)
• Morice Vanoverbergh
• Carlos Everett Connant
• Frank Blake (USA)
• Leonard Bloomfield (USA)
Historical Works
• Connant

– Did 10 articles on Phil. Major


– Government Translator

– Made 6 word lists containing

50-200 words of minor

– Seb.-Eng. Dictionary (5500

• Connant

– Pioneer in historical
reconstruction of the sounds
of the Philippines Major

– Genetic classification or
subgrouping of languages

– Investigates the origins of

the sounds f and v in the
Phil. Languages
• Constenoble

– Existence of monosyllabic
roots in the Phil. Languages

– Tag. words in which the

sound changes deviate from
regular ones are borrowed
from or influenced by Kap.

• Other Works
– Blake

• notes on Phonology in Phil.

• 3 vowels, 13 consonants, 2
dipthongs and e, r, h and
glottal stop
Descriptive Works
• Blake
– Among the 1st to become
interested in the study as
well as the teaching of the
Phil. Languages

– Made 27 articles dealing

directly with the languages
and dialects of the Phil.

– Wrote a book on Tag.

grammar and a monograph
on Tag. Accent
– Most important work is his
Grammar of Tagalog (1925)

– Stated that as a general rule

practically all any word in
Tag. belonging to any part of
speech may be verbalized

– Stated that verbs may either

be in the active or passive

– Stated verbs also express

case relation
• Bloomfield
– Grammatical Analysis of
Tagalog (1917)

– 2 revolutionary innovations
made by Bloomfield’s work:

– Made the use of

informants a must in
gathering data
– Using new grammatical
terms in place of
traditional or more
familiar ones in
describing the same
grammatical categories
• Lopez
– Wrote a comparison on Tag.
and Ilk. for his dissertation

– Manual of the Philippine

National Language

• Vanoverbergh
– Did extensive work on Ilk.
And Igorot and Negrito
Independence Period
• Began in 1946 after the 2nd
World War

• Increase in the number of

linguists and the a great
number of linguistic studies
about the Phil. Languages
were made
Three Significant
Developments in
Philippine linguistics

1. Establishment of the Phil.

Branch of the Summer
Institute of Linguistics
(SIL) -1953
2. Application of the
linguistic approach to
teaching English to the
3. Gradual increase in the
number of Filipino

• 3 attempts to classify the

Philippine Languages and

1. Northern Luzon Type

• Northern
• Southern
• Central
• Southeastern
2.Thomas and Healey
– 37 languages and dialects
including the major Languages
except Hil. and War.
3. Dyen, Isidore
– Classification of
austronesian languages
including 60 Phil.
Languages except War. and
– Subgrouping procedures
– Judgment by inspection
– Discovery of exclusively
shared innovation
– Lexicostatistic dating
• Rufus Hendon
– Wrote 2 articles on Proto-
Malayo Polynesian
reconstruction which
included Tag.

• Lopez
– Recent paper made an
attempt to trace the origins
of the Phil. Languages
• Constantino
– Syntactic analysis of the Phil.
– Groups the predicative
sentences according to the
structure of their ICs
(immediate constituent)
• Definite
• Indefinite
• Situational
– Transformational analysis of
sentences: derives passive
sentences from the active

– Says that the occurrence of

the affixes –in, i- and –an in
the tagalog is determined
not by the focus relation of
the subject to the verb but
by subclasses of the verb