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How Many Dialects are there in the Philippines?

How Many Dialects are there in the Philippines?
philippines language
(Last Updated On: September 6, 2023)

Humans are a unique bunch. In the beginning, we had limited options. We didn’t know much about our world, we didn’t even know much about ourselves. We were unaware of our potential. We had no tools, no way of learning, no healthcare facilities. But we managed to come a long way from that past all on our own. No aliens came from the sky to give us a secret formula for progress. We managed to build roads, travel the world, and learn about the things around us. We have gotten to know ourselves better than we did before and we continue to study the minds of our species to learn more.

We also know about animals and marine life today. But our biggest achievement has to be technology because, without it, nothing would have gotten better for us. Our agriculture improved with the help of machines. We can make clothes quicker than we did before. We can also diagnose diseases at their early stages and treat the ones that used to be uncurable a couple of centuries ago. We have managed to learn not only about our world but also about the stars. We continue to expand the limits of our knowledge and keep pushing ourselves to become better than yesterday.

Another remarkable thing about humans is their will to inhabit lands they knew nothing about beforehand. Although all of our inhabitable lands are surrounded by water, islands are a bit scarier. They are small pieces of land surrounded by water from all sides. Considering how little we know about the ocean we could have stayed away from all the islands on earth. But that’s not what humans are all about. We not only visited but also made our homes on plenty of islands around the world. Some countries are made up entirely of islands. We have inhabited even the very small islands and if they are too small for houses, we build lighthouses on them.

dialects in the philippines

Today, some of the smallest islands in the world have populations as low as 50 people. Did you know people can also buy an island and build whatever they want on it? Well, now you do. Some businessmen buy islands to build resorts on them as they are the perfect location for the lovers of water sports. All the water activities you can think of can be done easily on an island.

History of the Philippines:

The Philippines is a country that is made up entirely of islands. There are more than seven thousand islands that inhabit over a hundred million people. Filipinos are also known for making up one of the largest diasporas in the world because 10 million of them live overseas. The Philippines is also known for its hundreds of volcanoes. It is a young country, gaining independence only in 1946. If you think that three meals a day are not enough, then you should move to the Philippines because its people think the same thing. They have four meals a day including an afternoon snack.

The citizens of the Philippines are some of the tech savviest people you will ever meet. They love taking selfies and people of all ages are active on at least one social media platform in the Philippines. The country is not only known for having beautiful beaches but also for its culture.

More than 180 languages are spoken in the Philippines. Filipino or standard Tagalog is the national language of the region. The Tagalog language and English language are the official languages in the country and English is used by the Government offices as well.

Tagalog is the language of instruction in all schools of the Philippines.

Major languages spoken in the Philippines include:

  • Tagalog.
  • English.
  • Ilocano.
  • Pangasinan.
  • Pampango.
  • Bicol.
  • Cebuano.
  • Hiligaynon.
  • Waray-Samarnon.
dialects in the philippines
How Many Dialects Are Spoken in the Philippines?

This Asian country is the eighth-most populated state on the continent. Despite gaining independence in the middle of the last century, Filipinos have managed to keep their regional languages alive and safe from the effects of colonizers. According to an estimate, there are between 150 to 180 languages that are spoken in the country. However, most of these only have a few speakers. Thirteen out of 150 have one million speakers.

When it comes to dialects, there are eight of them in this country. They are: Tagalog, Waray, Bikol, Cebuano, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Hiligaynon, and Pangasinan. Out of these, Tagalog’s variety known as Filipino is recognized as the official language of the country. English also enjoys the same status in the constitution of the Philippines. The citizens of this country are fluent in English. More than ninety percent of the population speaks English. So, even if people can’t communicate with each other in their regional languages, they can do so in English.

English is not the only foreign tongue spoken in this state. Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Punjabi are among the list of other foreign vernaculars which are spoken by immigrants in the Philippines. The colonization has had one effect on the Filipino languages, they are written in the Latin script today instead of the indigenous scripts of the past. When someone needs the translation of a document that originated from the Philippines, it is important to know exactly which language is used in it.

Although it is highly unlikely for a regional vernacular to show up on a document, the same can’t be said about the different dialects spoken in the country. Depending on the dialect, the words can have different meanings and therefore the wrong translation can result in a misunderstanding. It is important to choose the right translator for your documents, someone who has plenty of experience dealing with documents from the Philippines and can tell the difference between different dialects. Once you find a suitable person for the translation, you can rest assured that your document will be interpreted accurately.

There are some 120 to 187 Philippine languages. However, when it comes to dialects, there are 111 dialects in the Philippines. A large number of dialects is the indicator of the subdivisions of the regions and the culture within the islands.

There are 8 major dialects that are spoken all across the country. They are:

Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon (Ilonggo), Ilocano, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Tagalog, and Waray

It may sound easy to name all the 187 languages but that’s not possible. You’ll need to do some detailed research to get all of them.

There are regional languages such as Aklanon, Basian, Bikol, Ilocano, Ilonggo, Ivatan, Maranao, Tagalog, Kapampangan, Kinaray-a, Waray, Maguindanao, Pangasinan,Cebuano, Chavacano, Hiligaynon, Ibanag,  Sambal, Surigaonon, Tausug, and Yakan.

Then there are foreign languages that include Chinese (various types), Arabic, Spanish, Japanese,  Malay, Tamil, and Korean. Spoken in many major cities, these immigrant languages also have their place in the Filipino communities.

Of course, you can’t forget that there are two national languages i.e, the Filipino language which is also the native language, and the English language. Both these languages are used as a medium of instruction in both private and public schools, as well as used by government officials for official purposes. Tagalog, however, is a more prevalent method of formal education in public schools.

It is also worth noting that during colonial rule in the 19th century, the Spanish language was the official language of the islands. Even the national anthem was in Spanish under Spanish rule. Later in the early 20th Century, English gained more significance under American rule.

The tribal populations such as the Mangyan still use their indigenous language.

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