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About Cebuano Language

Cebuano is an Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines by about 20,000,000 people. It is the most widely spoken member of the Visayan languages. Cebuano is given the ISO 639-2 three letter code ceb, but has no ISO 639-1 two-letter code.

Distribution

Cebuano is spoken in Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, western parts of Leyte, some parts of Samar, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Biliran islands, southern region of Masbate island and Mindanao. Some dialects of Cebuano have different names to the language. Ethnic groups from Bohol may refer to Cebuano as Bol-anon while Cebuano speakers in Leyte identify their dialect as Kana. Speakers in Mindanao and Luzon refer to the language simply as Bisaya.

Vocabulary

Cebuano has been influenced by thousands of words from Spanish, such as krus [cruz] (cross), swerte [suerte] ("luck"), gwapa [guapa], ("beautiful"), merkado [mercado] ("market") and brilyante [brillante] ("brilliant"). It has several hundred loan words from English as well, which are altered to conform to the limited phonemic inventory of Cebuano: brislit (bracelet), hayskul (high school), syápin (shopping) and dráyber (driver). There are also words from other languages like Arabic like Salámat ("thanks"), [Hukom or Hukm] ("judge") and Islamic words used in Mindanao like Imam, Syarip, dyihad and Islam and Sanskrit Mahárlika ("nobility") and Karma.

Cebuano started to appear in writing during the early part of 18th century under influence from Spanish missionaries. As a result of Spanish influence, Cebuano contains many words of Spanish origin.

Cebuano alphabet and pronunciation:

  • A a B b K k D d E e G g H h I i L l M m
  • [ a ] [ b ] [ k ] [ d ] [ ɛ ] [ g ] [ h ] [ ɪ ] [ l ] [ m ]

  • N n Ng ng O o P p R r S s T t U u W w Y y
  • [ n ] [ ŋ ] [ ɔ ] [ p ] [ r ] [ s ] [ t ] [ u ] [ w ] [ j ]

Sample text in Cebuano

Ang tanang katawhan gipakatawo nga may kagawasan ug managsama sa kabililhon. Sila gigasahan sa salabutan ug tanlag og mag-ilhanay isip managsoon sa usa'g-usa diha sa diwa sa ospiritu.

Translation - All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

National and official languages

Spanish was the original official language of the country for more than three centuries, and became the lingua franca of the Philippines in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1863 a Spanish decree introduced universal education, creating free public schooling in Spanish. It was also the language of the Philippine Revolution, and the 1899 Malolos Constitution proclaimed it as the official language of the First Philippine Republic. National hero José Rizal wrote most of his works in Spanish, Luciano de la Rosa, established that it was spoken by a total of 60% of the population in the early 1900s as a first, second or third language. Following the American occupation of the Philippines and the imposition of English, the use of Spanish declined gradually, especially after the 1940s.

Under the U.S. occupation and civil regime, English began to be taught in schools. By 1901, public education used English as the medium of instruction. Around 600 educators (called "Thomasites") who arrived in that year aboard the USS Thomas replaced the soldiers who also functioned as teachers. The 1935 Constitution added English as an official language alongside Spanish. A provision in this constitution also called for Congress to "take steps toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages." On November 12, 1937, the First National Assembly created the National Language Institute. President Manuel L. Quezon appointed native Waray-Waray speaker Jaime C. De Veyra to chair a committee of speakers of other regional languages. Their aim was to select a national language among the other regional languages. Ultimately, Tagalog was chosen as the base language December 30, 1937.

In 1939, President Manuel L. Quezon renamed the Tagalog language as Wikang Pambansa ("National language" in English translation).[4] The language was further renamed in 1959 as Pilipino by Secretary of Education Jose Romero. The 1973 constitution declared the Pilipino language to be co-official, along with English, and mandated the development of a National language, to be known as Filipino.

The present constitution, ratified in 1987, stated that Filipino and English are both the official languages of the country. Filipino also had the distinction of being a national language that was to be "developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages." Although not explicitly stated in the constitution, Filipino is in practice almost completely composed of the Tagalog as spoken in the capital, Manila; however, organizations such as the University of the Philippines began publishing dictionaries such as the UP Diksyonaryong Filipino in which words from various Philippine languages were also included. The constitution also made mention of Spanish and Arabic, both of which are to be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.

Filipino is an official language of education, but less important than English. It is the major language of the broadcast media and cinema, but less important than English as a language of publication (except in some domains, like comic books, which are meant to speak directly to the Filipino psyche) and less important for academic-scientific-technological discourse. English and Filipino compete in the domains of business and government.[dubious – discuss] Filipino is used as a lingua franca in all regions of the Philippines as well as within overseas Filipino communities, and is the dominant language of the armed forces (except perhaps for the small part of the commissioned officer corps from wealthy or upper middle class families) and of a large part of the civil service, most of whom are non-Tagalogs.

Nobody questions that there is diglossia in the case of Filipino and the other regional languages. In this case, Filipino can clearly be labeled as the acrolect (the "standard") and the regional languages the basilect.

The Constitution of the Philippines provides for the use of the vernacular languages as auxiliary languages in provinces where Filipino is not the lingua franca. This is however not implemented as Filipinos at large would be polyglots. In the case where the vernacular language is a regional language, Filipinos would speak in Filipino when speaking in formal situations while the regional languages are spoken in non-formal settings. This is evident in major urban areas outside the National Capital Region like Laoag[dubious – discuss] and Vigan[dubious – discuss] in the Ilocano-speaking area, and Davao in the Cebuano-speaking area. Although the case of Ilocano and Cebuano are becoming more of bilingualism than diglossia due to the publication of materials written in these languages.

The diglossia is more evident in the case of other languages such as Pangasinan, Kapampangan, Bikol, Waray, Hiligaynon, Sambal, and Maranao, where the written variant of the language is becoming less and less popular to give way to the use of Filipino. Although Philippine laws consider some of these languages as "major languages" there is little, if any, support coming from the government to preserve these languages. This may be bound to change, however, given current policy trends.[5] Although Philippine linguists would agree that there is still no danger of these languages becoming extinct in the near future, the lack of support from the government makes these languages prone to “bastardation”.

There still exists another type of diglossia, which is between the regional languages and the minority languages. Here, we label the regional languages as acrolects while the minority languages as the basilect. In this case, the minority language is spoken only in very intimate circles, like the family or the tribe one belongs to. Outside this circle, one would speak in the prevalent regional language, while maintaining an adequate command of Filipino for formal situations. Unlike the case of the regional languages these minority languages are always in danger of becoming extinct because of speakers favoring the more prevalent regional language. Moreover, most of the users of these languages are illiterate and as expected, there is a chance that these languages will no longer be revived due to lack of written records.

 

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