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Living languages

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KWF’s Buwan ng Wika (or Language Month) theme for 2021 is “Filipino and native tongues in Filipino decolonization.” The theme promotes the use of native languages to better reflect Filipino perspectives. It is in line with the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines (2021 QCP), which commemorates significant events over the nation’s past 500 years.

According to language resource Ethnologue, there are 183 living languages spoken in the Philippines, the majority of which are indigenous tongues. The most utilized languages — according to their order of use — are Tagalog, Cebuano, Pangasinan, Bicol, Hiligaynon, Waray, Kapampangan, Maranao, and Maguindanao, said Patrocinio V. Villafuerte, a poet, author, and retired professor, in an Aug. 12 webinar.

Republic Act No. 7104, which created the KWF, refers to Philippine languages as “the indigenous languages of the Philippines, including the national language and the regional and local languages.”

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