The native languages in the Philippines have been threatened with extinction. There is an exponential growth of endangered languages in the Philippines due to globalisation and the spread and influential use of English and Filipino.

According to Ethnologue, there are 186 languages listed in the Philippines. However, UNESCO has classified 4 languages (Dicamay Agta, Katabaga, Tayabas Ayta and Villaviciosa Agta) as extinct, meaning no more speakers since the year 2000. Currently, there are 23 languages that are considered endangered for extinction as the language is being used less in everyday life particularly in younger generations.

The Philippines is one of the most linguistically diverse countries. Languages significantly contribute to people’s cultural identity and personalities. When a language is no longer used, part of the country’s heritage will be lost. How many more Philippine languages will cease to exist?

tula contest - buwan ng wika
Twinkl Philippines id doing a poetry competition for Buwan ng Wika 2021

To what extent can we preserve a language? Preserving a language requires a collective effort from people. However, an effort from an individual can contribute; one advocate can make a difference. Use native languages for verbal expression and written communication for daily use or as a medium of instruction.

There’s a growing use of the English language at home as the language is perceived to be greater or more useful for future opportunities for children. The future of the native languages heavily relies on the younger generation. It is important for families to use the native language at home as this will help the children naturally speak it. Raising children as multilingual has benefits that will open doors of opportunities. According to Forbes, linguistic skills are appreciated by global employers particularly those that operate in international markets.

This August, an Education resource publisher, Twinkl has joined the Philippines in celebrating Buwan ng Wika by hosting a nationwide Tula Contest to encourage students in the Philippines to use the Pambansang Wika whilst thinking about the Filipino language and native languages. All schools and homeschools in the Philippines are invited to participate. To join, click here to find out more information on guidelines and prizes. The competition closes on Monday, August 30 2021 at 11:59 PM.

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