HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 1 no. 2 (2000)

The Politics of Language: Language, Ethnicity, and Nation-State in the Philippines

Andrew Gonzalez



The paper suggests that a promising new field of inquiry is politico-linguistics, and exemplifies it in the analysis of nationhood and the issue of language in the Philippines. It presents the history of the selection, development, spread, and occasional setbacks of Filipino as the national language and claims that there is now practically no resistance to it as a linguistic symbol of national identity. It suggests the need to recognize a complementarity of functions in the Filipino's linguistic repertoire: the vernacular for the home and he immediate community, the regional lingua franca for the larger community, and Filipino and English for the national community. It concludes with the idea that the Philippines is a multicultural society enriched by many cultures and languages that should eventually form a crystallizing unity.