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Media forum tackles new Filipino orthography

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will hold a media forum on the Ortograpiyang Pambansa, or the newly improved orthography of the Filipino language, on Aug. 17, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Vargas Museum at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario, who is also the chairperson of the KWF, will lead the forum.

The new Filipino alphabet  added eight “new” letters after the 1987 Constitution was proclaimed.

These new letters, such as F, J, V, Z, represent sounds that occur naturally in many Philippine languages, while C, Ñ, Q, X have been added mainly to accommodate foreign borrowings, Almario said.

As examples, Almario gave the following words from native Filipino languages: safot (spider web) in Ibaloy, masjid and jalan (mosque and path, respectively) in Tausug and Maranaw, vakul (grass headdress) in Ivatan, and zigattu (east) in Ibanag.

“We must give the languages of our other Filipino brethren their due recognition and respect,” the KWF chairperson said. “We must let the regional languages participate in the actual development of the national languages.”

In fact, Almario added, “Filipinas” as the corrected spelling of the name of the country is just an application of the Ortograpiyang Pambansa.

At the same time, “Filipino” embodies the vision of a true unity of the native languages, the true unity of the regions and ethnic groupings in a nation that should be called “Filipinas,” Almario also said.

“It is in the ‘F’ of Filipino and Filipinas that the sounds of the languages of the Cordilleras, Tiboli, Bilaan, Mëranaw, Tausug and others can be heard but which are not in the tongue of the Tagalog,” Almario explained.

The media forum on Aug. 17 at the Vargas Museum in UP, which is a codification and refinement of existing rules on written Filipino, is expected to clarify many issues and correct errors on language usage.


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