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Language or Dialect?

by Rio Sebastian

I’ve recently been wondering about the difference between a language and a dialect. When I was in school in the early 80’s, my Filipino subject teachers would tell us there is only one language in the Philippines — Filipino or Pilipino, as we call it locally. The rest (some 300+ others), including “Tagalog” are just dialects. But nowadays, a lot of people seem to be contradicting this fact. Perhaps, there has been an update about the state of languages and dialects that exist in the Philippines. And having been away from the country for more than 10 years has made me completely unaware of this update.

And what with the overabundance of fake news and false information all over the internet, it seems like trying to find the truth of the matter in everything is like trying to find a needle in the proverbial hay stack.

I hope this video from Babbel by a reputable “liguist” could actually shed some light about what should properly be called a language and what is just a mere dialect, or a version of it. I like how she said that sometimes, the only difference between a language and a dialect is that language has an army and a navy, which means what is considered a language or a dialect is highly subjective to the political climate of the nation.

I, for one, agree with the linguist that we all speak mere dialects of a certain language.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts about this.


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