Filipino Variety of Davao: A Linguistic Description*

The following paper by Jessie Grace U. Rubrico, PhD in Linguistics, validates my post above that we have a national language — and it’s not in the form the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino wants us to use. This national language is essentially a code-mixing of Tagalog, English, Spanish, etc., plus whatever language is used in the locale or region where it is spoken. It avoids the need to re-spell loan words — the re-spelling sometimes looks silly and/or difficult to recognize — to conform with Tagalog/Filipino rules KWF has promulgated — therefore, it avoids the problem for the learner to remember two or more spellings of the same word, such as “barayti” or “varayti” for “variety”, or “palisi” for “policy”. It is the lingua franca on the street, on radio, on television, in  print, social media, postings on the Internet, in the playground and at work. Even in more formal settings, it is the language used in Congress when they are not pretending to do their job, in school classrooms, in government meetings, even in a doctoral thesis I’ve read 7 years ago.

Given time and the powerful influence of the entertainment media (movies, radio and tv shows), the national language will encompass not only code-switching in English, Spanish, and other foreign languages but also various local/ethnic languages in the context of a single conversation as in, “Mabait bitaw gyud si Wendy, masanting ken nagaget and I want her to be the madre of my children!” – JPadre

Filipino Variety of Davao: A Linguistic Description*

Dr. Jessie Grace Rubrico

Dr. Jessie Grace Rubrico

By Jessie Grace U. Rubrico, PhD
Faculty of Education, University of Malaya

*Paper read at the 11th Philippine Linguistics Congress
NISMED University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, 7-9 December 2011





Filipino is the evolving national language of the Philippines. Many believe that it is the Tagalog variety of Metro Manila which has pervaded the entire country through the media, local movies, and educational institutions. There are, however, emerging varieties of Filipino which deviate from the grammatical properties of Tagalog. These are influenced by non-Tagalog speakers whose native language competencies interfere with their usage of Filipino. These Tagalog deviants are undeniably distinctive and are used by a significant segment of the non-Tagalog population in the country. The Filipino Variety of Davao City (FVD) is a case in point. This paper describes FVD – its features, morphosyntax, and innovations and how they deviate from those of Tagalog. Using as data the language used by people on the streets and the cyberspace, it is observed that this type of variety allows its speakers to freely explore Filipino without the hindrance of “correct grammar” as defined by the Filipino language authorities in Manila. Indigenizing Filipino is an emergent phenomenon in the Philippine linguistic landscape. It empowers non-Tagalog Filipino speakers to actively participate in its evolution, and to bring about the de-Tagalization of the national language.

Keywords: evolution of Filipino, varieties of Filipino, de-Tagalization, indigenization of Filipino, Taglish, Bislog, Tagbis

One thought on “Filipino Variety of Davao: A Linguistic Description*

  1. Yes. See this research:
    An Illustrated Lexicon of the Language used by Pedicab Drivers Plying the Vicinity of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

    BOOK · AUGUST 2015
    DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4682.7361
    Publisher: Lulu Press, Editor: Center for Instruction, Research and Curriculum (CIRC), ISBN: ISBN 978-1-329-18099-4 full color paperback ISBN 978-1-329-43073-0 eBook PDF

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