Magazine article Heritage

The Use of Pilipino/Fllipino/Philippines: A Primer

Magazine article Heritage

The Use of Pilipino/Fllipino/Philippines: A Primer

Article excerpt

Dr. Flores is a professor of education at San Francisco State University. She is also a columnist and education and culture section editor of The Manila Bulletin USA. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, her Master's from University of Pennsylvania, and her undergraduate degree from the Philippines. She taught at the University of the Philippines and worked as a Teacher Educator for UNESCO, Paris for many years before coming to the United States.

Thanks to our general sloppiness in ways of thinking and speaking, we have sufficiently confused everyone on the use of Pilipino/Filipino/Philippines. Many of us born in the Philippines have no trouble applying the words Pilipino/Filipino, Pilipinas/Philippines because we learned the rules of usage intuitively, but pity the others who do not share our common background and experience.

We owe it to our friends and associates to be succint when we use these terms. Many of our listeners have a hard time figuring out what spelling and what word to use in daily parlance, and we should not add more ambiguities to the already existing confusion.

Instead we should educate our listeners and audience by being precise with our terminology and usage of the words. After all, these terms define us as a people, and albeit a proper spelling and usage are not only called for but imperatively and politically correct.

Leo James English, who came out in 1986 with a Tagalog-English dictionary makes these entries on page 1041:

1. Pilipino, adjective, Philippine. Ugaling Pilipino (Philippine custom), Wikang Pilipino (Philippine language).

2. Pilipino, Sp. noun, Filipino;

(a) any citizen of the Philippine Republic,

(b) male native or citizen of the Philippine Republic,

(c) The Filipino (Philippine) national language based on Tagalog.

3. Pilipina, Sp. noun, Filipina; a female native or citizen of the Republic of the Philippines.

4. Pilipinas, Sp. noun, Filipinas, the Philippines syn. The Republic of the Philippines.

The definitions indicate that Pilipino is synonymous with Filipino. It is clear however, that the word beginning with P is Tagalog, and the word beginning with F is Spanish.

Many Philippine writers use Filipino in their writings. It is simply because they write in English. If they are writing in Tagalog, or speaking Tagalog, there is absolutely no ambiguity because the term used is always Pilipino.

Therefore, the rule is: when speaking in Tagalog or any of the Philippine languages, the right spelling is Pilipino with a P. Whether you mean the adjective form, or the noun form, the word used is always the one beginning with a P. The reasons are straightforward and clear.

In majority of Philippine syllabaries of alphabet, there is no letter "F." Thus, whichever letter to use is indeed moot, it will always be Pilipino. Some time ago, however, Senator Francisco Tatad emphasized Filipino to denote the National Language. His point was that the national language would soon incorporate the word "f" and would be generously based, not just Tagalog based.

F also gives the connotation that we are capable of pronouncing the word F even though it is missing in our ancient alphabet. Already a few of our writers are beginning to use Filipino to mean the National Language. Here in the United States, the correct form is still Pilipino but who knows, it may change in the future.

When you mean the people of the Philippines, the correct form is FILIPINOS, Filipina if a female, and Filipino if a male. One can clearly see the effects of Spanish grammar gender forms and orthography in the terminologies. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.