What is the Filipino language, anyway? It’s just but something coined to rename the Manila-based Tagalog in the hopes of unifying a richly diverse archipelago that is Manila-centric.
I know of a university in this country which does not have Filipino as a required subject – a student has a choice between Filipino and English. This practice by this university did not in any way made Filipino obsolete as a subject and as a course. I think, the university always has served as a rich source of and for Filipino language experts.
In fact, most of the products of this university are well versed in using the Tagalog-based Filipino, English, and their own language. Filipinos, for a lack of a better term, are bilinguals and or multilinguals. Take for instance, Tarlaqueños. From the cradle, they are exposed to Ilokano and Kapampangan. At school age, English comes in. Pangasinense also comes in. That is four languages for a native of the northern part of Tarlac. In adulthood, one will surely pick up at least one other language especially when one becomes an OFW.
In a way, it is funny in this example: ‘nakain’ versus ‘kumain.’ Filipino grammar says that the former is wrong and the correct word is the latter. How come then that there are Tagalog-speaking places around Manila that treat the latter word as the correct one?
In my entire elementary, high school, and college Filipino subjects, never did I hear about a Tagalog dialect. There is only Filipino. But Filipino is simply just a Manila-based Tagalog, as I said above. How to explain then ‘nakain vs kumain?’ With all the new changes implemented in the Filipino grammar, maybe this has been addressed. I hope so.
But am hoping more that the issues about the other Philippine languages be also addressed. Forcing everyone to just kowtow to the Filipino as the national language (and Baybayin as the national script) just creates more divisiveness than unity.