Our Proposed General Education Language Course --Philippine Languages, Cultures and Society

Instead of adding one course in Filipino for the new General Education Program (effect of the K-12 where many GE courses are transferred to K-12), we suggest a language course that would enable students to appreciate the language diversity in the Philippines

Syllabus Draft - Philippine Languages, Cultures, and Society

3-Unit GE Course


  • Explain the many functions of languages and how they are affected by various socio-cultural factors
  • Define major concepts/terms related to language and multilingualism 
  • Write a research paper to assess the present state of Philippine languages beginning from their own local/regional context to the national level 
  • Critique the various contending positions on the national language and other related issues on  Philippine languages
  • Discuss the merits of an amalgamated/constructed language based on existing models 
  • Propose a strategy to promote social cohesion, language intellectualization/internationalization and pluralingualism for their particular regional/local context

1. Functions of languages 
a. encoding culture
b. identity/heritage
c. social cohesion
d. domains of language use
e. access knowledge/mediate learning
f. socio-cultural factors that affect language use/development (migration, globalization, technology, trade, etc)
g. present debates on languages in the Philippines

2. Our multilingual context
a. language diversity/multilingualism and pluralingualism
b. language shift/language death/creolization
c. mapping our language diversity, #speakers, vitality

3. Language planning
a. Major legal provisions on languages (Constitutions, K-12, IPRA, etc)
b. The Filipino project from 1937 to 1986 constitution (mainstream and alternative versions)
c. UNESCO framework

4. Constructed/amalgamated languages
a. The first model - Volapuk
b. The successful models  - Esperanto/Esperantidos and Interlingua
c. Other models

5. Present state of the national language project
a. Still Tagalog based
b. Alternative Filipino versions (amalgamation of languages in the Visayas/Mindanao)
c. Issues and concerns (language politics, democratizing access to resources)

6. Present state of the development Philippine languages
a. intellectualization
b. internationalization
c. Roles of various government agencies, NGOs, LGUs in the development of Philippine languages

7. Moving forward
a. Social cohesion
i. Completing the Filipino project
ii. Recognizing  lingua francas (or regional languages) as possible as official languages (India, South Africa)
b. Developing diversity/pluralingualism in the community
c. Language intellectualization and internationalization

Class participation
Group field report - assessment of Philippine languages from one’s local context to national/international
Proposal and advocacy material to promote social cohesion, intellectualization and pluralingualism


  • Ball, J. (2011). Enhancing learning of children from diverse language backgrounds: mother tongue-based bilingual or multilingual education in the early years. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://multilingualphilippines.com/wp- content/uploads/2012/07/ecce.pdf
  • Barron, S. (2012). Why language matters for the Millennium Development Goals. Bangkok: UNESCO.
  • D. Singleton, J. Fishman, L.Aronin and M.O'Laoire. (eds) Current multilingualism: A new linguistic dispensation,339-372. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Francisco, Juan (1998). Bhenneka Tunggal Eka: The Development of a National Language in the Philippines. Asian Studies Journal. http://asj.upd.edu.ph/mediabox/archive/ASJ-34-1998/francisco.pdf 
  • Gonzales, Andrew (2003). Language planning in multilingual countries: The case of the Philippines. http://www-01.sil.org/asia/ldc/plenary_papers/andrew_gonzales.pdf
  • Heugh, K. 2013. The South African Experience in Language Policy and Planning. In P.W. Akumbu and B. A. Chiatoh (eds). Language Policy in Africa: Perspectives for Cameroon, 108-128. Kansas City: Miraclaire Academic Publishers.
  • Hornberger, N & Putz, M (Eds) (2006). Language Loyalty, Language Planning and Language Revitalization: Recent Writings and Reflections from Joshua Fishman. Multilingual Matters
  • Inglis, Christine. Planning for Cultural Diversity. UNESCO, 2008
  • Kathleen Heugh and Tove Skutnabb-Kangas (eds.) (2012) , Multilingual education and sustainable diversity work: From periphery to center. New York: Routledge
  • Keller, Stefano and Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove (213). Linguistic Human Rights,  the UN’s Human Rights system, and the Universal Esperanto Association’s work on Language Rights. In Koutny, Ilona & Nowak, Piotr (eds).[Language, Communication, Information]. Linguistic Institute of the University Adam Mickiewicz, Poznan, Poland, 150-172. http://jki.amu.edu.pl/files/JKI%20-%20tom%208%20-%202013.pdf
  • Mohanty, A.K. (forthcoming). The Other Side of Multilingualism. Clevedon, U.K.: Multilingual Matters.
  • Mohanty, A.K., Panda, M., Phillipson, R. & Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (Eds.) (2009). Multilingual Education for Social Justice: Globalising the Local. New Delhi: Orient Longman.
  • Nolasco, R., Datar, F. & Azurin, A. (eds) (2010) Starting where the Children are: A Collection of Essays on Mother Tongue- Based Multilingual Education and Language Issues in the Philippines. 170+Talaytayan MLE Inc
  • Olthuis, Marja-Liisa,  Kivelä, Suvi, and Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove (2013). Revitalising Indigenous languages. How to recreate a lost generation. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Series Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights
  • Pinnock, H., Mackenzie, P., Pearce, E., & Young, C. (2011). Closer to home: How to help schools in low-and middle-income countries respond to children’s language needs. CfBT Education Trust. Retrieved from http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/Closer-to-Home.pdf
  • Selected articles from: http://mothertongue-based.blogspot.com/ 
  • Skutnabb-Kangas T. and Heugh K. (eds) 2012. Multilingual education and sustainable development work. From periphery to center. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Smolicz, J., & Nical, I. (1997). Exporting the European idea of a national language: Some educational implications of the use of English and indigenous languages in the Philippines. International Review of Education, 43(5-6), 507–526. doi:10.1023/A:1003098223423   

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