We will call it Filipino, even though there they will just call it Tagalog (and figure we talk to the gov't too much)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/11/05 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2010/11/05/10085911.aspx


Click here to download the Filipino Windows 7 LIP via the Microsoft.com Download Center.

Please note that the Filipino  Windows 7 LIP can only be installed on a system that runs an English client version of Windows 7. It is available to download for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

The Filipino Windows 7 LIP is produced as part of the Local Language Program sponsored by Public Sector.



25 million native speakers; 60 million speakers worldwide



Filipino is (together with English) the national language of the Philippines, as stated in Article XIV, Section 6 of the 1987 constitution of the country. The constitution declares it an evolving language that shall be "developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages". It is regulated by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission on the Filipino Language). In reality, Filipino is heavily based on Tagalog, an Austronesian language spoken by about 22 million people natively (mostly on the island of Luzon). Even amongst linguists there is some confusion about the exact relationship between Tagalog and Filipino. Three different views exist on the issue:

It is easy to imagine how different people can look at the same language in these three very different ways....


Filipino is hard to classify given all of the above, but Tagalog is a member of the Austronesian language family to which, for example, also Malay, Indonesian, Tongan, Cebuano, Tausug, and Maori belong.


Filipino is written in the Latin script with the addition of two letters Ñ and Ng.

This can be contrasted with the older Tagalog script, which has not been in use for centuries. The older script is in Unicode, though (see chart here).

 Click here for more information on the Filipino language.


One of my first contacts with the team that would become Windows International was to do with a consulting job for a company that wanted Microsoft to assign several different locale identifiers (LCIDs) for languages they were supporting. One of them was Tagolog, and although Cathy (the person I did not know but I was directed to speak to) refused to create an LCID for Tagalog, she did assign one for Filipino. This was the one I used and they shook their heads since their understanding was the same of most of the Tagalog speakers in the Phillipines.

Cathy did not assign LCIDs for Cebuano or Tausug, despite my request. And though we became great friends later, her image as me of the crazy guy with crazy language requests and my image of her as the wiatch who refused to give me my LCIDs was a part of our mythology for some time.


Leo on 5 Nov 2010 11:29 AM:

As someone who was born and raised in the Philippines, I've never known people to think of the word 'Filipino' as something referring to a language.  When we talk about languages, we say we speak Tagalog, not Filipino.  Only the government really does that so yeah, I think you've been talking to the government too much. ;)

Side note, I've never considered Cebuano to be a language.  I consider Bisaya to be the language with Cebuano being a dialect of Bisaya that is spoken in Cebu.

Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Nov 2010 11:44 AM:

Good to see the reasoning confirmed! If you look at the LIP I'd love to know what you think about the quality and usefulness, I'll get feedback to the folks who did the work....

And of course tell your friends about it. One of the hardest thing about LIPs is letting the people who might find them useful know that they exist!

I agree with you about Cebuano; the company I was doing the work for had their own political reasons for pushing Cebuano, I think. I remember they were frustrated about not getting an LCID!

Leo on 5 Nov 2010 12:08 PM:

Well, I currently don't run Windows 7 but I'll see what I can do (we have an MSDN subscription and VMware Workstation at work so building a Windows 7 virtual machine and then installing the LIP to give it a test run isn't out of the question...).

Tweeted and made a facebook update referring to this blog entry so we'll see if my friends and colleagues will try it out. :)

Meema on 5 Nov 2010 12:14 PM:

Whoa! That is so neat.

For purists, Tagalog is a language on its own. Even made an unofficial dictionary of only Tagalog words for words that are mostly borrowed from the Spanish language and the English language. They (and me) don't want to call the "Filipino" as "Tagalog", so the language that has evolved with a lot of borrowed words is now called "Filipino." So it is better to differentiate it though Filipino is heavily based on Tagalog.

Filipino has a lot of Bisaya words integrated into it, as stated, as Manila is a melting pot where people from different islands tend to migrate. Words like "buang" (crazy) used to be only Bisaya, have now integrated with Filipino.

I'm from Cebu. I agree with Leo. Cebuano though is the one that most people refer to when they mean Bisaya as it is the most popular one I guess. Not that I'm biased (I hope not).

As someone with a Tagalog dad (Bulacan) and a Bisaya mom (Leyte), I find pure Tagalog fascinating and how Bisaya differs a lot from island to island (Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Surigao, etc.).

ScIoN on 5 Nov 2010 12:45 PM:

Filipino is heavily based on Tagalog -- Yes.  Perhaps like 90++% of it is Tagalog. Structure, grammar, etc,... basically Tagalog.  However, there would be lots of "borrowed" vocabularies from different dialects (Ilocano, Visaya, etc) and languages (including Spanish and English).  In fact, what people would usually call as Taglish (for Tagalog-English), I would classify it already as part of the Filipino language.

I grew up in the Northern part of Luzon, where Ilocano dialect is dominant. I can say I was raised as a bilingual (Filipino and English) person.  I think the main difference of Filipino and Tagalog is on vocabularies (aside from the Filipino language incorporating "loan words" from other languages/dialects).  There are words I can not understand in Tagalog, which I consider as "deep vocabularies"; though I may understand still through context.  Thus, I prefer to use "Filipino" rather than Tagalog.

I think those who grew up in Metro Manila are the most confused re: Filipino vs. Tagalog.  Because geographically, Metro Manila is very close to the Tagalog-native regions (Bulacan, Cavite, etc.).  

Filipino being designated as the National Language was political in nature, since the seat of government is located in Luzon.  Considering Luzon (Tagalog-based) vs. Visayas + Mindanao (Visayan-based), I believe there are more native Visayan speakers than Tagalog (where Filipino was based upon) in the Philippines.  The Cebuanos (people of Cebu) have been the most radical in pushing for a Visayan-based national language.  In fact, if you go to Cebu, you can expect less of the locals to speak in Filipino.  Their preferred language: Visayan (Cebuano) first, English -2nd, Filipino - last.

I believe a Cebuano (Visayan) LCID should be created.

Juan on 6 Nov 2010 10:38 PM:

@Leo: I don't know which part of the Philippines you were referring to but personally I have not encountered that point-of-view.

Filipinos who were taught properly and correctly by their teachers and professors are very much aware that "Filipino" refers to the National Language other than the people.  Annually we celebrate the "Linggo ng Wika" which revolves around the "Filipino" language (not Tagalog) and Pres. Manuel Quezon, himself the man behind the "Filipino" National Language.

And about Cebuano and Bisaya, same thing sir Leo, I don't know which part of the country you were referring to because Cebuano is one of the top regional language of the Philippines.  "Bisaya" is not a language nor a dialect.  "Bisaya" was simply a terminology (a 'discrimination' term to people who came from Visayas to be exact) that refers to the Visayas region.

Leo on 7 Nov 2010 9:25 PM:

@Juan I was born in Manila and spent the first 8 years of my life there, then 8 years in Cebu before returning to Manila to go to college so I believe I have some basis for my comments.

Most people I have met in Manila, for example, if I ask them what language they speak, will reply, "Tagalog" not "Filipino".  Here in the US where I am currently  based, if someone I meet in the mall or grocery suspects I am from the Philippines will ask, "Are you from the Philippines?" and when I reply in the affirmative they usually ask, "Marunong ka mag Tagalog?" (Can you speak Tagalog?) and not, "Marunong ka mag Filipino?" (Can you speak Filipino?)  When you speak of people being "properly educated" you are affirming what Michael said, that it is the government, through its programs, that pushes the notion of the "Filipino" language.  You mention the "Linggo ng Wika" which is a program promoted by the Philippine government and Pres. Manuel Quezon, who was the head of the Philippine government.  Again, all coming back to the Philippine government establishing a "Filipino" language.

When I speak with people from regions that speak Bisaya (for example, Cagayan de Oro, Bohol, Iligan, Camiguin, Dumaguete or Davao) the common question they ask me when I say I am from Cebu is, "Kahibalo ka mag Bisaya?" (Can you speak Bisaya?).  Rarely is it phrased, "Kahibalo ka mag Cebuano?" (Can you speak Cebuano?)  When we are using the regional language we say, "Ga Bisaya mi" (We're speaking Bisaya) not "Ga Cebuano mi".  I consider Cebuano to be the dialect of Bisaya because the Bisaya that we speak in Cebu does have some regional variation (hence a dialect) from the Bisaya spoken in places like Cagayan de Oro.  For example, the letter 'l' is commonly dropped from spoken Cebuano hence 'balay' (the word for home) is pronounced, "ba-AY" instead of "ba-LAY" as would be used in other Bisaya speaking regions (which is really not isolated to the Visayas; Cagayan de Oro and Davao are part of the Mindanao region yet they speak Bisaya).

Suffice it to say, I am speaking from my own personal experiences of having been born and raised in the Philippines and having spent a lot of time in various regions as well as being exposed to people from many different regions (when I went back to Manila for my university education, I stayed at the dormitory along with students from various provinces).  Your experience seems to be different.

John Cowan on 8 Nov 2010 12:06 PM:

In ISO 639-3, the language is called "Cebuano", and Ethnologue notes that it is spoken in Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Visayas and parts of Mindanao, and also in the United States.  "Bisayan" is used for the entire 21-language family: see www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp for details.

As for numbers of speakers, Ethnologue gives 16 million for Cebuano, 13 million for the other Bisayan languages collectively, and 25 million for Tagalog and Filipino (though obviously there is a great deal of overlap, and these figures may be inflated for political reasons).

Meema on 8 Nov 2010 1:59 PM:

A lot of people from other Philippine islands would resist the idea of having their dialect categorized under Cebuano. LOL! But all of us accept that we speak Bisaya (Visayan). I think now it is more about the distinction between the definitions of dialect and language.

If dialect is indeed how it is defined here (www.merriam-webster.com/.../dialect), then Cebuano is a dialect not the language. Then again, in this argument, we probably need a linguist to enlighten us. ^^

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