The Spanish language in the Philippines (Spanish: Idioma español en Filipinas, or Philippine Spanish (Spanish: Español filipino) was an official language of the Philippines from the beginning of Spanish rule since the times of Miguel López de Legazpi in the late 16th century, through American rule and independence, until the change of Constitution in 1973. Spanish was then redesignated an official language by a presidential decree, and remained official until a subsequent change in constitution in 1987 removed its official status.
Spanish was the language of government, education and trade throughout the Spanish colonial period and continued to serve as a lingua franca until the first half of the 20th century. Spanish was the official language of the Malolos Republic, "for the time being", according to the Malolos Constitution of 1899. Spanish was also the official language of the Cantonal Republic of Negros of 1898 and the Republic of Zamboanga of 1899.
During the early part of the U.S. administration of the Philippine Islands, Spanish was widely spoken and relatively well maintained throughout the American colonial period. However, the English language was gradually imposed as the official language and medium of instruction in schools and universities and the Spanish language became gradually marginalized. Newer generations of Filipino students were unable to learn the language of their parents and ancestors. Even so, Spanish was a language that bound leading men in the Philippines like Trinidad Hermenegildo Pardo de Tavera y Gorricho to President Sergio Osmeña and even President Manuel Roxas. As a senator, Manuel L. Quezon (later president), delivered a speech in the 1920s entitled "Message to My People" in English and in Spanish.
Spanish remained an official language of government until a new constitution ratified on January 17, 1973 designated English and Pilipino, spelled in that draft of the constitution with a "P" instead of the more modern "F", as official languages. Shortly thereafter, Presidential Proclamation No. 155 dated March 15, 1973 ordered that the Spanish language should continue to be recognized as an official language so long as government documents in that language remained untranslated. A later constitution ratified in 1987 designated Filipino and English as official languages. Also, under this Constitution, Spanish, together with Arabic, was designated a voluntary language.
There are thousands of Spanish loanwords in 170 native Philippine languages, and Spanish orthography has influenced the spelling system used for writing most of these languages. According to the 1990 Philippine census, there were 2,660 native Spanish speakers in the Philippines. Francisco Moreno and Jaime Otero claimed that in 2007, native Spanish speakers comprised 439,000 people, which accounts for just 0.5% of the population (88,574,614 total persons as of August 1, 2007). In addition, an estimated 607,000 people speak Chavacano, a Spanish-based creole. However, the Instituto Cervantes de Manila puts the number of Spanish speakers in the Philippines in the area of two to three million, which includes the native and the non-native Chavacano and Spanish speakers as well since there are some Filipinos who can speak Spanish and Chavacano as a second, third, or fourth language.
Read more about Spanish Language In The Philippines: Decline of The Spanish Language, 21st Century and The Revitalization of The Spanish Language in The Philippines, Characteristics of Philippine Spanish, Influence On The Languages of The Philippines, List of Spanish Words of Philippine Origin, Others
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