CLDR locales: Filipino (fil/ph?) Pilipino/Tagalog (tl/tlg)

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Mon Dec 27 2004 - 02:55:29 CST

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: CLDR locales: Filipino (fil/ph?) Pilipino/Tagalog (tl/tlg)"

    According to many sources, Filipino is the official language of the
    Philippins, which has been standardized years after ISO639 had standardized
    its 2-letter and 3-letter codes for Filipino, Pilipino, and Tagalog.

    The problem is that Filipino should be considered distinct from Pilipino and

    - Tagalog is the historic language, which was written historically with its
    own script before the Spanish era, and that has been romanized to the Latin
    script since long. It survives today as a minority language in a minority
    area, and excludes any use of european phonetics and vocabulary. This is
    what should correspond to the "tl" (and "tlg") ISO639-1 (and -2/B or -2/T)
    standard codes.

    - Pilipino is the modern transformation of Tagalog during the Spanish
    invasion, up to the period of American administration which intriduced lots
    of English terms. It corresponds to the Tagalog language but with minor
    phonetic transformations coming from the Latin-based litteracy when reading
    texts, but it still does not incorporate the whole vocabulary and phonetics
    of Spanish and English. It has always been written in the Latin script only,
    using the 26 base letters (minus the F letter) plus Spanish digraphs ch, rr,
    ll, , and ng from English, considered as single letters. Its phonetic
    mostly ressembles to the Tagalog language, so the few imported words from
    English and Spanish are often transformed a lot to adapt to the Tagalog
    phonology, and the orthography is simplified using the same rules as those
    used to write Tagalog words.
    Pilipino is then a natural evolution of Tagalog and should be considered the
    same language, keeping its purity at the price of being well understood only
    by a minority, but not by native Europeans or by other important native
    speakers of other dialects, notably Cebuano. Since 1998 (I am not sure of
    this date), Pilipino is no longer the official language, so the ISO639 codes
    "tl" and "tlg" attached to it should no more be used, except when refering
    to this regional dialect.

    - Filipino is the successor of Pilipino, and is given the 3-letters code
    "fil" in ISO-639-2. This is a mix of Pilipino, English, Spanish, Cebuano,
    and other regional dialects from other important minorities of the region
    like Malay and Chinese. It has many difference with Pilipino, but
    unfortunately, ISO-639-2 has mixed the two languages in the same code. (My
    opinion is that the "Pilipino" defined in ISO-639-2 is incorrect, and it
    should be listed under the "tl" and "tlg" code row as an alias of Tagalog).

    For today applications, we need to make the distinction between modern
    Tagalog or Pilipino (code "tl" or "tlg") and Filipino (code "fil"). I have
    seen several applications that want a two-letter codes reuse the "tl" code
    incorrectly for Filipino:
    - using the country code or variant code in a locale code to create a locale
    identifier for Filipino: "tl-PH",
    - and a region or variant subcode to designate the "pure" Tagalog language:
    Other applications are trying to use the 2-letter codes of the Philippins
    for its official Filipino language "ph", because "ph" is still unassigned
    (reserved) in ISO-639.

    The problem is that this is informal, and non standard. If ISO639 is
    amended, it would be good to add the 639-1 2-letter code "ph" for "Filipino"
    (already coded "fil" in ISO-639-2/B or -2T), and to change the mapping of
    "Pilipino" as an alias of Tagalog (rather than an alias of Filipino.)

    Now comes the problem of tagging localized resources for the Philipines: can
    we use "ph" today? or must we use only "fil" or "fil-PH"?

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