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The effects of globalization and poverty upon Philippine endangered languages

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Title: The effects of globalization and poverty upon Philippine endangered languages
Authors: Cucchiara, Alfred
Liu, Yue
Issue Date: 12 Mar 2015
Description: The Philippines ranks 117 out of 187 world nations in the United Nations human development report and over 12% of the population is in multidimensional poverty (United Nations, 2014). Home to 100 million people, 12 million are unemployed (, 2014), five million live in severe poverty (United Nations, 2014) and a nationwide poll reported that nearly four million are hungry (Flores, 2014). These conditions are the results of a country that has been ravished by the natural disasters of typhoons, storm surges, earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and floods. When these disasters are combined with the unnatural evils consisting of corruption, widespread kidnapping, and rebel armies, the result has a devastating effect on the Philippine tourism industry losing millions of income each year. In addition to these poverty causing elements, modernization in the form of electronics, automobiles, telecommunications and computers combined with stream-lined rice production in competing countries, has thrust the suffering country into a head on collision with globalization and pushed it further into poverty each year. In desperation, the proud people of the Philippines are forced to turn to other nations for salvation because globalization has turned their way of life upside down. An estimated 2.2 million Filipinos (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2014), who in a pre-globalization era would have lived off the land, are now working in other countries and are speaking other languages. Others place this number as high as 12 million (Makabenta, 2014). Filipinos, not wanting to be left behind in an increasingly modernizing world, understand that their door to survival during this era of globalization lies in increasing their chances of employment, and employment means having the needed credentials. These credentials do not include speaking in a language that few people understand, such as the obscure Filipino language of Casiguran Dumagat, with 610 speakers (Headland, 2003), but rather in the languages of other countries, where potential employment resides. As a consequence, many Filipinos who are approaching working age will abandoned their native tongues and embrace the languages that they believe will increase their opportunities to secure employment. Thus, poverty and globalization are working together to produce a detrimental synergistic effect on the vanishing languages of the Philippines. This paper describes the depth of that ill-effect, the various programs and organizations that are working to reverse it, and provides additional recommendations of the things the Philippine government and the people can do to save the remaining languages.


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Headland, T. (2003). 30 Endangered Languages in the Philippines. Work Papers of the summer institute of linguistics. Retrieved on August 29, 2014 at: (2014). Jobless Filipinos hit 12.1 million. Feb. 11. 2014. Retrieved on August 30, 2014 at:

Makabenta, Y. (2014). Philippines must face squarely United Nations report. The Manila Times. Retrieved on August 30, 2014 at:

Philippine Statistics Authority. (2014). National Statistics Office. Labor and employment. Retrieved on August 30, 2014 at:

United Nations (2014). Human development report. Retrieved on August 30, 2014 at:
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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