Filipino in the United States

Heritage Language Perspectives

Authored by: Joseph Axel

Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States

Print publication date:  January  2014
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415520669
eBook ISBN: 9780203122419
Adobe ISBN: 9781136332494


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This chapter discusses Filipino Americans and Tagalog-based Filipino (referred to as Filipino throughout) in the United States. A primary question addressed is, “What is happening with the Filipino language within the Filipino-American community?” Some observers conclude that Filipino is used widely. However, second and subsequent generations of Filipino Americans are not learning the language because it is being overtaken by English. The discussion in this chapter shows that although the second trend is true, some groups are seeking to revitalize interest in speaking and learning the language. Data from the United States Census Bureau, the California Department of Education, a study conducted by the author, and a review of the literature inform the discussion. In the author’s study, interviews were conducted with Filipino teachers in the state of California and with two groups of Filipino Americans: one group in their 20s and one in their 50s and 60s, representing a variety of occupations. Filipino heritage-language education is most prevalent in the state of California, which can serve as a model for education and advocacy in other states.

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