An archipelagic and culturally diverse country, the Philippines has a total of 130 languages spoken by various ethnolinguistic groups from the Ivatan of Batanes to the Paláw-an of Palawan, to the Sama of Tawi-Tawi.
There are 37 dying languages in the Philippines, mostly from the Aeta indigenous groups in Luzon and the Visayas, particularly Negros Occidental
Unfortunately, a number of these languages are considered endangered since these are only spoken by a few members of their respective ethnic communities.
A study conducted by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) in 2015 shows there are 37 dying languages in the Philippines, mostly from the Aeta indigenous groups in Luzon and the Visayas, particularly Negros Occidental.
Considered extinct is the Kinarol-an of Barangay Carol-an, Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. The KWF notes it is no longer being used in casual conversations.
The same study, which identifies extinct, nearly extinct, moribund (to the point of extinction), threatened languages and those with lessening usage, notes that the Inagtâ Isaróg of Goa, Ocampo and Tigaon in Camarines Sur had only one remaining speaker in 2015.
The Árta of Nagtipunan, Quirino is considered nearly extinct as only 11 persons are speaking the language.
Those that are found to be moribund are Inatá of Cadiz City, Negros Occidental; Álta of Aurora, Nueva Ecija; and Ayta Magbukun of Abucay, Bataan.
The Ayta Magbukun has at least 114 practicing families, while the others range from only 29 to 113 persons.
Meanwhile, the threatened languages with more than a thousand speakers remaining are Álta Kabulowán of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija; Ayta Mag-Indí of Pampanga and Zambales; and Gubatnón Mangyán of Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro.
Those that have lessening usage include Inagta Irayá of Buhi, Camarines Sur; Binaták of Palawan; Manidé of Camarines Norte; Ayta Kadí of Quezon Province; Ayta Ambalá of Zambales and Bataan; Ayta Mag-antsi of Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales; Ténap (Agta Dupaningan) of Cagayan and Isabela; Bolinaw of Pangasinan; Agta Dumagat Casiguran of Isabela and Aurora; and Agtâ Dumagat Umíray of Quezon Province.
Part also of the list are languages which the KWF consider as under threat and needing further studies.
These are Manobo Kalamansíg of Sultan Kudarat; Ratagnón Mangyán of Occidental Mindoro; Îguwák of Nueva Vizcaya; Karáw of Benguet; Tagabulos of Aurora, Bulacan, and Quezon Province; Bangon Mangyán of Oriental Mindoro; Manobo Ilyanen of Cotabato; Gâdang of Mountain Province; Kalamyanën of Palawan; Tadyawan Mangyán of Oriental Mindoro; Finallíg of Barlig, Mountain Province; Menuvú of Bukidnon; Tawbuwíd Mangyán of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro; Manóbo Arománën of Cotabato; Manóbo Tigwahánon of Bukidnon; and Abéllen of Tarlac.
Also listed under threat is the Irungdungan (Agta Isirigan) of Cagayan but the KWF observes a rising number of speakers.
Hope is not lost as the KWF embarked on a landmark project on language revitalization in Abucay, Bataan last year, helping the Ayta Magbukun communities in the town’s village of Bangkal through Bahay Wika where young members of the ethnic group are being taught of their language by two elders.
That project was done in cooperation with the Bataan provincial government and various national agencies such as the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Education and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.