Human languages

Human languages are usually referred to as natural languages, and the science of studying them falls under the purview of linguistics. A common progression for natural languages is that they are considered to be first spoken, then written, and then an understanding and explanation of their grammar is attempted.

Languages live, die, move from place to place, and change with time. Any language that ceases to change or develop is categorized as a dead language. Conversely, any language that is in a continuous state of change is known as a living language or modern language.

Making a principled distinction between one language and another is usually impossible. For instance, there are a few dialects of German similar to some dialects of Dutch. The transition between languages within the same language family is sometimes gradual.

Some like to make parallels with biology, where it is not possible to make a well-defined distinction between one species and the next. In either case, the ultimate difficulty may stem from the interactions between languages and populations.

The concepts of Ausbausprache, Abstandsprache and Dachsprache are used to make finer distinctions about the degrees of difference between languages or dialects.

Filipino language

Filipino is the national and an official language of the Philippines as designated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution. It is an Austronesian language that is the de facto standardized version of Tagalog, though is de jure distinct from it. Sometimes the language is incorrectly used as the generic name for all the languages of the Philippines which, in turn, would be incorrectly termed as "dialects".

The Commission on the Filipino Language, the regulating body of Filipino, envisions a process of popularizing regional dialect usage derived from regional languages, as the foundation of standardizing and intellectualizing a language, based on a lingua franca.

Filipino is considered by Ethnologue to be a variant of Tagalog, a Central Philippine language within the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. In practical terms, however, Filipino is a synonym for or the formal name of the Tagalog language, especially as used by non-Tagalogs, who may sometimes refuse to refer to their language as Tagalog.

One famous event where the definition between Filipino and Tagalog is challenged was during the impeachment trial of the former president, Joseph Estrada. When the presiding justice Hilario Davide asked in which language would the witness Emma Lim prefer to testify, Lim promptly answered "Tagalog", to which Davide promptly did not agree. According to Davide, nobody could testify in Tagalog because it is not the official language of the Philippines and there is no available interpreter from Tagalog to Filipino. However, the then President of the Senate, Franklin Drilon, sided on the oneness of the two languages saying that an interpreter will no longer be needed because everybody would understand the testimony in Tagalog.