The Dialectology of Cebuano: The current language situation

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The Cebuano language may be the strongest language next to Tagalog, with its number of speakers, many advocacy groups advancing its use and the usage of the language by its speakers. However, this language is still faced with problems.
In Bohol, Cebuano has a strong hold on the population for majority of the people there are originally Cebuano or migrants from Cebuano-speaking areas. It also has a prominent university-the University of Bohol- which houses studies on the Cebuano language. There are also many cultural organizations focused on preserving the heritage of Bohol and its language.
In Davao, almost 80% of the population are Cebuanos. Davao became a Cebuano speaking area because of the migration of the people, which happened full-scale in the 1930’s. During the Spanish period, Tagalog was the lingua franca of Davao, because it was where the dregs of Luzon society were thrown, together with other people from the Visayas and the soldiers. It was already a melting pot of cultures which remains until today. Davao is a metropolitan region which is one of the developed areas in Mindanao. Cebuano-Davao faces threat from Tagalog. There are many people, especially those in the urban areas who use Tagalog as their medium of communication, even students in their classes. But this scenario is found only in the cities. In rural areas, Cebuano is still the language for everybody. Although Tagalog had remained in Davao, there is strength in numbers, therefore, Cebuano remains as the majority language.
Unlike Davao, Cebu was not a settlement area but still, Tagalog has been gaining a stronghold. This is mostly due to the mass media and the language used in schools as medium of instruction.
As the years go by, Cebuanos saw their numbers dwindle and the people are being stereotyped in the media as the ‘Indays’ and ‘Dodongs’, servants, low-class people who are often the subject of comedy and mockery. They are distinguished by pronouncing the Tagalog/English ‘e’ as [ɪ] or [i], and the ‘o’ as [ʊ] or [u]. This may be true for some, but in shows, this characteristic is often exaggerated. Many groups reacted to one movie entitled ‘Sakal, Sakali, Sakalo’ wherein Gloria Diaz, the grandmother, told her maid Ba’t mo pinalaking Bisaya ang apo ko?‘Why did you rear my grandson as Bisaya? (can be equivalent to Cebuano), to which Judy Ann Santos, the mother adds, Dapat Tagalog para Pinoy ‘It should be Tagalog to be Filipino.’ Following this paradigm, then, more or less 70% of the Philippine population are not Filipinos because they are not Tagalog native speakers or even second language speakers.
Movements were formed to protect the language, from professional writers to enthusiasts who are interested in preserving the language as well as the culture and identity of its speakers.