How are Alibata and Baybayin different?

Aug 24, 2021 0 comments



It’s a commonly known fact for us Filipinos that Baybayin was the language used by certain ethno-linguistic groups in Luzon and Visayas, but primarily by the Tagalogs during the pre-colonial era of the Philippines. Since then, it has evolved into the language we currently use today. However, the language of Baybayin is often interchanged with the term Alibata, and is believed to be one and the same. But this is far from the truth.

 

Saying Alibata is Baybayin or that the former is a legitimate name for our language is not only a fallacy but also a misrepresentation of our cultural heritage. This term has long been debunked by historians and linguists, and here’s why!

 

What is Baybayin anyway?

 

Baybayin stems from its root word baybay meaning “to spell”. The term was first coined in Vocabulario de Lengua Tagala by Pedro de San Buenaventura. It serves as one of the earliest Philippine/Tagalog dictionaries. Baybayin is derived and influenced from Indic and Javanese scripts and is universally recognized by Filipino scholars that it was the language used by the natives during the pre-colonial times of the archipelago. It contains three vowels (a, i/e, o/u), and 14 consonants (ba, ka da/ra, ga, ha, la, ma, na, nga, pa, sa, ta, wa, ya).

 

Is Alibata the same as Baybayin?

Alibata was a term coined by Paul Rodriguez Verzosa in 1914. He based this term on the Arabic alphabet alif, ba, and ta from the Maguindanao Moros and was turned into Alibata afterward.

 

The reason why Alibata is a wrong term is that there is no clear or strong evidence that pre-colonial Filipinos derived Baybayin from the Arabic language. In addition, the Baybayin script has no relation whatsoever to the arrangements in the Arabic alphabet and was deemed only a presumption in the 20th century.

 

So keep in mind! Alibata is a long-disputed terminology with an unfounded basis of its legitimacy. Baybayin is the only correct term when referring to our pre-colonial language!



━━ Written By  Juan Carlos Montenegro
━━  Art By Angela Asino



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