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An Overview of History of Philippines Literature

History of Philippines literature can be dated back to the pre-colonial Philippines. Philippines literature took a start with the legends and stories of pre-colonial Philippines.

Initially, Philippines literature was written in the Pre-Hispanic writing system, with influences from Mexican and Spanish system of writing, but today it is written in English.

Dating back to the early 16th century, Rangrang was one of the earliest in the Philippines literature, which widespread with Spanish arrival in 1521. The Spanish recorded these early writings on the people of Manilla on specially prepared leaves and bamboos using the styli and knives.

The basic symbols that were used by the Spaniards were 17 symbols from Tagalog script. Three of the symbols were vowels while the consonants had inherent sound of ‘a’.

In the 19th century, a Spanish decree introduced the concept of public schooling for free. This system was introduced in Spanish language. The class of educated and prominent people that rose from this system, in later years, wrote a number of important classical Philippines literatures in Spanish language. National anthem, revolutionary propaganda and other historical documents are considered as Philippines Classical Literature.

Despite this, a great portion of the Philippines literature was written during the American commonwealth period in the 20th century. These literatures were still written in Spanish as this language was still influential. A number of newspapers were also published in Spanish. 1n 1914, English columns started publishing in newspaper.

Philippines also excelled in Asian literature; short stories written in English. By this time Filipinos had started feeling more comfortable with using English as their medium of expression. They started writing in English and transformed words into artistic expressions. In 1991, a book published stated that some of the best short stories were written by Filipinos because they felt at ease with using English as their medium of expression.

History of Philippines literature is very vast and developed strongly throughout the times. This is just a short summary of history of Philippines literature.


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