Towards an Assessment of Kapampangan Language Vitality

Recent studies on the Kapampangan language suggest that language shift in Pampanga, Philippines is threatening its vitality despite having over two million speakers and a "vigorous" language status in Ethnologue (Pangilinan, 2009; Del Corro, 2015). However, there has been no known study that has collected data that can confirm the language shift. This paper aims to provide an approach on how to assess the vitality status of Kapampangan by means of a survey. Data was elicited from 40 Kapampangan speakers from different age groups residing in the most highly urbanized areas in the region of Pampanga. Based on the survey results, the domains of use of Kapampangan and the language attitudes of its speakers were analyzed using the FAMED conditions of the Sustainable Use Model from the EGIDS framework. The assessment of the FAMED conditions scores the language at a Developing, EGIDS Level 5, which posits the language at a higher level of vitality than the level assumed by Pangilinan (2009). However, the findings do not invalidate the suspected language shift because the data scores Kapampangan at a Threatened Level A4 for the Acquisition condition, which signals a disruption in the intergenerational transmission of the language. Given that EGIDS Level 5 is considered a tenuous sustainability level, without further action, it is likely that the language will fall to a lower vitality status. Therefore, this pilot study proposes a more comprehensive assessment of the language for a more accurate vitality status and to initiate language planning and revitalization.