Philippine English

Philippine English: Linguistic and Literary

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 424
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  • Book Info
    Philippine English
    Book Description:

    The Philippines is one of the most significant and most interesting English-using societies in Asia, where there has been a general awareness and recognition of a localized variety of English characterized by its own distinct lexicon, accent, and variations in grammar. The distinctiveness of Philippine English as a linguistic variety has also been paralleled by the literary creativity of its novelists, short story writers, and poets, who have produced - and continue to produce - a substantial body of writing in English, aimed not only at domestic readers but also at the international audience for world literature in English. The volume is composed of four parts. Part I deals with the sociolinguistic context, with contributions drawn from anthropology, education, linguistics, and literary studies. Part II focuses on linguistic descriptions of the features of Philippine English, its contact with indigenous Philippine languages, as well as the English in the context of international call centers based in Manila. Part III deals with the literary creativity of Philippine writers in English while Part IV comprises a research bibliography of considerable value to scholars in the field. The study of English in the Philippines is not simply about the study of an Asian variety of the English language, but also provides insights into issues such as colonial and postcolonial languages and literatures, languages in contact, language and education, intercultural communication, and English literature worldwide.

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-63-9
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Series editor’s preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Kingsley Bolton
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. List of contributors
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Map of the Philippines
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Introduction Philippine English: Linguistic and literary perspectives
    (pp. 1-10)
    Kingsley Bolton and Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista

    The unprepared foreign visitor to the Philippines is often astounded by the immediate encounter with this tropical society and the texture of a daily life that includes crowded and chaotic cities, heat and rain, music and dance, and friendly, hospitable, multi-tongued people in a nation with more than a hundred recognized indigenous languages. In the capital Manila (population twelve million), the street signs are in English; the disc jockey on the radio woos the station’s listeners in dulcet American; the bookstores are full of English books (many penned by local writers); and the front pages of the major newspapers assail...

  8. Part I: The Sociolinguistic Context
    • 1 A favorable climate and soil: A transplanted language and literature
      (pp. 13-28)
      Andrew Gonzalez

      The American language has manifested a unique destiny in the Philippines. Remarkably soon after the occupation of the Philippines by the United States in 1898, it was spoken, based on the census of 1918, by an educated elite of 896,358 out of 10.3 million people in the islands, undoubtedly with various levels of competence. The reading levels of students in grade school were only two years below those of their American counterparts (Monroe, 1925). In 1910, the University of the Philippines made its first attempts at published literature through the student journal, the College Folio (see Gonzalez, 1987). Without exaggeration,...

    • 2 English in Philippine education: Solution or problem?
      (pp. 29-48)
      Allan B. I. Bernardo

      The English language is well entrenched in Philippine formal education. English was introduced into the formal educational system when the United States of America colonized the Philippines. On April 7, 1900, US President William McKinley issued a Letter of Instruction declaring that English should be the medium of instruction at all levels of the public educational system in the Philippines. The prudence of this policy was doubtful from the day it was issued. According to Prator (1950: 15), McKinley originally ordered the use of the ‘language of the people’ in the public schools to be set up in the Philippines,...

    • 3 English-language media in the Philippines: Description and research
      (pp. 49-66)
      Danilo T. Dayag

      In an earlier paper, Dayag (2004a) described the state of the English-language media in the Philippines, profiling both broadcast and print media in terms of circulation figures and readership (based on 2000 data). On the basis of these data, it went on to survey linguistic studies of the Philippine media, and to chart directions for future research in this area. This present chapter provides an updated profile of the English-language media in the Philippines, focusing on both broadcast (television and radio) and print (newspapers and magazines) media. It also assesses the role that the media have played in the development...

    • 4 World Englishes or worlds of English? Pitfalls of a postcolonial discourse in Philippine English
      (pp. 67-86)
      T. Ruanni F. Tupas

      The aim of this chapter is to provide an interrogation of ‘world Englishes’ (WE) as a postcolonial discourse.¹ Until recently, mainstream linguistics has paid little attention to the debates on postcolonialism associated with the work of Edward Said and others, despite an evident need for an interrogative stance toward formal language studies and its disciplinary and ideological underpinnings (Bolton and Hutton, 2000). This is not to say, of course, that postcolonial theorizing and cultural studies have not permeated ‘linguistic studies’ in the broadest sense. For example, the more (but not always) theoretically inclusive fields of applied linguistics and sociolinguistics of...

    • 5 ‘When I was a child I spake as a child’: Reflecting on the limits of a nationalist language policy
      (pp. 87-100)
      D. V. S. Manarpaac

      This essay examines the limits of the nationalist language policy in the Philippines which is aimed at dislodging English from its privileged position in the controlling linguistic domains.¹ Following the suspect adoption of Filipino (a.k.a. Tagalog) as national language in the 1987 Constitution, the Philippines has witnessed a resurgence of nationalist rhetoric in defense of the privileging of one of the country’s more than eighty languages as the de jure lingua franca. To the extent that English in the Philippines has evolved into a distinct variety, the essay advocates its institution as sole official language of the country, even as...

    • 6 Taglish, or the phantom power of the lingua franca
      (pp. 101-128)
      Vicente L. Rafael

      In her celebrated novel, Dogeaters, the Filipina-American mestiza writer Jessica Hagedorn begins with a memory of watching a Hollywood movie in a Manila theater in the 1950s. She evokes the pleasures of anonymous looking amid the intimate presence of foreign images and unknown bodies:

      1956. The air-conditioned darkness of the Avenue Theater smells of flowery pomade, sugary chocolates, cigarette smoke and sweat. ‘All That Heaven Allows’ is playing in Cinemascope and Technicolor. Starring Jane Wyman as the rich widow, Rock Hudson as the handsome young gardener, and Agnes Moorehead as Jane’s faithful friend, the movie also features the unsung starlet Gloria...

  9. Part II: Linguistic Forms
    • 7 Linguistic diversity and English in the Philippines
      (pp. 131-156)
      Curtis D. McFarland

      The Philippines possesses a great wealth of indigenous languages, and while these languages are related, the differences among them are also extensive. Even the relatively closely-related lowland languages are very diverse, exhibiting differences in all linguistic aspects: lexicon, phonology, syntax. By studying these differences, we are able to reach some tentative conclusions about the prehistory of Philippine languages and make a subgrouping of the languages. In some senses, this linguistic diversity is perceived as problematic for the Philippines, as it hinders effective communication among the various ethnic groups. At the time English conquered the country, no single language was spoken...

    • 8 A lectal description of the phonological features of Philippine English
      (pp. 157-174)
      Ma. Lourdes G. Tayao

      The spread and worldwide use of English have given rise to different indigenized or nativized Englishes and creoles broadly labeled as ‘new Englishes’. These indigenized Englishes, according to Brutt-Griffler (2002), are of two types, both of which result in bilingual speech communities. Type A involves macrolanguage acquisition taking place where ‘speakers of different mother tongues within the same environment simultaneously acquire a common second language that serves as a unifying linguistic resource’, whereas Type B occurs in a ‘largely monolingual speech community which is transformed into a bilingual speech community by virtue of its being in an environment where another...

    • 9 Lexicography and the description of Philippine English vocabulary
      (pp. 175-200)
      Kingsley Bolton and Susan Butler

      This chapter considers a range of issues related to the study of Philippine English vocabulary, including the importance of dictionaries in the legitimation of world Englishes, the description of lexical innovations, and the historical development and codification of the Philippine English lexicon. Historical sources show that Filipino words began to be borrowed into the English of the American colonizers at a very early stage in the colonial period. Today, the English used in the Philippines has a distinctive localized vocabulary which finds expression in a range of settings, including government, education, and the media as well as the personal domain....

    • 10 Investigating the grammatical features of Philippine English
      (pp. 201-218)
      Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista

      The study of Philippine English as a distinct variety dates from the publication of Teodoro A. Llamzon’s landmark study Standard Filipino English in 1969. That monograph focused on the phonology of Philippine English, and had only a very short section on grammar, which covered only two pages of the book, consisting basically of a listing of Filipinisms, ‘English expressions which are neither American nor British, which are acceptable and used in Filipino educated circles, and are similar to expression patterns in Tagalog’ (Llamzon, 1969: 46). Since that time, the grammar of educated Philippine English has been studied in some depth...

    • 11 English in Philippine call centers and BPO operations: Issues, opportunities and research
      (pp. 219-242)
      Jane Lockwood, Gail Forey and Helen Price

      In the context of the rapidly-expanding Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines, issues relating to diversity and convergence in the use of English are becoming strongly foregrounded. Essentially, the BPO industry comprises a variety of call centers, back office functions, and support services, which are outsourced to sites that are more economical to run than those at home. In the Philippine context, most of the call centers are the customer services departments of banks, insurance companies, retail outlets, IT support, and travel agencies, with head offices in the US, the UK, and Australia. Through telecommunications, speakers are brought...

  10. Part III: Philippine English Literature
    • 12 Colonial education and the shaping of Philippine literature in English
      (pp. 245-260)
      Isabel Pefianco Martin

      In 1928, an American school teacher in the Philippines reported that many of his students’ compositions had incorporated the ‘indelible impression’ of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s romantic poem Evangeline. The teacher noted that in these compositions:

      One nipa¹ shack had acquired dormer windows with gables projecting and was surrounded by primeval mangoes and acacia. A mere tuba gatherer had a face which shone with celestial brightness as if he ambled home with his flagons of home-brewed tuba.² Every fair maiden in the class was endowed with eyes as black as the berry that grows on the thorn by the wayside as...

    • 13 Negotiating language: Postcolonialism and nationalism in Philippine literature in English
      (pp. 261-278)
      Lily Rose Tope

      The use of English as a communicative and literary medium raises a wide range of issues relating to language and nationalism. As a colonial legacy, English is remembered for the cultural violence it has wrought in colonial classrooms, and has been seen as an instrument of linguistic displacement and social stratification. In Decolonising the Mind, Ngugi wa Thiong’o (1981) traces the colonial process of imposition in his discussion of the dual character of language. In its simpler form, language is communication; it transmits real events, speech and the written word as well as providing the means of exchange in simple...

    • 14 ‘This scene so fair’: Filipino English poetry, 1905–2005
      (pp. 279-298)
      Gémino H. Abad

      Our literature in English, like our scholarship, was bred in the university. In less than four months after the mock Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, the first makeshift American school, run by soldiers as teachers, was set up on Corregidor Island (Zaide, 1956: 285), portentously, the same island where Filipino and American forces made their last stand against the Japanese Imperial Army in 1941–1942. After 1913, English as medium of instruction in our public school system quickly became not simply a chief instrument for the acquisition of new learning, not only a favored medium by which...

    • 15 The Philippine short story in English: An overview
      (pp. 299-316)
      Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo

      Any account of the development of the Philippine short story in English has to begin with the fact that it is in English. In short, Philippine literature in English is tied up with the experience of colonialism, an essential truth that all serious Filipino writers in English must address at some point in their careers. National Artist for Literature Francisco Arcellana, describing the ‘period of emergence’ of literature in English, wrote:

      There is something uncommon in the not enviable situation of the Filipino writer in English and this is the insuperable problem of language. The life from which he draws...

    • 16 The Filipino novel in English
      (pp. 317-336)
      Caroline S. Hau

      As a field of literary practice, the Filipino novel in English is constructed out of a series of paradoxes. Created out of the solitary act of writing and consumed through the solitary act of mute reading, the novel is nevertheless fundamentally premised on accessibility to a wider public and for this reason appears the most communal of all literary writings. Most of its practitioners belong to the middle classes, yet it seeks to speak not just of and for these classes, but for and to the Filipino ‘people’. The novel is the preeminent genre through which society speaks and conceives...

    • 17 Filipino diasporic literature
      (pp. 337-356)
      Alfred A. Yuson

      We call him Manong Bert, with the honorific meaning ‘older brother’ or ‘uncle’. As traditional endearments go, it also connotes respect for an older male with whom we enjoy not filial but convivial relations. His full name is Alberto S. Florentino. He is a bilingual Filipino playwright and book publisher. Or rather, was. At 74 years, he now essays a retiree’s life in New York City, where he and his wife Eva live in an old folks’ home. They migrated to the United States in 1983. Three daughters are scattered all over the US, one of whom has two precocious...

    • 18 In conversation: Cebuano writers on Philippine literature and English
      (pp. 357-368)
      Simeon Dumdum, Timothy Mo and Resil Mojares

      In early 2002, Simeon Dumdum, Timothy Mo, and Resil Mojares came together in Cebu to discuss the Cebuano tradition of English-language creative writing, the legacy of Spanish and American colonialism, English in the Philippines and much else. Simeon Dumdum was born in the town of Balamban, Cebu island. He went to Ireland as a teenage seminarian before pursuing a legal career and is regarded as one of the best poets the Visayas has ever produced. He currently sits in Cebu City as a Regional Trial Court judge. Timothy Mo is a novelist and a regular visitor to the Philippines. Dr....

  11. Part IV: Resources
    • 19 Bibliographical resources for researching English in the Philippines
      (pp. 371-394)
      Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista

      It is a commonplace observation that the Philippines is an ideal laboratory for studying sociolinguistics, the nexus between society and language, because it is a country where some 100 languages are spoken; where inhabitants are typically multilingual — speaking their native vernacular, a regional lingua franca, the national language Filipino, and the international language English; where the colonial language English was adopted as a second language within just a few generations; where switching between local languages or between a local language and English in ordinary conversations is almost routine. As expected, the bibliographical resources for the study of the sociolinguistics...

  12. Index
    (pp. 395-406)