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7 - English in the Philippines: A Case of Rootedness and Routedness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2020

Sarah Buschfeld
Affiliation:
TU Dortmund University
Alexander Kautzsch
Affiliation:
University of Regensburg
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

While English in the Philippine context is a widely documented and studied area, it remains a curious case conflated with issues of socioeconomic mobility, politics, and ethnicity among others. This chapter takes the position that an understanding of English in the Philippines necessitates more than just the description or codification of what has often been asserted as a clear-cut national variety, a Philippine English. To capture the fragmented sociolinguistic reality of the country, I take into consideration the existence of dynamic language practices attributed to various factors including but not limited to regional differences. Enlightened by Buschfeld and Kautzsch's (2017) contention that the development of Englishes, both in postcolonial and non-postcolonial contexts, is influenced by extra- and intra- territorial forces, I look into the dynamic make-up of the country's sociolinguistic soil, one which has been and continues to be configured by past and present forces; namely, its history of colonization and its present postcolonial situation, deep-seated ethnic tensions, and the globalizing movement. While there is much to be explored in an archipelagic country of 7,107 islands, my focus will be on the Cebuano context, specifically in identified online spaces where speakers negotiate their regional identity while seeking to connect and build networks in a global environment. Extra and intraterritorial forces, such as those mentioned above, create a fertile ground for the languaging dubbed as Bislish (Bisaya + English), an instance of what Schneider (2016: 341) refers to as unfixed hybrid forms that emerge from a contact between English and another language.

Like the extensively documented mixed variety called Taglish (Schneider 2016: 345; Thompson 2003: 40–41), Bislish is an unmarked behavior in various domains including media, education, and informal talk. Unlike Taglish, however, Bislish has a regional dimension worth looking into. It is prominent among speakers whose language practices may be affected, if not defined, by (1) their underlying collective resistance to Tagalog as the national language and (2) their strong affinity with English as the language of social and economic mobility in a globalizing world.

I argue that Bislish is propelled by the extra- and intra-territorial forces; namely, history, politics, and globalization.

Type
Chapter
Information
Modelling World Englishes
A Joint Approach to Postcolonial and Non-Postcolonial Varieties
, pp. 133 - 153
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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