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Volume 45 (December 2014)





Lexical variation in Philippine English: The case of deontic MUST and HAVE TO

Rowland Anthony Imperial​


This paper investigates the synchronic nature of lexical variation in the deontic modality system of Philippine English (PhE). Focusing on MUST and HAVE TO, grammatical and frequency analyses of spoken and written texts in PhE support the claim that modal auxiliaries are experiencing a decline in usage due to the rise of their corresponding quasi-modal forms (see Collins et al., 2014; Enriquez, 2012). Statistical analysis of internal (grammatical) and external (discourse-related) factors, however, suggests that the latter also significantly affects the variation in forms. Subsequently, two external, contact-induced influences were predicted to affect the variation phenomenon: the semantic mapping of Filipino overt politeness marking on English past-tense modals, and the lack of an intermediate semantic equivalent of HAVE TO in Filipino. Theoretical analysis of these factors suggests that the modality system of Filipino may be influencing the decline in usage of MUST and increase in viability of HAVE TO in expressing deontic meaning in PhE.


Verbal Politeness Strategies in the Philippines: Motivations for Indirectness, Politeness, or Both?

Jacqueline Andrea Huggins​


Politeness strategies in speech acts has generated considerable research and debates especially concerning the notions of directness and indirectness as compared to Westerners who are considered more direct while Asians more indirect. Researchers have suggested that distinctions signal degrees of politeness; consequentially, Westerners appear less polite and Asians more polite (Sifianou 1997:46). However, researchers have found varying degrees of directness and indirectness among Western and Asian cultures (Rundquist 1992). Some research questions whether indirectness is linked to politeness. This paper, as an aid for cross-cultural workers, discusses politeness in communication charting specific examples comparing American English and Philippine English to indicate how comparable expressions of greetings, requesting, asking questions, and expressing gratitude may be considered polite in one variety of English, yet impolite in another. Verbal strategies with a focus on indirectness are also presented using Brown and Levinson’s (1978/1987) four types of politeness strategies: bald on-record, negative politeness, positive politeness, and off-record.​



Language, Gender, and Leadership Communication in The Apprentice Asia​

Jessica Lace G. Evangelista ​


Language and gender are two widely researched topics in sociolinguistics. However, only a few studies dealing with the relationship of the two in natural workplace communication and in media can be found. Leadership is a gendered concept and most literature associate it with the male gender as the standard norm. This study looks at some of the strategies implemented by one male and one female finalist in the first airing of The Apprentice Asia television show on practicing leadership. The study explores the way both finalists open their meetings, give instructions, manage their meetings, and evaluate the performance of their co-workers. The results of this research study show that leaders make use of various styles of leadership that range from feminine or relational to masculine and transactional. More positively regarded leaders, however, are able to combine these strategies more adeptly in one conversation.​


Proximal Repetition in the Linguistic Landscape​

Philip Peckson


Many walls or gates along Metro Manila’s streets have signs asking drivers not to block driveways or pedestrians not to loiter. What is interesting is that these signs are often repetitious and are spaced very close to each other. This phenomena, what I call proximal repetition, differs from standard repetition: the regular and rational spacing of signs installed by corporations or local governments. In this paper, I examine instances of proximal repetition in Metro Manila and Coron, Palawan through an analytical framework informed by politeness theory, particularly studies on nagging, and Tim Ingold’s writing on practical culture. I conclude that those who use proximal repetition in sign placement have, like naggers, status but weak power. Lastly, I provide arguments for the inclusion of proximal repetition and its counterpart, standard repetition, as salient features of the linguistic landscape, mainly because they allow the field to consider not just sociolinguistic phenomena but spatial practice as well. ​


Scaling the Complexity of a Philippine Consumer-Finance Contract 

Through Reader-Based and Text-Based Measures

Rachelle Ballesteros Lintao and Marilu Rañosa Madrunio​


This study sought to determine how a group of target users’ evaluation of a Philippine consumer-finance contract compares with the measured complexity of the document. Using a text computational tool, results of the analysis through the document’s computed values and substantiated by other readability computational tools employed reveal that the existing document can be understood by those within the range of the 11-CCR grade band. The complication arises since these measures do not correspond with the level of the participants, regarded to be way below the 11-CCR grade band, deemed to be only 8-10 US grade level. Conversely, the document is too difficult to be understood by the participants. The low comprehensibility of the material as scaled by the participants results from their deficient understanding of the document brought about by their lack of capability to grasp such an obfuscated or complicated document. This study has established that the use of a cognitively inspired text computational tool can be effective in validating the complexity of a reading material. Going beyond the difficulty of words and sentence length which traditional readability tools dwell on, cognitively-enthused readability tools like the coh-metrix allow for examining the deeper dimensions of the text like referential cohesion, syntactic pattern and text easability. ​





ISSN 0048-3796