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Volume 46 (December 2015)





Linguistic Analysis of Trading Agreements: Insights for Plain Writing in Philippine Contracts 

Pia Patricia P. Tenedero


A Philippine bill has been put forward with the view to simplify legal documents, a timely initiative in the advent of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, which portends heightened importance of business contracts. In consonance with the global effort to apply plain writing, this paper examines four linguistic features of five online trading agreements. Using corpus stylistics and informed by principles of pragmatics and readability, the analysis confirms that the examined trading agreements possess the traditional legal form characterized by the use of impersonal noun references; modal verbs, particularly shall; legal archaisms; and long sentences. While the Plain Writing for Public Service Act of 2013 is pending ratification, it appears that stock broker companies in the Philippines have already begun with their efforts to simplify their consumer contracts. Benchmarking on USA Plain English Laws, the study also proposes some guidelines to make trading agreements objectively comprehensible to nonspecialist users.


Morphological and Lexical Variations of Isnag, Isneg Yapayao,

and Itneg Tingguian as Spoken in Ilocos Norte

Agnes Catalan-Francisco


This study looked into the morphological and lexical variations of Isnag, Isneg Yapayao, and Itneg Tingguian as spoken in Ilocos Norte in terms of nouns, pronouns and deixis, verbs, adjectives, and negation and interrogatives. These three language varieties that coexist with Ilocano, the lingua franca of Ilocos regions, are spoken in ten municipalities in Ilocos Norte, particularly in three major areas where indigenous communities are located, namely, Carasi, Dumalneg, and Nueva Era. Such an analysis was done to initially describe the morphological and lexical variations of languages spoken by the three groups of indigenous people (IP) of Ilocos Norte, and to help provide the Province, particularly the National Commission on Indigenous People-Ilocos Norte Provincial Office (NCIP-INPO), a reference material for future studies on the linguistic profile of the IP. Data were gathered through a 158-item lexical test among 90 participants, with 30 each from the three IP groups. Responses were analyzed following Dita’s (2011) structural analysis of Ibanag nominal markers and Ruffolo’s (2004) morphophonemic analysis of Ibaloy. Based on the morphological and lexical analysis made, reduplication pattern (CV and CVC) is commonly used to denote plurality of nouns across the three language varieties. While ISA uses daya as a plural marker, ITE uses adu a and dia. While ISA and ISE are lexically different from each other in terms of the use of gender-specific nouns, ITE is lexically closer to Ilocano. All personal pronouns across the three languages differ. While ITE possessives follow the same morphological process as ISE, the latter was found to be somewhat similar with Ilocano possessives. All of the deictic demonstratives were encoded entirely differently across the three languages. ISA, ISE, and ITE inflect their lexical verbs by reduplication, phonemic substitution, and affixation. The three language varieties have monomorphemic as well as derived adjectives just like their Ilocano counterparts. Most quantification terms and interrogatives were found to be varied across the three languages. Among the language varieties, ISA was found to be morphologically and lexically different from ISE and ITE.



Modal Must in Philippine Editorials: A Corpus-based Study 

Rodrigo Concepcion Morales


The present study examines the semantic functions and the dominant verb-phrase structure of the modal must under the category of printed written texts of persuasive writing in press editorials found in the Philippine component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-PHI) compiled by Bautista, Lising, and Dayag (1999). Moreover, the study aims to determine whether the modal must conforms to or deviates from the standard modal usage in American English. A total of 36 texts were analyzed for the study with approximately less than 32,000 words. The findings revealed that the dominant verb-phrase structure of the modal must is must + base form of the verb, which is favored by Filipino press editorial writers because of the seemingly overtly authoritative tone of the modal must. Overall, the results of the present study further confirm Gustilo’s (2011) findings that the modal must in Philippine editorials maintains its conformity to the standard modal usage in American English. Based on the study results, a number of pedagogical implications are provided for ESL/EFL instruction and for future research.


Linguistic Politeness of the World: Strategies Used by Organizers

of Youth International Conferences in Writing Rejection Letters

​Kereen Ria C. Genteroy and Veronico N. Tarrayo


The study explores the politeness strategies deployed in rejection letters from youth international conferences. It aims to identify the politeness marker(s) that characterize a specific politeness strategy. Furthermore, this paper attempts to describe the general macrostructure of the said rejection letters by analyzing the strategic positioning of politeness strategies in these letters. Thirty (30) rejection letters written by organizers of youth international conferences served as the corpus of the study. By utilizing Brown and Levinson’s or B&L’s (1987) Politeness Theory Model and Baresova’s (2008) framework, the researchers examined these letters of rejection and identified the politeness strategies employed in writing them. The findings revealed that being optimistic and noticing or attending to the hearer are the two most commonly used politeness strategies in rejection letters from youth international conferences. These strategies are often marked by optimistic phrases (i.e., presuming an applicant’s willingness to cooperate and a positive outcome), and thank-you phrases (i.e., expressing gratitude upon interest in the conference). Moreover, the results suggest that the general macrostructure of the rejection letters follows the proposed refusal sequence that includes (1) preparation for rejection, (2) actual rejection, and (3) remedy. This paper affirms the applicability of B&L’s politeness theory in writing rejection letters for youth international conferences, while also describing the linguistic features of politeness.


A Contrastive Rhetoric Analysis of Job Application Letters

in Philippine English and American English

John Paul O. Dela Rosa, Rachelle B. Lintao, and 

Maria Grace D.Dela Cruz


This study investigates the physical elements, surface features, readability, rhetorical moves, and politeness strategies employed in job application letters written by Filipino and American teacher-applicants using the lens of contrastive rhetoric analysis. The study analyzed 30 authentic Filipino and American job application letters written from 2001 to 2015, which comprised the entire corpora, using Upton and Connor’s (2001) Coding Scheme and Brown and Levison’s (1987) politeness strategies as frameworks for analysis. The results revealed that the Philippine corpus does not strictly observe the needed physical elements in a job application letter, while the American corpus has consistently adhered to all the required elements. In terms of the surface features of the corpora, Filipino teachers include less words and shorter sentences that are more lexically dense. Meanwhile, American teachers write more words and longer sentences that are less lexically dense. As regards the corpora’s readability, measures of lexical density revealed that American job application letters are more intelligible than those of the Filipinos. However, both of the corpora fall under acceptable ranges of readability based on the Gunning-Fog index. In terms of the rhetorical moves, Filipino teachers follow a more personalized and unconventional way of presenting details in their application letters, while American teachers are more structured and tend to conform to standards in representing each move in their letters. Finally, the preferences of both Filipino and American teachers for politeness strategies show no apparent difference. Filipinos observe direct and nonstandard ways of expressing respect to their addressees. On the other hand, American teachers generally prefer positive politeness strategies and are more indirect, formal, and conventional in expressing congenial statements in their letters. Based on the results, implications for establishing an ESP writing class for teachers are provided.



Miete or Mitte? A Preliminary Study of Vowel Length Contrasts

in Filipino Learners of German as a Foreign Language

Frances Antoinette C. Cruz


The present study provides insights into the reception of vowel length in Filipino learners of German. As learning German as an L3 requires phonological awareness of vowel length, an analysis of the relationships between distinguishing vowel length in English, a common L2 in the Philippines, and German, is instructive in determining how L2 competencies and the context of L2 learning influence the acquisition of an L3. Eleven (11) participants took receptive and productive tests to ascertain L2-L3 influences in phonology. In the receptive test, they classified the first stressed vowel in mono- or disyllabic German and English words as long or short. In the second test, the participants recited English and German words containing the target vowels. The recorded vowels, their durations, and long-short ratios were then contrasted with native speakers’ recordings and correlated with variables in a questionnaire on the participant’s linguistic background. The results of the study revealed that exposure to English media had a positive effect on learning German phonology. 




ISSN 0048-3796