Hazel Jean M. Abejuela, Ph.D.
Bukidnon State University
A Pragmatic Study on Speech Acts in Bukidnon Rituals
This study attempts to present a pragmatic description of Bukidnon rituals: in particular, the speech acts, sequential organization, and cultural norms of this indigenous discourse. The results indicated that the most frequently performed speech acts in Bukidnon rituals were directives and representatives. The former were attempts of the speaker (ritualists) to get the addressee(s) (Supreme ruler, deities and/or participants of the ritual) to do something, i.e. to heed orders or grant requests. When issuing directives, Bukidnons are explicit and straightforward. They believe that the stronger the directive, the better are the chances for positive responses. Representatives were also prevalent specifically involving claims, affirmation, or declaration. Like other discourses, Bukidnon rituals were found to follow a distinct pattern beginning with Panawagtawag (call) or Pandalawit (invitation). The spiritual guardians, custodians, and the supreme God, Magbabaya were invoked to bless and guide the ritualists and the participants during the rituals. The invitation part (pandalawit) was followed by a series of requests interspersed with representatives specifically information, description and explanation. The prayers of requests were further reinforced with the offering and partaking (panampulot) of sacrificial animals. As a distinct form of religious discourse, rituals involve customary requirements expressive of the distinct ethnocultural identity of this speech community. It is through a pragmatic analysis of the speech acts that the readers are able to see ritual as an authentic communicative event.