Topic: LinguisticsLanguages

Last updated: March 30, 2019

Research into Philippine literature has a long story. It takes root from pre-colonial period whereas folk narratives and legends were transmitted orally, then from the Spanish period, then up to when Americans came. Filipinos have always strived to use literature as a protest against oppression, but most importantly, to claim freedom. Both colonizers have strongly impacted the whole country especially Americans, who left a compelling influence in areas such as in politics, education, primarily the instruction of English language.

The use of English is a classic problem in literature because English is more likely used rather than Filipino, also known as Tagalog. In the Philippines, approximately 170 languages can be found with several variations on dialect, topping into 4 or 5 which are considered to be the “major” ones. In this respect, Groyon (2009) argues that English has become an unofficial national language in the country. which is still used as the primary medium for teaching in schools.

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Filipino writers ”welcomed it as an instrument of cultural advancement” (Manlapaz: 2000, 189). English, for some Filipinos, was—and still—considered as a superior language, meaning that if you do not have the slightest idea of speaking or understanding it, then you are to be considered ‘inferior’. Most writers started to write in English, but many others refrained themselves. After the World War II, Filipinos were determined to search for their “lost soul”. Referring to Roces, (1994 p. 280), the cause for this loss is said to be due ‘to historical circumstances of the long colonial rule, which turned over negative effects on Filipino identity formation.

The use of English is used either in a communicative and literary tool which raises a wide range


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