Ling 505 tayao's lectal description of phil eng (presentation)
Philippine Normal University
National Center for Teacher Education
Taft Avenue, Manila
College of Graduate Studies and Teacher Education Research
FACULTY OF ARTS AND LANGUAGES
LING506 (Linguistic Field Methods)
Sat (1:00 – 4:00 PM) / BPS 101
Sem S.Y. 2013-2014
Ms. Rusell C. Lomboy
A Lectal Description of the Phonological Features of Philippine English
Ma. Lourdes G. Tayao
- The worldwide spread and usage of English have paved way for the different indigenized and nativized
Englishes and creoles broadly labelled as “new Englishes.”
- According to Brutt-Grifler (2002, as cited in Bautista and Kingsley eds. 2009), there are two types of
a. Type A – involves macrolanguage acquisition taking place where ‘speakers of different
native languages within the same environment concurrently acquire a second language that
serves as a unifying linguistic resource.
b. Type B – occurs in a largely monolingual speech community which is transformed into a
bilingual speech community by virtue of its being in an environment where another native
Studies in Philippine English Phonology
a.) Teodoro Llamzon’s Standard Filipino English (1969)
- This is the earliest attempt to establish the spoken English in the Philippines used in the
educated Filipino circles as a distinct variety of English.
- Llamzon claims that SFE in not only intelligible to the sizable Filipino community but to native
speakers of Canadian and North American English.
- He obtained speech samples from four subjects: a college professor, a college senior, a college
sophomore, and a maintenance staff with a sixth grade education.
- The data obtained by Llamzon was used by Martinez for her book Standard Filipino English
b.) Alberca and Gonzalez’s studies in Philipine English in Mass Media.
- They gathered data from newscast, talk shows, and print media to describe phonological,
syntactic, and lexical features of Philippine English on the basis o frequency occurrence.
c.) Sta. Ana and Gonzalez’s Diachronic Studies in Philippine English
- Sta. Ana (1983) and Gonzalez (1984) analyzed the reading of dialogues and responses to an oral
composition exercise of seven teachers of English and one Education student majoring in English
to describe the distinctive sounds and grammatical features of English spoken from an
- Gonzalez (1984) used oral reading of an English passage with critical General American
segmentals and suprasegmentals read by subjects belonging to five generations of students of
English Language Teaching in public schools. The objective of the study was to describe
Philippine English spoken across generations with reference to the history of English teaching in
Tayao’s Lectal Decription of Phonological Features of Philippine English
a.) The study
Tayao made use of LLamzon’s suggestion of studying the phonology of Philippine English
employing the lectal approach, with General American English as the standard. The lectal approach
classifies Philippine English in three sociological varieties, namely:
1. Acrolect – used by broadcasters, which closely approximates General American
2. Mesolect- used by professionals, which is marked by phonological deviations from
General American English but is still accepted by educated Filipinos as the Philippine variety of
3. Basilect- the speakers’ ethnic tongue forms the substratum.
b.) Subjects of the study
The data used in this study was obtained from a 2002 survey. The survey was designed to
determine the phonological features of Philippine English from 80 respondents. They were
categorized into 3 groups according to:
1. their frequency of use in English in different domains;
2. their preference for which language to use;
3. a self-assessment of their proficiency in English.
The acrolect group was composed of respondents whose first or home language was English;
extensively use English in their profession; rated themselves “excellent’ or ‘good’ in the language
and expressed preference for English in listening to broadcasts, viewing movies, reading texts, and
interacting with other people
The mesolect group consisted of professionals whose work necessitated the use of English;
rated themselves “good” or ‘average’ and sometimes ‘weak’ but rarely ‘excellent’ in the use of the
language; expressed preference for using their native language or the national language in most
Lastly, the basilect group was composed of sub-professionals whose use of English was limited
to job-related topics or interacting with superiors; rated themselves ‘average’ or ‘weak’ in the use of
English; seldom or never used English with relatives, friends, and peers.
c.) The instruments
1. Questionnaire A
- designed to get the demographic profile of the respondents in order to classify whether they are
acrolect, mesolect,or basilect. It asked for the respondents’ educational attainment, home
language, frequency of use of English, self-evaluation in the their use of English
- word lists (two sets with one containing critical consonant and vowels sounds for Filipinos and
the other containing 50 words that carry stress in Philippine English found to be distinctive from
General American English).
- monologue (a task that asked the respondents to state their name, occupation, job, length of
service, etc.) two passages from the Bible
- The respondents were asked to accomplish the tasks. Their responses were tape-recorded and
then analyzed. Where 80 percent of the respondents in a given group exhibited a particular
phonological feature, it was classified as part of the phonological inventory of that group.
- The consonant charts if General American and the three Philippine English varieties show that
/p. b, t, d, k, g, /; the nasals /m, n, ŋ /; the lateral /l/; the glides /w, y/; and the phoneme /r/ areɁ
present in all varieties. However, an analysis of the data reveals that whereas /r/ is retroflex
;liquid in the acrolectal variety is rolled or one tap in the mesolectal and basilectal variety.
- In the case of fricative, onle /h/ is present in all three varieties. The labiodental fricatives /f/
(voiceless) and /v/ (voiced) are also found in the acrolect and mesolect but are absent in the
basilect level; at the basilect level /f/ and /v/ are respectively substituted by /p/ and /b/.
- The interdental fricatives / / voiceless andϴ /ð/ (voiced) are likewise largely absent from the
basilectal variety, where they are replaced by the alveolar stops /t/ and /d/ respectively.
- The sibilants /s,z, , / are present in the acrolect, and coalesced as /s/ in both mesolect andʃ ʒ
basilect with the greater incidence of coalescence in the basilect than in the mesolect.
- As to the affricates / / and / /, both are present in the acrolect and mesolect but among theʧ ʤ
basilectal group of speakers, the former is realized as /ts/ while the later in rendered as /dy/ in
the word-initial position and /ds/ in word-final position.
- Regarding consonant clusters, three processes may be noted:
a. simplification- where the last consonant in the cluster in dropped.
e.g. past /pæst/ to /pas/
b. insertion of vowel between the consonants thereby changing the syllable structure
of syllabic consonants to CVC resulting in spelling pronunciation
e.g. mountain /maun-tn/ to /maun-teyn/
garden /gar-dn/ to /gar-d n/ɛ
little /li-tl/ to /li-t l/ɛ
c. Putting a vowel before the initial syllable in the cluster. This is evident in the
prothetic /s/ cluster in initial position. Morphophonemic change in regular verbs in
the past tense (.eg. –ed = /t/ after voiceless sounds except /t/; /d/ after voiced
sounds except /d/; or /Id/ after /t, d/) was observed in all the three groups, sounds
except after sibilants.
- The vowel inventory of the acrolectal group resembles closely that of General American although at
time the low central vowel /a/ is in free variation with the low front vowel /æ/. Also, the acrolectal
variety has both stressed /^/ and unstressed schwa / /, with the later or /I/ used in place ofə
distressed vowels in rapid speech. With the mesolectal group, there is only one high front vowel /i/
unlike the acrolectal variety which has two, both the tense /i/ and the lax /I/ following the General
American English. This is also true for the high tense back vowel /u/ which is used in lieu of the
lax / / ; as well as the mid-back tense or close /o/ which is used for both open and close /o/. Theʊ
low central / / is used instead of the unstressed schwa / / and it occurs in free variation with / / asɑ ə ɛ
a substitute for acrolectal /æ/.
- The basilectal group, specifically the Cebuanos, have only three vowels, /i/, /a/, and /u/. The first of
these is used for the mid-front /e/, / /, and the high front vowel /I/ vowels of the acrolectal variety.ɛ
The second is used for the low front vowel /æ/ and mid central vowels stressed /^/ and the
unstressed schwa / / while the last is used for the high / / and the mid back open and close /o/ə ʊ
vowels. As in the mesolectal group, the vowels are not distressed; the mesolectal and basilectal
groups are given their full vowel sound.
- There are some words whose stress in all three varieties of Philippine English that deviates from
that of General American English like colleague, govern, menu, hazardous, pedestal, formidable,
which are stressed on the first syllable in General American English but are stressed in all three
varieties of Philippine English on the second syllable; words like thereby, utensil, dioxide, and
percentage, which are stressed on the 1st
syllable in all three varieties of Philippine English, and
words like adolescence, antecedent, which are stressed on the 3rd
syllable in General American but
on the 2nd
syllable in Philippine English.
- The use of final intonation in all type of questions has remained stable in all three varieties of
Philippine English. Even if some respondents in the acrolectal group made a distinction between
the use of the final rising intonation in yes-no question seeking information and the final rising-
falling intonation in all other types of questions, there were also those who made no such
- The us eof syllable-timed instead of a stressed-timed rhythm is considered stable in the basilectal
and mesolectal varieties, which may be attributed to the fact that Philippine languages are
- While the use of consonant-to-vowel blends and the y and w linkers was evident among the
acrolectal group, this was not true of the mesolectal and basilectal varieties.
- Pause breaks in Philippine English sometimes fail to consider the change in meaning that results
when the structure of embeddings is not taken into account.
“You’re not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn by
themselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep
your mouth shut or talk their language.”
- Harper Lee “To Kill a Mockingbird”
References and suggested readings:
Bautista, M.L.S. and K. Bolton. (2009). Philippine English: Lingusitic and literary perspective. Hong Kong University
Gupta, Anthea Fraser. (1994). Singaporean colloquial English (Singlish). Retrieved July 9, 2013 from
Kennedy, K.J. and Gioia, D. (2002). Introduction to fiction. UK: Longman Publishing Company.
Linguisticsmarburg. (March 3, 2012). Sociolinguistics: Language, Dialect, Variety. Retrieved July 9, 2013 from
Nguyen Thanh Binh (2011). A brief description of Philippine English. Retrieved July 6, 2013 from
Bernard M. Paderes
Samples of Creolized English
The North Wind and The Sun (Jamaican Patois)
Di Naat Win an di Son did a kos bout wich wan a dem chrang-ga
The north wind and the sun argue about which one of them is stronger
wen dem si wan man a kom wel rap op ina wan sitn we luk lak-a
When they see one man coming well cover up in one something that look like a
wan winta kluok. Dem disaid se di fos wan we get di man fi tek aaf
one winter cloak. They decide that the first one that get the man to take off
ihn kluok a di chrang-ga wan. Di Naat Win den staat fi bluo haad haad
is cloak is the stronger one. The North Wind then start to low harder and harder
bot di haa-da ihn bluo di tait-a di man rap op i kluok roun im.
But the harder he blow the tighter the man pull up the cloak around him.
Di naat win jos disaid se ihn kudn bada. Den di son staat fi shain an
The north wind just decide that he couldn’t do any better. The sun start to shine and
di man di afi tek aaf ihn kluok sed taim.
The man had to take off his cloak at the same time.
An Exceprt from “Sweat” by Zorah Neale Hurston
“Syke! Syke, mah Gawd! You take dat rattlesnake ‘way from heah! You gottuh. Oh, Jesus,
“Ah ain’t got tuh do nuthin’ uh de kin’— fact is Ah ain’t got tuh do nothin’ but die. Taint no
use uh putting on airs makin’ out lak you skeered uh dat snake—he’s gointer stay right
heah tell he die. He wouldn’t bite me cause Ah knows how tuh handle ‘im. Nohow he
wouldn’t risk brekain’ out his fangs ‘gin yo skinny laigs.
Singlish (Singaporean English)
I kena scold. ‘I got/was scolded’
What happen yesterday? ‘What happened yesterday?’
You go where? ‘Where are you going?’
Got so many car! ‘You have so many cars!’
Then bicycle go first ah. ‘So the bicycle went first...’
I just sit and everything do for me ‘It does everything.’
You know what happen lah. Fine. ‘You know what happened? I got fined.’