The ethnography of speaking the Bikol folk song : text, context and performance.

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Arts in Language and Literature Major in Filipino


College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Eugenio, Damiana

Defense Panel Member

Otanes, Fe
Hidalgo, Araceli
Medina, Buenaventura, Jr.
Erestain, Teresita
Peñaflorida, Andrea


This is a study on sociolinguistic competence, an ethnography of speaking the Bikol folk song using the framework presented by Dell Hymes on the ethnography of speaking. It describes the unconsciously known rules in the performance of the Bikol folk song, a popular speech genre in the region. The elements of Text, Context and Performance of the Bikol folk song and its sub-types and their rules of co-occurrence are explicitly stated.Participant observation, interviews, and documentary research were employed to gather data on folk songs and the folksinging situation. The fieldwork involved all six provinces of the Bikol region: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and Masbate.Loosely following the life cycle approach, each folk song subtype is presented in terms of the characteristic features of Text, Context and Performance using musically notated versions collected from informants. The social functions of each folk song subtype are analyzed.The study categorizes the Bikol folk songs into two general types: the songs of the home and the family and songs of social gatherings, both formal and informal. The songs of the home and the family include the lullabies, play and game songs for babies and toddlers, songs for older children, and women's songs. The songs of social gatherings include drinking songs and harana songs.Special song types such as the 'pantomina', the 'sumpungan' and the 'rawitdawit' are also described as well as quasi-folk song forms such as the 'berso', the Christmas 'kagharong' and the 'perdon'.
An analysis of the findings reveal that there are only two general classes of Bikol folk songs based on the dominant and distinctive features of Text, Context and Performance:1. the happy, playful songs of the home and family and very close friends. The focus is on Text and not on aesthetic performance. The creativity of the Bikol folk in grafting appropriate lyrics to simple, popular melodies is outstanding in evidence. These are performed without musical accompaniment. They are practical in that they are sung to accompany domestic everyday activities.2. the formal sentimental love songs of the 'harana' tradition where the focus is on Performance, Aethetic standards are at a premium. They are performed with musical accompaniment. They are audience-oriented in that they seek attention and formal appreciation.The songs are sung under a variety of situations either as functional accompaniment (as in child care) or as focused performance (as in the 'harana'). They perform functions ranging from language acquisition (as in the case of children's rhymes) to building group solidarity (as in the standard Bikol songs). The wealth and variety of folk songs in the region are a testimony to the reality that folksinging is a truly integral part of Bikol life.Finally, the Bikol folk songs reflect the world view of the Bikolnon - relaxed, casual, unperturbed by ill fortune, accepting of the world.

Abstract Format




Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

453 leaves.


Sociolinguistics.; Language and culture.; Folk-songs -- Philippines -- Bikol.; Ethnology.; Language and languages -- Style.

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