Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Linguistics

Subject Categories

South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


English and Applied Linguistics

Thesis Adviser

Cecilia F. Genuino

Defense Panel Chair

Leah E. Gustilo

Defense Panel Member

Paulina M. Gocheco
Aireen B. Arnuco
Shirley N. Dita
Michael Tanangkingsing


The study of language variation belongs to dialectology. Its quintessential objective is to record the retention of older words and pronunciation. The research study aimed at investigating the lexical and phonological variation of Tausug in the island province of Basilan and the factors that explained the causes of variations. Anchored primarily on the framework of Chambers and Trudgill (1980, 1998, 2004), it used The Expanded Philippine Wordlist that comprised of 500 vocabulary words as the source of primary data in analyzing the lexical and phonological variations. Perception data gathered from the unstructured sociolinguistic interviews were used to identify the sociohistorical causes and linguistic explanation of variation. There were 7 cities and municipalities of Basilan covered in the study. The primary language informants were 8 females and 6 males Tausug native speakers whose age ranged from 40-55. The 500 lexemes elicited to the 14 informants were transcribed using IPA. The findings yielded that there were 330 (66%) lexemes that showed lexical and phonological variations and there were 170 (34%) lexemes that showed no variation. Further, it recognized 7 kinds of lexical variations and 9 major phonological variations. The sociolinguistic interviews revealed that migration and settlement were the primary causes with adventurous quality as additional factor. There was evidence of language analogy, grammaticalization and weakening of sounds. It also found 12 major patterns of isoglosses with 116 subpatterns and 241 isoglosses and revealed that all the 7 municipalities had its own bundles of isoglosses. Furthermore, the study found that the varieties of Tausug from the 7 municipalities showed a high shared cognate percentage of 82-97% that affirmed that the varieties are dialects of the Tausug language. It further implied that the dialects/varieties showed complete intelligibility among the Tausug speakers in Basilan. The findings suggested that the high percentage of variation occured in the entire island and there was evidence of language contact among Tausug, Sama, Visayan, Tagalog, Chavacano, and Yakan in the island. However, it was also evident that Tausug language is becoming dominant because of the presence of Tausugs. In the context of migration from Jolo to Basilan, Tausug language was a dominant language of mobility that dominated the spatio-temporal aspects of language (Blommaert and Dong, 2010). The dominance was not a trajectory development but with the approval and recognition of other ethnic groups. Its dominance converted its distinction into normative dimensions situating the Tausug language as the language in use. Blommaert and Dong (2010) theorized that “the movement of people across space is therefore never a move across empty spaces” (p. 368). Further, they said that “the spaces are always someone’s space, and they are filled with norms, expectations, conceptions of what counts as proper and normal (indexical) language used and what does not “(p. 368). The study suggested that in the wave of migration in Basilan, Tausug language was the dominant language of mobility and they seemingly owned the spaces with approval and recognition of other ethnicities.

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Tausug language——Variation

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