Investigating the grammatical features of Philippine English


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Dept of English and Applied Linguistics

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source Title

Philippine English: Linguistic and Literary

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The study of Philippine English as a distinct variety dates from the publication of Teodoro A. Llamzon's landmark study Standard Filipino English in 1969. That monograph focused on the phonology of Philippine English, and had only a very short section on grammar, which covered only two pages of the book, consisting basically of a listing of Filipinisms, 'English expressions which are neither American nor British, which are acceptable and used in Filipino educated circles, and are similar to expression patterns in Tagalog' (Llamzon, 1969: 46). Since that time, the grammar of educated Philippine English has been studied in some depth by other linguists, notably Alberca (1978, summarized in Gonzalez and Alberca, 1978, and restated in Gonzalez, 1985), Gonzalez (1983), Casambre (1986), Aranas (1988), Romero (1988, summarized in 1993), Jambalos (1989), Gonzalez (1991), Bautista (2000a, summarized in 2000b), and Gonzalez, Romero and Jambalos (2004). This paper has used those descriptions as a starting point for quantitative investigation. Since those descriptions were based mainly on observations and analyses of small sets of data, my aim here was to validate the features already identified by using a concordancing program on the one-million word Philippine corpus, the Philippine component of the International Corpus of English, henceforth ICE-PHI. The essential research issue here was to identify which grammatical features occur in ICE-PHI, and to investigate their frequency of occurrence. In addition, because the Singapore (ICE-SIN), Hong Kong (ICE-HK), and Great Britain (ICE-GB) corpora were ready to hand, the occurrence of such features in the Philippine corpus could be compared with their occurrence in the other corpora. It is instructive to see how the three Outer English ('second language') varieties of Philippine English, Singapore English, and Hong Kong English line up beside the Inner English ('first language') variety, British English. (ICE-US, unfortunately, is still not available.) It is worth investigating whether the three Outer English varieties can be located on a cline in relation to the Inner English variety. Both published literature and casual observation seem to suggest an ordering from Singapore English to Philippine English and finally to Hong Kong English in terms of closeness to the first language variety. © 2008 by Hong Kong University Press, HKU. All rights reserved.



English Language and Literature | Language and Literacy Education


English language—Philippines—Grammar

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