Specific research topics
The Philippines is a former colony of Spain as well as the United States, and for this reason, Philippine English follows American English instead of British English as an exonormative standard, and many Philippine English words are influenced by Spanish, the language of the country’s first colonizers. The impact of Spanish on Philippine languages extends to English, as evidenced by the lexical items of Spanish origin that have and may make their way into the OED through Philippine English. This makes for a curious case of language contact, as words such as Moro, población and presidente have entered a quintessentially British dictionary not from nearby southern Europe, but from an Asian country halfway across the world. This also serves to illustrate how the inclusion of items from localized varieties of English contributes to the etymological richness of the OED.
The particular focus of this research strand is on innovations that occur in the interface between lexis and grammar, a borderline area that recent research has shown to be particularly susceptible to variable usage and regional differentiation (Mukherjee & Hoffmann, 2006; Salazar, 2010; Schneider, 2004; Skandera, 2003). These lexicogrammatical phenomena include idiosyncratic collocations, verb complementation, concord patterns, article usage and other instances of lexical and grammatical patterning unique to Philippine English. These innovations can be explained in terms of the equivalence Filipino speakers draw between these novel forms and existing structures in Standard American English, a process of reasoning labeled nativized semantico-structural analogy by Mukherjee & Hoffmann (2006).
Mukherjee, J., & Hoffmann, S. (2006). Describing verb-complementational profiles of New Englishes: A pilot study of Indian English. English World-wide, 27(2), 147-173.
Salazar, D. (2010). Lexical bundles in Philippine and British scientific English. Philippine Journal of Linguistics, 41, 94-109.
Schneider, E. W. (2004). How to trace structural nativization: Particle verbs in world Englishes. World Englishes, 23(2), 227-249.
Skandera, P. (2003). Drawing a map of Africa: Idiom in Kenyan English. Tübingen: Narr.
This line of investigation is a response to Mesthrie’s (2003) call to bridge the gap between the related research areas of World Englishes and contact linguistics through the use of more historical data in the analysis of innovations in new English varieties. In 2000, Davy used the OED to show that lexical features that were thought to be African innovations had in fact an earlier history in British English, thus proving that comparisons with the current standard of the superstrate language are not sufficient to establish “normic newness”. Following this previous study, I am using OED entries and quotations to trace the history of several words that previous lexical surveys have identified as PE innovations, and I find some of them to be represented in earlier British English quotations in the dictionary. For example, the use of the word province to refer to any place outside a country’s capital, considered by some as a meaning extension unique to PE, is actually recorded in the OED with quotations dating almost three centuries before English came to the Philippines. Similar examples demonstrate how incorporating insights from diachronic analysis and contact linguistics can enrich the study of World Englishes.
Davy, J. (2000). A conservative view of the New Englishes. Paper presented at the First International Conference on Linguistics in Southern Africa, 12-14 January, University of Cape Town.
Mesthrie, R. (2003). The World Englishes paradigm and Contact Linguistics: Refurbishing the foundations. World Englishes, (22)4, 449-461.