Cultural keywords in Philippine English

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Following Williams’s (1976) seminal work on cultural keywords in English, other language researchers have embraced the term, applying different methodologies (both qualitative and quantitative) to identifying them. They find sets of keywords (larger and smaller) in British, Australian, and South Asian Englishes, using synchronic rather than diachronic approaches to identifying them. This chapter uses diachronic evidence to demonstrate the durability of some Philippine cultural keywords through major historical and language changes in the speech community. It uses early and modern lexical records to document a set of 20 words that survive from the Spanish colonial regime, were taken up into Tagalog, and thence transferred into C20 Philippine English. These Spanish-derived keywords (e.g. poblacion, sala, mestizo, lola) are culture-specific in representing and reflecting profound social changes in the Philippines, as seen in their usage in data from the GloWbE corpus (Global Web-based English, 2012). They illustrate the legacy from Spanish colonialism present in C21 Philippine English: cultural keywords continuing in various socio-semantic fields.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDynamics of language changes
    Subtitle of host publicationlooking within and across languages
    EditorsKeith Allan
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811564307
    ISBN (Print)9789811564291
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • cultural keywords
    • lexicographic evidence
    • Philippine English
    • semantic field
    • Spanish


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