PREDICTING THE SURVIVAL OF THE BATAK, AN ENDANGERED LANGUAGE IN PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES

Authors

  • Teresita Tajolosas

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51200/bimpeagajtsd.v4i1.3097

Keywords:

sociological factors, ethnolinguistic vitality, ethnic identity, language attitude, language loss

Abstract

The aim of the study was to examine the ethnolinguistic vitality of three Batak communities in Palawan and predict whether language maintenance or shift will prevail, drawing on various studies. The study employed three research tools: (1) observation of in-group‘s language behavior; (2) guided interviews for the following questionnaires: (a) Personal Profile and Reported Language Ability Questionnaire, (b) Questionnaire on Reported Language Use and Language Attitude, (c) Questionnaire on Interpersonal Network of Linguistic Contacts (INLC), and (d) Beliefs in Ethnolinguistic Vitality Questionnaire (BEVQ); and (3) Lexical Ability Test,
Sentence Translation Test and Actual Language Proficiency Test. Despite the high rate of migration and intermarriage in Riyandakan and Mangapin, all three Batak communities studies demonstrated positive language attitude and very high ethnic identity, reported high Batak language ability which correlated with actual language proficiency, reported more domains of language use and exhibited medium to strong beliefs in ethnolinguistic vitality. Structural analysis of data from the objective language test revealed replacements of Batak lexicon by Tagbanua and Cuyonon counterparts. However, examination of sentence translation data for
grammatical morphemes revealed a relatively intact set of Batak grammatical morphemes. Findings in the present study have established the following variables– (1) age, (2) actual language proficiency, (3) language attitude, (4) ethnic identity and interpersonal network of linguistic contacts as predictors of language use. Overall, the speakers in all three areas have generally demonstrated in varying degrees, additive bilingualism/multilingualism in that the learning of Tagalog, Tagbanua, and Cuyonon did not entail the loss of the Batak language. While Tagalog is indisputably dominant in the domains of school, church, politics, media and public interactions, and while Tagbanua and Cuyonon have shown influence in Batak language, none of these three languages is embraced as a Batak identity marker, hence the Batak language continually occupies the domains of home, neighborhood and work in all three areas.

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Published

2015-06-06
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