Exploring Manila Through Language English Language Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Language defines the identity and the culture of a certain community. It, sometimes, tells the disposition of a man in life. There are several plays of language, puns and idioms in R. Zamora Linmark's Leche that make this novel humorous. Leche is about a balikbayan from Hawaii who returns to his native home, Philippines. During his stay in the Philippines, he met several people including a director, a television personality, a renegade nun and arrogant hustlers. This novel also depicts the life in Manila.

Statement of the Problem:

This study will illustrate Manila, the place itself and the disposition of the people, from the perspective of the protagonist, a balikbayan from Hawaii, in terms of the puns, idioms and body languages used by the characters in R. Zamora Linmark's novel, Leche.

How is Manila depicted in the novel in terms of the puns, idioms and body languages used by the characters in the novel?

How does Western culture affect or influence the way Filipinos speak and act?

How does the language of the lower class differ from that of the upper class?

Significance of the Study:

This study will provide knowledge about the diversity of language in the Philippines. In addition, it will give a better understanding of different and common puns used by Filipinos. It will not just help the readers know the meaning of the puns but it will also help them trace its origin. It will also give information about the Western Influences in Manila and how it affected the language of the Filipinos since the study will be depicted from the perspective of a balikbayan. OFW's or balikbayans can get something from this study because it will include events and ideas that are relatable to their lives. The Philippine society can benefit from this study because it will present events seen in the novel that occur in present reality.

Scope and Limitation:

This study will only analyze the puns, idioms and expressions found in R. Zamora Linmark's novel, Leche. This study will also cover the Philippine society as well as its cultural norms and concept. William Labov's "Sociolinguistic Theory" will be applied to this study as an umbrella theory while Basil Bernstein's "Sociolinguistics Theory of Language Codes" and Joshua Fishman's "Sociology of Language" will be used as supporting theories. This study will also cover the kinesics or the body languages found in the novel. Other theories such as post colonialism, cultural poetics and structuralism will not be included in this study. The western influences in the Philippines will also be included in this study. However, this study will not contain other aspects or culture that influenced the Philippines.

Definition of Terms:


- This term was coined during the Marcos regime in 1973 for the US-based Filipinos returning to visit the Philippines. At the present time, Balikbayan also refers to the Overseas Filipino Workers or Filipino emigrants all over the world. (Linmark, 2011)


- It refers to the societal or institutionalized bilingualism, where two varieties are required to cover all the community's domain. (Holmes, 2008)


- This term commonly refers to the creation of new transcultural forms within the contact zone produced by colonization. (Holmes, 2008)


- This term refers to the study of body motion. (Chaika, 2008)


- It is a famous expression in the Philippines that means shit. (Linmark, 2011)

Linguistic Hybridity

- This term refers to a word that is composed of parts from different languages as a result of colonization. (Holmes, 2008)


- It refers to a community that regularly uses more than two languages. (Holmes, 2008)

Pidgin English

- It is a simplified language as a means of communication between two or more groups of people without common language. (Holmes, 2008)


- This term refers to the study of language itself in relation to society. (Holmes, 2008)

Sociology of Language

- It is the study of the society, the place and community itself, through analyzing their languages. (Holmes, 2008)


I will do a textual analysis of R. Zamora Linmark's novel, Leche. I will trace the origins of the puns and expressions that will be studied. Furthermore, I will also know the use and purpose of every pun and expression. As a main approach to this study, I will apply Sociolinguistics Theory of William Labov and gather information about the society who uses the language. I will also use Joshua Fishman's "Sociology of Language" and Basil Bernstein's "Sociolinguistics Theory of Language Codes" as supporting theories to this study. Also, I will explore more on the culture of the Filipinos and gather information about the different speech communities in the Philippines.

Theoretical Framework:

To be able to give knowledge and depth to every pun and expression that will be studied, Sociolinguistics Theory of William Labov should be the main approach to this study. Sociolinguistics Theory is the descriptive study of the society, including its cultural norms, expectations and concept, in order to explain the nature of language and how the society shaped the use of language. In this way, the languages used in the novel will be defined according to the society established by the Filipinos. In addition, it will enable this study to explore the culture of the Filipinos that will give a clearer picture of Manila. This study will also use Joshua Fishman's "Sociology of Language" as a support to be able to know the effect of language to the society or to an individual. By using this approach, the perspective and expression of the characters will be interpreted properly and that will help build the identities of the characters, which will be useful in knowing the social group they belong to. Basil Bernstein's "Sociolinguistics Theory of Language Codes" will also be applied to this study as a supporting theory in order to know the languages employed by members of different social groups. Bernstein's theory shows how the language, which people use in everyday conversation, reflects the image of a certain social group. Thus, sociolinguistics theory of language codes is essential to this study because the languages used by the characters will be identified according to their disposition in the society.

Chapter II

Survey of Related Literature:

Puns and Idioms

"Contextual connections within puns: Effects on perceived humor and memory" discusses the effects of the presence of puns in stories, how it enhances the memory of the reader and how humor arises from simple and complex word play. According to Lippman and Mara, puns can help the readers to remember certain parts of the story. Also, according to this study, the use of puns in a text makes the whole thing humorous. Idioms and puns are the center of my study that will give different interpretations to the characters in the novel as well as to the place, Manila. Furthermore, the presence of puns in the novel makes it humorous and triggers the character to remember the past.

Lynn Grant gives a more restrictive definition of the notion of idioms in her article, "Criteria for re-defining idioms: Are we barking up the wrong tree?", because she said that idioms are not well defined. She presents the criteria for an idiom to be an idiom. Idiom must constitute set expressions in a given language and it must be institutionalized. There are various idioms in the novel and this article will help my study to recognize the different idioms according to their use or function.

"Cut Down Puns" contains an overview of the 'cut down pun', its structure, its most common patterns, and its relationship with other playful categories of word-formation that is based on sound repetition. Usually, puns came from names of famous personalities or events. In relation to my study, the origins of puns will be easily traced through using this article.

Filipino American Identity

"Beyond Adaptationism: Immigrant Filipino Ethnicity in Hawaii" contains the concept of 'adaptation' applied in the life of Filipinos in Hawaii. Jonathan Okamura conducted a study in Hawaii where he surveyed the lives of Filipino Immigrants there. He said that the lives of Filipinos in Hawaii are influenced by the culture and perspectives of Americans. The protagonist in the novel is a balikbayan from Hawaii and this article will help my study to analyze the protagonist in the novel.

"Filipino American Lives" explains changing identity of Filipino immigrants, the influence of colonial history and white-dominated culture, and the role of the community in their lives. This article will also help my study to give interpretations to the characters and to the place since the Filipinos are influenced by the Western culture.

"On both sides of the hyphen: exploring the Filipino-American identity" depicts the Filipino-American identity in terms of attitude, material things and culture and discusses how the Filipinos are enveloped in the notion and ideologies of the Americans. This article will help my study to depict the Filipino identity as well as the place they live in.

Philippine Linguistics

"An examination of the patterns and functions of tagalog-english code-switching in two oral discussions" explains why Filipino speakers code-switch in the process of verbal production.

"The Filipino Bilingual from Sociolinguistics Perspective" presents the Filipino bilingualism in terms of identity, sociolinguistic competencies including attitudes, motivations and proficiency within a multilingual and multicultural setting. This article will help my study to depict the way the characters speak and to identify what triggers them to use certain puns or idioms.

Application of Sociolinguistics

Susan Pineda conducted a study in Eastern and Western Marinduque about their languages using a sociolinguistic discipline. This study was conducted to determine the language preferences of the native speakers. This study explains why the language of teenagers is different from the language of old people. It also discusses the relationship of language to age, class and gender. In relation to my study, the points that are given in Pineda's study can be useful to my analyses of language in terms of social class or group.

Jon Peter Situmorang conducted a study about the Toba Batak people using disciplines such as sociolinguistics, anthropology and psychology. This study presents the forms, functions and factors affecting the patterns of use of terms of address. This will be helpful to my study because it will serve as a guide for the application of sociolinguistics.