LINGUIST List 8.1549

Wed Oct 29 1997

Qs: Socio-ling theory,Lang purism,Possessives

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  1. Carl Jay M. del Rosario, Socio-Linguistic Theory as a Framework of Study
  2. Jim Walker, language purism in English
  3. Zhimin Tong, Double possesive

Message 1: Socio-Linguistic Theory as a Framework of Study

Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 01:35:00 -0500
From: Carl Jay M. del Rosario <>
Subject: Socio-Linguistic Theory as a Framework of Study

 Hi! I am a graduate student taking my M.A. in Philippine Studies. 
I am currently doing research on people's participation in governance
(i.e. in the decision-making process) and development. My assumption
(as well as my professor's) is there can never be active mass
participation in the Philippines as long as the basic problem of not
having an accepted "national language" still persists. The Philippines,
as we all know, is an archipelago with countless ethno-linguistic groups
dispersed in various regions. Language planning (i.e. working on a
national language) is quite recent in as much as the Philippines was a
colony of Spain (for three centuries), America (for about four decades)
and Japan (for about four years). It only declared (genuine) statehood
at the onset of the second half of this century. There is now a
so-called "national language" -- "Filipino" -- which is no doubt based
on the regional dialect of the "dominant" ethno-linguistic group -- the
"Tagalogs" -- which in turn is based on the capital and some nearby
provinces. My question is: "What socio-linguistic theory would best
analyze the language situation in the Philippines?" I found theories
along the Marxist lines quite interesting to use. The persistence of
the Tagalogs (despite opposition from the Cebuanos farther south) in
maintaining a Tagalog-based national language could be considered an
elite group's attempt to perpetruate power relevant to decision-making
and (self-interests in) development. The language situation is
complicated by the fact that English is used side-by-side with the
"local languages (Tagalog-based Filipino and other dialects)." Modesty
aside I can claim that the well-educated Filipino is at par with the
well-educated American in English rhetoric, even in abstractive
reasoning. However, I cannot claim that this English language prowess
is very fortunate (or unfortunate) for the Filipino. In the capital --
Manila -- English is widely used, and in about 90% of schools, a
conservative figure, everything, except Filipino, History and some
Social Sciences, is taught in English. The elite -- in the realms of
politics, business, academe, etc. -- within the "elite society (Manila
vis-a-vis the rest of the country)" prefer to use English than Tagalog
or the so-called "Filipino," which I think is very much elitist as well
in as much as their use of English excludes "classes" not of their kind
in their affairs. Would Marxist Socio-Linguistic Theory fit a study
which would analyze the language situation in the Philippines? Would
you have in mind more "thinkers" who are more or less authorities in
this area? I encountered the names Marr and, surprisingly, Stalin in my
reading. Would they be of any help? How about the Frankfurt School
which my professor suggested? Thank you very much. I shall be waiting
for your response.

- Carl Jay M. del Rosario
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Message 2: language purism in English

Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 14:29:34 +0200
From: Jim Walker <>
Subject: language purism in English

I'm currently writing about French language purism - its history, its
motivations, its effects on usage and so on. I'm keen to compare what
happens here in France with attitudes to language purism in English
speaking communities. I'm particularly keen on the sort of things written
by irate citizens to newspapers, intellectuals publishing pamphlets and so
on. If any of you have any bibliographical material that you think may be
of interest, I would love to hear from you.

I also know that there was a debate in the House of Lords on language
sometime in 1979, I think, but I have no references or any further details.
could any one throw some light on that for me.

Thank you very much indeed

Jim Walker 9, place Henry Dunant
Dipt. Anglais 67000 STRASBOURG
Universiti de Strasbourg II
22, rue Reni Descartes Til: +33 03 88 14 02 07
Fax: +33 03 88 60 76 61
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Message 3: Double possesive

Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 05:30:55 PST
From: Zhimin Tong <>
Subject: Double possesive

I'm a teacher of English with Peking University, China. In my textbook
I came across a sentence: 

 My father was a close friend of Albert Einstein

According to my limited knowledge of English grammar, 
it seems Einstein's instead of Einstein should be used. 
I want to know if both are OK. If the answer is yes, 
then is there any difference between the
two? Would anyone help me?

With thanks,

Tong Zhimin
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