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Plenary presentation at the 24th International Conference

of the International Association for World Englishes, June 20-22, 2019

Pinoylish: Philippine Englishes as hugot
Isabel Pefianco Martin, Ateneo de Manila University

In this presentation, I approach English in the Philippines not as one language, but
as several varieties that are used in a wide range of situations and contexts. English arrived
in the country as a language transported through colonialism. Its spread was facilitated by
a public education system led by young Americans who were deployed as teachers to far-
flung regions of the archipelago. The American English varieties that these teachers spoke
came into contact with various Philippine languages, resulting in the indigenization or
nativization of English in the Philippines. This nativized variety, often referred to as
‘standard’ or ‘educated’ Philippine English, is the object of study of many language scholars.
As English spread throughout the country, the language acquired new forms, features, and
functions. It has also developed into a language of aspiration for many Filipinos. Language
policies, largely disjointed and inchoate, have struggled to address the competing demands
of the local and the global. In most cases, language policies persisted in promoting the
‘standard’ English variety.
What most studies and policies on English in the Philippines have continued to
neglect is the fact that there are variety of Englishes that multilingual and translingual
Filipinos constantly use in a variety of situations and contexts, thus the need to draw out
these Philippine Englishes in the open. In current Philippine Englishes scholarship, there is
a need for hugot—a Tagalog term that means “to draw out” or “to pull out.” Hugot became a
popular concept among young Filipinos as #hugot, referring to situations that draw out
deep-seated emotions or attachments that are often unconscious or not immediately
apparent to the individual. In this presentation, I will approach Philippine Englishes from
the perspective of hugot and refer to these varieties as Pinoylish—Philippine Englishes in
constant flux, in continuous construction, always fluid, occupying various points in a cline
of peripherality and centrality, drawing from a repertoire of local languages, including
English as a Philippine mother tongue, as well as other modes of communication that shape
what is meaningful to the Filipino.
Keywords: Philippine English; Philippine Englishes; translingual practice; English in
multilingual contexts; English as multilingual; English as translingual