The Asian Journal of English Language Studies (AJELS), the official journal of the Department of English of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), publishes its maiden issue this year, after the Department was established in 2010. The Department of English was spun off from the original Department of Languages, which had been in existence for decades and which managed disciplines covering English, Filipino, Spanish, and Literature. Three years ago, the Department of English and the Department of Filipino were established. Following this change in organizational structure, another welcome development is expected later this year. The University is now working on the formal establishment of the Department of Foreign Languages, which will manage Spanish, French, and other foreign language programs.
Two years after its establishment, the Department of English envisioned for itself the putting up of a journal which would serve as a venue for the faculty as well as the graduate and undergraduate students to have their papers published. Its main aim is to promote a culture of research among the English faculty and students, and at the same time, make known to the local and international communities that a Department of English from UST is inching its way in the field of language education. The Department envisions itself to be known in the field and contribute, in a significant way, to language education in the Philippines. In the future, it hopes to make a niche in the field of applied linguistics by venturing into one specific area of specialization. Through its own journal, the Department hopes to make its presence felt in the academic community. It is around this background that the concept of the Asian Journal of English Language Studies (AJELS) was born. While it seeks to provide a venue for publication for the University’s faculty and students, AJELS welcomes wholeheartedly contributions from colleagues in the field from other universities and organizations, both local and international.
This maiden issue, which also serves as its very first volume, presents at least seven articles that investigate issues in various areas of language education and applied linguistics. The first article authored by Ahmar Mahboob and Priscilla Cruz investigates the degree of success of mother-tongue-based education in the Philippines which was recently proposed and implemented in basic education in the country. Mahboob and Cruz’s article argues that while the MTB-MLE language policy is a good move especially for a multilingual country like the Philippines, it is also essential to assess the role of English and Philippine languages in education and likewise examine the language attitudes of people toward the use of the mother tongue. Such is a logical assessment, for the success of the policy is very likely dependent on how stakeholders perceive it.
The second paper gives a description of two varieties of English – Hong Kong English and Indian English – in terms of morphosyntax. As such, the coverage includes the use of irregular verbs, adjectives, and s-genitives. Both varieties, while having been influenced by British English, carry marked differences in verb morphology. What is also interesting in the article of JooHyuk Lim and Ariane Borlongan is the comparison made to Philippine and New Zealand Englishes with Hong Kong English and Indian English. The latter two have been found to be more conservative in the use of s-genitives.
Rachelle Lintao’s paper analyzes the effects of stylistic features in deducing the meaning and the sociocultural realm of the short story entitled “The Sadness Collector.” She examined the theme in the story revolving around migration and how this is achieved through the author’s stylistic speech and thought presentation techniques. Lintao’s paper is an interesting attempt at stylistics. It is to be noted that very few researchers conduct studies on stylistics, especially those that use Philippine literary texts as corpus for investigation.
Anchored on the framework by Rod Ellis, Selwyn Cruz elicits from selected ESL and EFL college students their manifestation of explicit and implicit knowledge by administering a Grammaticality Judgment Test (GJT) and Free Writing Test (FWT), respectively. Implications for the teaching of English grammar in the Philippine context were drawn as the study yielded that for English tests, both explicit and implicit knowledge were used requiring knowledge of rule and personal judgment.
The fifth paper, written by Marie Claire Timbreza Duque, engages in spoken discourse analysis in investigating the organizational patterns in argumentative speeches of debaters. Interestingly, the author made use of argumentative essays that were actually used in spoken discourse, i.e., student debates, forming a solid basis on which to anchor classroom instruction in terms of teaching discrete elements of an argument.
The sixth paper by Eric Lebeco anchors its investigation of the accuracy and acquisition order of English grammatical morphemes of Filipino university freshman multilinguals on Krashen’s Natural Order Hypothesis. The study cites the major influence on the students’ accuracy/acquisition order. As in other studies conducted, Lebeco highlights L1 transfer as the major determinant in terms of accuracy/acquisition order and the use of overgeneralization, simplification, and incomplete application of rules as affecting the degree of ease or difficulty in acquisition.
The last paper, written by Bonifacio Cunanan, dwells on the language profile and attitudes of stakeholders in a Philippine state university, which is a multilingual academic setting. The institution of higher learning services thousands of students with a thousand faculty and personnel, all coming from various ethnolinguistic groups in at least five different campuses of the same institution. The study is challenging as it seeks to address issues in the formulation of a language policy to be adopted by the institution. Given the situation that the university is all for the intellectualization of Filipino, the institution is likewise open to the inclusion of foreign languages in its programs.
To the readers and subscribers of AJELS, it is my fervent hope that the journal will pave the way for the enrichment of your knowledge in the specific areas to which the writers contributed.
MARILU RAÑOSA MADRUNIO, Ph.D.
Editor, Asian Journal of English Language Studies
Chair, UST Department of Languages (2006-2010)
Chair, UST Department of English (2010-2012)