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1.1. The Speech Community

Kapampangan, also known as Pampango, Pampangan and Pampangueño, is an Austronesian language of the Philippine type, spoken by some 900,000 people living in the central plain of Luzon, the Republic of the Philippines. The center of this speech community is the Province of Pampanga but Kapampangan is also spoken beyond the province’s political boundaries. A substantial portion of the Province of Tarlac consists of Kapampang­an speaking communities, and small portions of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Bataan are likewise Kapampangan. In addition, of course, there are scattered enclaves elsewhere—in Manila (e.g. “barrio Kapampangan” in Paco), in Mindanao, in Honolulu, etc.).

1.1.1 Multilingualism

In the Kapampangan speech community it is still possible to find many speakers who are essentially mono­lingual. The more common case, however, (at least in my limited experience) was that of various degrees of bi­lingualism and multilingualism. While I encountered no one with a speaking ability in Spanish, I feel certain such people exist. The vast majority of my 2friends and acquaintances were trilingual, speaking Kapampangan and Tagalog very skillfully and English quite well indeed or at least to some extent.

There was a noticeable difference in age levels. Teenagers seem to be quite strongly affected by Tagalog. While the adults (thirty years of age and older) speak Tagalog quite well, it does not seem to have the influence on their Kapampangan speech that it is having on the Kapampangan of the teenage group. The older barrio folk frequently comment on the “poor quality” of the teenagers’ Kapampangan. (What was most noticeable to me was the latter group’s unfamil­iarity with lexical items from Kapampangan, substitut­ing in their place English and Tagalog.)

By the time children reach the fourth grade, they speak Tagalog well enough to converse comfortably with newcomers in that language. The preference for Tagalog over English in this context is substantial.

1.1.2 Mass Media

No doubt the mass media is a prime mover in this developing multilingual situation. While one hears Kapampangan constantly from the barrio people, at the same time he is deluged with Tagalog at a loud volume from ubiquitous radios and even television sets. 3English on the radio or television is quite secondary, and Kapampangan is limited to perhaps less than one hour a day on radio.

Informants in their forties have indicated to me that the Japanese occupation marked a turning point in the Kapampangan openness to speaking Tagalog. (This merits further investigation.)

Reading material in Kapampangan is limited largely to religious pamphlets and prayer books (and now some elementary school readers). Adult reading matter is either in Tagalog or English: magazines are most in evidence; newspapers to a lesser extent.

1.2 Localized Varieties of Kapampangan

Dialect surveying remains a task to be undertaken; preliminary information indicates the existence of two major dialects, following roughly the Rio Grande and the political district divisions of the province. In the western dialect, final -ay has frequently changed to -e, final -aw to -o, and some instances of -ayu- to -o-. Furthermore, there are minor differences of intonation (which seem to follow the rivers) and of lexicon (barrio by barrio). But none of these variations seems to prevent a high degree of 4mutual intelligibility.

1.3 Data for the Present Study

The present study is based upon data gathered during approximately six months (October, 1968 to April, 1969) in the town of Bacolor, more properly, Villa de Bacolor, and especially in that portion of barrio Cabalantian (Bacolor), which is between the school and the chapel.

Bacolor was selected as the site for this study in part because of its attractiveness as a place to reside but particularly because of its reputation as the “Athens of Pampanga”. For centuries, Bacolor has been the first home of the best known Kapampangan writers, and this fact, no doubt, contributed to its selection for earlier linguistic studies. The two most substantial studies on the Kapampangan language to date, those of Bergaño and of Parker, were done in Bacolor.

1.4 Acknowledgements

My family and I were made to feel quite at home in Bacolor by the late Mayor Ricardo Rodriquez and his family and then Acting Mayor Blanco, school officials especially Mr. Florencio B. David, relatives and friends 5of my wife in the Abello and Lazatin families, friends from my days as a Peace Corps volunteer especially in the Liongson and Navarro families, and most particularly by the people of Cabalantian: the barrio officials particu­larly Captain Pascual Miranda and secretary Rosendo Razon and our neighbors of the Miranda, Olalia, and David fam­ilies. In Hawaii, the family of Godofredo Turla has contributed much to my understanding of the system of Kapampangan. We would also like to acknowledge our con­tacts with Peace Corps volunteers in the Kapampangan area, which were always stimulating.

1.5 Earlier Studies of the Kapampangan Language

The most important studies of the Kapampangan language are those of a dictionary and of a grammar by the Augustinian friar Diego Bergaño: Vocabulario de la Lengua Pampanga en Romance (1732, reprinted 1860), and Arte de la Lengua Pampanga (1736, reprinted 1916). Next in importance is the English-Spanish-Pampango dic­tionary prepared in 1905 by Luther Parker with the as­sistance of Modesto Joaquin and Juan (Crisostomo?) Soto. Other dictionaries (word lists) were prepared early during the American occupation but these are not of the same quality as the Bergaño work. More recently, a few works which are smaller in scope have appeared: 6the detailed Ph.D. dissertation of C. T. Clardy on Pampango phonology, a University of the Philippines master’s thesis on Pampango syntax by Castrillo, V. Gamboa-Mendoza’s Phonological Peculiarities of Pampangan, an Ateneo master’s thesis by vonHeiland, and the work of E. Constantino of the University of the Philippines which touches on Kapampangan.

1.6 Kapampangan Literature

For summary descriptions of Kapampangan literature the interested reader is referred to three survey studies: Juan S. Aguas, Juan Crisostomo Soto and Pampangan Drama (Quezon City: University of the Philippines, 1963); Alejandrino Q. Perez, “The Pampango Folklore: proverbs, riddles, folksongs” and Alfredo Panizo, O. P. and Rodolfo V. Cortez, “Introduction to the Pampango Theater” in Unitas, March 1968, Vol. 4 #1.

Today in Pampanga it is quite difficult for the ordinary language learner to come upon written materials in Kapampangan. The only exception to this is religious literature. The Catholics have numerous leaflets; the Jehovah’s Witnesses have regular pamphlets as well as a few translated religious books, and the Philippine Bible Society makes available a translation of both the 7Old and New Testaments.

It is still possible to obtain copies of metrical romances known as kuríru but to do so I found I had to go early in the morning to towns which were celebrating fiestas and canvas the vendors near the main church. Titles of the kurírus I obtained are: Pugut Negro, Doce Pares, Conde Irlos, Juan Tiñoso, Ding Aduang Micaluguran y Tuto at y Malaram, and Principe Igmedio at Princesa Cloriana.

There are at least seven elementary school readers published by the Bureau of Public Schools as well as one other (1953) adult education reader. Examples in this study have been drawn liberally from these readers as they provide less complex sentences than most of my tape-recorded texts. Other scattered samples of Kapampangan writing are available in the San Fernando municipal library and the Pampanga Provincial Library. These include a book of stories, essays and poems by Belarmino P. Navarro, Casapungul a Batuin, and a collection of town histories with essays on customs and collections of folklore, written by teachers in the Bureau of Public Schools (fragments of some of which are written in Kapampangan).8

Newspapers: There is said to be a bimonthly newspaper called The Voice which is published in San Fernando and which contains Kapampangan articles but I have been unable to see a copy. In the 1920’s and 1930’s a number of periodicals were published: Ing Catala, Ing Katipunan, Ing Katiwala, Ing Cabbling, Catimawan, Timbañgan, Ing Capampañgan (cf. David, Manuel H. (ed.), Pampanga Directory, Manila: V. V. Santos, 1933, Vol. I), but they are now defunct and back issues are not readily available.

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