The Bikol in Socorro Federis-Tate’s English-language Usípons

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Abstract

This study analyzes six selected “usípons” (short stories) of Socorro Federis-Tate who hailed from the Bikol region, Philippines using a postcolonial perspective. The article discusses how in her usipons, Federis-Tate explores the Bikol postcolonial sensibility through the characters’ culture, race, and religion. Through Qualitative Content Analysis in analyzing abrogation and appropriation strategies employed by Federis-Tate, this article shows that she widely uses untranslated Bikol words followed by glossing, syntactic fusion, and code-switching in her works. The untranslated words can be categorized under 1) environmental, 2) cultural, and 3) kinship terms. Federis-Tate’s appropriation and abrogation of English is her political response to the residual effects of colonialism. By using untranslated words, she valorizes the language of the natives which reflect their ideologies and identity. She gives voice to the natives by engaging her readers in a discourse that centers on the indigenes. She constrains the power of the English language in the postcolonial Philippines by restructuring the language and adapting it to the context and rhythm of the Bikol language. Federis-Tate’s stories contain postcolonial discourses that express the hybridity of Bikol identities and ideologies which show the power of Filipino postcolonial culture, language, and literature.