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Community Pantry, ECQ, and Social Distancing: Linguistic Innovations in Philippine English During the Covid-19 Health Crisis

Rafael Ibe Santos

Date of publication:

December 31, 2022

This paper is an attempt to chronicle some of the linguistic innovations in Philippine English (PhE) from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 all the way to the third quarter of 2022 and gather impressions about their origins, functions, surge in usage, and images conjured. Additionally, the study considered the implications of the modifications on the evolution of PhE, which is thought to be between phase 3 and 4 in Schneider’s Dynamic Model of the Evolution of New Englishes. Of the changes in morphology, semantics, and syntax that were uncovered, the seven variations were mostly compound words, acronysms, and initialisms. Findings show that acronysms and initialisms represented formal language usage. Introduced by communities of practice within the government, the innovations served Covid-related communication needs such as labels for isolation terms and welfare assistance programs, made popular at the height of the pandemic between March and May 2020. A number of the neologisms projected images of war and militarism as well as poverty. The phrase community pantry, which was used widely between April and June 2021, became polysemous and localized to embody the bayanihan (community) spirit. This study concurs with earlier findings that the local variety appears to be experiencing endonormative stabilization.

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