Chinese Filipinos tag their questions, kiam si? Some notes on tag questions in Philippine Hybrid Hokkien
Wilkinson Daniel Wong Gonzales
Philippine ESL Journal
Chinese Filipinos, Philippine English, Philippine Hybrid Hokkien, mixed languages, tag questions
This paper investigates tag questions in a Philippine contact variety spoken by Chinese in the Philippines called Philippine Hybrid Hokkien (PHH) – a trilingual admixture that is characterized by the systematic co-existence of the Hokkien, Tagalog, and English grammatical (sub)systems. After analyzing spontaneous oral data gathered from native speakers, ten types of tag questions were identified, with two of them being bilingually innovative and unique to PHH (e.g. m si ba?). Further analyses of data reveal that attitudinal tag questions are more frequently used than confirmatory tag questions. That alternative tags (e.g. okay?) are more preferred compared to their canonical counterparts have also been suggested by initial data. Although the use of tag questions in PHH is reminiscent of the individual grammars of English, Tagalog, and Hokkien, data suggests that PHH, whether analyzed as a trilingual linguistic variety or a hybrid X-English, is developing away from these normative languages and that the Chinese Filipinos are creating new norms for this variety.