Filipino, Chinese, neither, or both? The Lannang identity and its relationship with language

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Wilkinson Daniel Wong Gonzales

Language & Communication

Journal Article

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Lannang, language and identity, cultural hybridity, indexicality, Chinese, Filipino

This paper focuses on a specific community of individuals who have mixed Southern Chinese and Filipino cultural heritage in the Philippines – the ‘Lannangs’. I investigate the Lannang identity and, with ethnographic interviews and survey data, propose that the identity should be broadly defined as comprising of four dynamic parts: being Filipino, being Chinese, being neither, and being both. Focusing on the Manila community, I show how the Lannangs navigate between these orientations depending on the social context and the interlocutors. Moreover, drawing on the notions of indexicality and simultaneity, I investigate the role of language in the characterization of the Lannang identity. I also show that Hokkien, Lánnang-uè, Tagalog, English are being used to embody the aspects of ‘Lannang-ness’.

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