The Department held the 15th Philippine Linguistics Congress (15PLC) last August 23 to 25, 2023 at the UP National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (NISMED). This international conference serves as the centerpiece of the Department’s year-long celebration of its centennial founding anniversary.

The conference was graced by the participation of PhD alumna, Dr. Marlies S. Salazar, who presented the keynote lecture where she discussed the historical background behind the establishment of the Department. She highlighted historical developments which led to the institution of the Department as a research center for Philippine languages and tracked the growth of Department and the challenges that it met along the way.

The closing plenary was delivered by Professor Emerita Maria Serena I. Diokno of the UP Department of History. In her talk titled “Bakit Mahalaga ang Kasaysayan ng Institusyon,” Dr. Diokno related the challenges of writing institutional histories and their potential, not only for the development of an institution, but also for providing a glimpse into how it has made an impact or how it can continue to make an impact on its members and the society in which it operates.

Members of the Department also presented five plenary sessions at the conference wherein major developments in key research areas of the Department were discussed. These research areas were (1) language documentation and description, (2) historical and comparative linguistics, (3) language and culture, (4) Filipino as the national language of the Philippines, and (5) the teaching of national languages of Asian countries.

Aside from these plenary sessions, over fifty papers dealing with a wide-ranging set of topics were also presented at the conference. These include studies on lexicography, linguistic historiography, morphosyntax, semantics, dialectology, language acquisition, translation, and experimental approaches to cognitive processing of language structures. Many of these were presented by alumni and former visiting researchers of the Department, thus making the event a homecoming of sorts for scholars who have passed through the ever-welcoming doors of the Department over the years.

Junior or early-career language researchers were also selected to present their studies in parallel sessions. A poster session was also held on the second day of the conference, where organizations, including the Translators Association of the Philippines, SIL Philippines, and the Asi Studies Center for Culture and the Arts, introduced their work. Selected graduate and undergraduate students of the Department were also given a chance to showcase their research studies at the poster session.

Four workshops were also held a day before the conference proper. Dr. Maria Sheila Zamar, an alumna of the Department’s BA Ling program and current assistant professor at the University of Montana-Missoula, facilitated a workshop on developing second/foreign language teaching materials. Dr. Jed Pizarro-Guevarra (University of Massachusetts Amherst) gave an introduction on how to design, run, and analyze experimental research in linguistics using speaker judgment data. Meanwhile, Alessa Farinella, a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts, taught participants how to work with acoustic data for phonetic analysis. PhD Candidate Ryn Jean Fe Gonzales also facilitated a workshop on participatory methods for engaging communities in language development.

To close the three-day conference, Department Chair and convener of the 15PLC, Dr. Kristina Gallego, thanked everyone who participated in the conference and laid out some of the Department’s future events that are currently already in the works. She expressed the Department’s commitment to continue striving towards the fulfillment of its mandates and its hopes of continuing to work together with communities to serve their language-related needs.

The Philippine Linguistics Congress was first held in 1978 with Professor Emeritus Jonathan Malicsi as the first convener. It has since grown to be an international conference that focuses on the current advances in the scientific study of language and the application of linguistic theory to other fields of study, done in the context of the Philippines. You can find more information and read the conference proceedings or browse through the collection of abstracts from past PLCs at our PLC Digital Repository.

Being held in conjunction with our celebration of the 100 years since the Department’s establishment, one of the objectives of the 15PLC is to look back and honor the history of linguistic scholarship done by our predecessors in the Philippines. The conference also showcased recent developments in the discipline which point to an optimistic future of the field.

The next PLC is set to be held in 2028. We hope that you can join us there!

Published by UP Department of Linguistics