For the eleventh and final installment of this year’s Philippine Indigenous Languages Lecture Series (PILLS), MA Linguistics alumnus John Venson Villareal discussed “Nominal Marking, Linking, and Subordinating in Bolinao.” Livestreamed on Facebook via Zoom on 11 December, Villareal’s lecture delved into a linguistic pattern within the Bolinao language, spoken in the municipalities of Anda and Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Villareal’s presentation centered on a unique phenomenon in Bolinao grammar: the utilization of determiners to mark constructions other than those that are lexically nouns. This encompassed complement clauses, relative clauses, infinitive phrases, and genitive phrases. Drawing from established analyses of similar constructions in Tibeto-Burman languages, Villareal put forth an argument suggesting that in Bolinao, determiners assume multifaceted roles as linkers, complementizers, and markers of relative clauses.

In particular, Villareal tackled the determiners a and nin in Bolinao, both of which have uses other than marking nouns. Non-determiner uses of a included linking for quantification and attribution, as well as subordinating infinitive and complement clauses. On the other hand, non-determiner uses of nin included linking for attribution, subordinating relative and complement clauses.

As a conclusion, Villareal deduced that patterns in Bolinao can be compared with patterns found in many languages spoken in Mainland Southeast Asia, inferred that looking at the types of complement clauses helps in observing the similar use for marking complement clauses, and distinguished nin and a by establishing that nin is a prototypical linker, while a developed linking functions through reanalysis.

Following the conclusion of the lecture, an open forum was held to give the audience an opportunity to ask the lecturer questions, which prompted discussions about geographically proximate languages that exhibit similar multipurpose or nuancing of the use of determiners, the possible genetic or coincidental typological relationship between languages that exhibit similar grammatical structures, Villareal’s journey in scientifically researching Bolinao and how being a heritage speaker motivated him to study it, and other potential research topics in Bolinao.

Department Chair Maria Kristina Gallego then gave her closing remarks for 2023 PILLS, highlighting past lectures on linguistic structure, sign languages and language vitality. She also emphasized the different roles of native speakers in studying and analyzing their own languages

Congratulations, Sir Venson, and thank you to all who tuned in to the 11 installments of the PILLS this 2023! We hope to see you in its next editions, and in the Department’s future events!

Published by Published by Patricia Anne Ocampo and Lilie Marie Delos Santos