GAY LINGO AS A FORM OF INNOVATIVE DEVIANCE Sociology 101 Dr. Aleli Sevilla September 8, 2010 I. IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM AND HYPOTHESIS This paper aims to answer the following questions: 1. How did Gay Lingo evolve to become a form of innovative deviance? 2. Does the use of Gay Lingo by the society equate to the acceptance of homosexuals in the Philippines? The researchers have formulated the following hypotheses as preliminary answers to the questions stated above: 1. Gay Lingo resulted from the sheltered emotions of homosexuals here in the Philippines. Their desire to protect themselves against the discriminating faces of society brought about the colorful language that it is today. 2. The researchers believe that the extensive use of Gay Lingo today have somewhat sped up the sluggish acceptance of homosexuality by a highly patriarchal society. II. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE Gay Language: Defying the Structural Limits of English Language in the Philippines Binabae and bakla are familiar words in Filipino street talk. But what about badaf, baklush, and baklers? These are a little confusing for the average Filipino speaker, while the expressions Bading Garci, pa-mihn, pa-girl, x-men, will lose most expert speakers of the Filipino language. These are terms which are heard “only in the Philippines”; as the local TV advertisement says, ‘Walang ganyan sa States’ (“You don’t have that in the States”). In the Philippines, where sexual orientation has become a moral, political, and social issue of acceptability, homosexuals have become victims of condemnation—in school, at the workplace, in church, or elsewhere. These places therefore have become daily battlegrounds for them, and to win this bloodless battle, they have developed a most potent weapon that will shield them from flying missiles of verbal incantation and poetic malady (such as multong bakla and salot sa lipunan) fired by people with strong patriarchal orientations. The new, vibrant, potent weapon of marginalized gays is language—creatively crafted like a magic spell that colors their tongue and weaves their protection. It is a language that only the homosexuals can understand. Gayspeak” or gay language in the Philippines is a form of verbal sublimation of gay people against the domineering power of patriarchy. Yet the positive response of the people outside the gay community to gayspeak has ironically rewarded the homosexuals, giving them the chance to penetrate mainstream culture and to be socially accepted in it. Binabae, bakla, budaf, baklush, baklers, bading garci, pa-mihn, pa-girl, x-men—all these expressions actually have only one meaning: bakla or gay. Gay language is, as Remoto puts it, “forever advent, forever beginning, forever new. Over the years, more and more words have been added to the semantic lists of gayspeak in the Philippines; gay words are “continuously updated” (Remoto) while some words “eventually die and lose their value” (Baytan 261). In spite of this, gayspeak enjoys “freedom from the rules and dictates of the society” (Suguitan 1). A better way of describing this creative language is the way Remoto puts it: “full of slippage and cracks—a language at once sophisticated and vulgar, serious and light, timely and timeless. ” Casabal, Norberto (2008, August). Gay Language: Defying the Structural Limits of English Language in the Philippines. Retrieved from http://150. ateneo. edu/kritikakultura/images/pdf/kk11/gay. pdf Swardspeak as a Means to the Formation of the Male Homosexual’s Social Identity Aside from identity purposes, the gay language also forms a dividing line between the bigger society and the male homosexuals’ society. Swardspeak may be a form of deception as it tends to mislead the common people in a way that they would not be aware of what the male homosexuals are talking about (especially if it is about sex, boyfriends, etc. The gay language definitely does not belong to the regular trait complex of ideas and actual words used, which a number of persons conform to similar situation and therefore, might be seen improper, inappropriate, [comma mine] and basically wrong as dictated by the social norms (standards of behavior) that make up a culture. However, the acceptance and adaption [sic] to something which is not established or proper to one’s cultural pattern marks a change brought about by the exposure of the members to the language different from their own, their opportunity to accept it and the way the language was diffused. Indeed, swardspeak has a way with the life of the male homosexuals [sic], for reasons important to them that common people may not know, the use of it can be considered justifiable. But what really is swardspeak? What is it for? What implications does it have on the social environment of male homosexuals? Only very recently did social scientists investigate the social facade of male homosexuals yet has been very limited to areas related to behavioral indices. Clemente, M. D. , Saavedra, M. , & Vera-Cruz, C. 1991, January). Swardspeak as a Means to the Formation of the Male Homosexuals’ Social Identity (College Thesis). Gay: [sic] Lingo the Reasons Behind Its Use Why do male overt homosexuals speak in such a strange tongue? What is it really that makes them use the gay lingo or the swardspeak, as the lingo has been labeled? According to Abraham Florendo (1975), the lingo which he calls “a linguistic gymnastics”, succeeds in drawing a gay person into a clique and “the clique satisfies his basic needs to belong”. He also adds that the desire to belong entails a sense of freedom; where there is freedom, there are chances for personal fulfillment. In addition to this, Vetter (1969) stated that swardspeak can be considered as a device communicating the context of an expression and is as much as a sign of “belongingness and togetherness”. The words used by homosexuals are either symbols or codes. They are understood as affirmations that one is a particular kind of person, or a fellow member of an in-group. Hence the emergence of swardspeak may be justified in the sense that this special language indicates the homosexual’s acceptability and belongingness in the confines of their own group. Furthermore, gay lingo can also be seen as a form of rebellion against the common people or the normal society to which they cannot conform. Homosexuals prefer to call themselves gays, have to create a world entirely their own, precisely because they belong neither to the male nor to the female sex, in order to feel even a semblance of that elusive sense of belonging (Galang, 1988). Another reason for having gay lingo is to achieve a mark of exclusivity. Besides stressing a sense of belongingness among group members, it was also stated that a defensive structure which is gay lingo is constructed to have a sense of exclusiveness in identity, and alienate or perplex outsiders. It is said to be the gay’s cocoon; it weaves silken barriers around their insecurities and their secrets as well as their joys (Rezaba, 1990). In connection to this, Herr (1945) viewed that the language of homosexuals is something which associates them with their own world. Their use of these words (mostly uncommon to many individuals) enable them to further express themselves, if not to the common people around them, even just to the people of their own kind. Gay lingo is also used to reinforce fantasies (Carlos, 1992). It is an effective way to mask vulgarity to which the layman would consider if spoken directly. It is a sort of talking in code, the whole purpose of being is to obscure meaning. The sward idiom for instance, is used by the gays so as not to shock the people who hear them (Rezaba, 1990). This lingo is also able to give the gays joy upon its invention and a sense of showing off—of the imaginativeness, flexibility, and range behind its creation (Fernandez, 1981). Carlos (1992), even adds that this lingo is so exclusive that its users pride themselves with the fact that they have something which straights don’t have. However, in an article by Rezaba (1990), a more mandane [sic] view of the gays having their own lingo was stated. He said that it is a way of releasing boredom. When a sward is not playing around with mind, he is playing around with words. In an interview with Dr. Lydia Acampado, a psychiatrist, done by Catherine Carlos (1992), she said that gay lingo is the result of common interest and experiences. She explained that whenever a group of people with common interests and backgrounds gather together, they adjust their language to a level deserving of their status, therefore consciously, developing a sub-language that distinguishes the members of the group from outsiders. Thus, constituting a form of linguistic territoriality. Pesigan, G. , Supnet, M. R. , & Tongol, C. (1995). Gay Lingo: The Reasons Behind Its Use (College Thesis) A Study on the Usage of Gay Lingo Among Heterosexual Students in University of the Philippines College of Arts and Letters However, it has been noticed that some heterosexuals also make use of the gay language. This is quite intriguing. If the gays use this language to form a bond among themselves, then why do even non-gays use gay lingo? Do they need to forge a bond with gays? Gay language, also known as “swardspeak”, has become common in everyday conversations. Curiosity about those questions has led the researchers to undertake this study. According to Ernesto Constantino in the book of Naval, et al. (1997), one of the distinct characteristics of language is that it is dynamic and ever-changing. The evolution of numerous gay terminologies such as chika, chaka, okray, ititch, tsuk-tsak and tienes help in the progress of our national language. A language is a social institution designed, modified and extended to meet the ever-changing needs of the culture and sub-culture (De Vito, Joseph). Thus, new terms will eventually enter the general language. As gay terms develop, other sectors aside from homosexuals will also use the language, thus becomes socially acceptable. Garcia, N. , Trinidad, J. M. , Verzosa, M. L. , & Villarmino, Z. (1998, January). A Study on the Usage of Gay Lingo Among Heterosexual Students in University of the Philippines College of Arts and Letters (College Thesis). III. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY For this paper, the researchers have decided to conduct a purely analytical study of gathered data, including a survey to be conducted among our International Studies block. Since this is a mini-research, the researchers feel that thirty-plus respondents will suffice for us to answer the problems stated in chapter 1. Besides conducting a survey, the researchers will make extensive use of more related literature which might prove relevant to our study.
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