29 March 2006


Today I had a presentation to accomplish in one of my classes. And it turned out well.

I presented the research that I had done for that class, which happens to be a class about Bilingualism and Contact Linguistics. I investigated the influence of a tenseless language when a bilingual speaker speaks English, which has tense. I gathered a group of Tagalog-English bilingual speakers and made them watch video clips. Then, after watching the clips, I asked them to narrate what they saw in the video. I also gathered a similar number of English-only monolingual speakers and compared the narratives of the two groups.

What I found was that for the monolingual speakers, there is actually a choice on whether they would structure their narratives using the present tense or the past tense. If they use the present tense, then that would be the narrative present. However, for the bilingual speakers, they tend to gravitate towards using just the past tense in their narrative. Seldom do they use the present tense in narration. My hypothesis is because they are influenced by their knowledge of Tagalog, which, because it is tenseless, the only way to structure a narrative is iconic, and therefore, using the perfective aspect.

Ah, my paper in two paragraphs! Sweeeeeet!

Well, of course I did a more elaborate presentation than that this morning. I borrowed the laptop and the projector of the department, and I played one of the video clips that I used for my experiment. I also gave them handouts that have the results of the experiment, and I also gave them a couple of transcriptions for the data, one from the bilingual and one from the monolingual. There were a couple of funny segments and they indeed laughed when they saw and heard that part.

In the end, quite some students commented and approached me saying that I had a great presentation. Which in turn made my day.

Before I go, let me share you a link. I found this blog from a blog I link to. I didn't know that Chewbacca actually maintains a blog! It can be found here. Although, the last entry was February 28, and it hasn't been updated for about a month now. But still, try to click on it, it definitely is funny.


  1. that's very interesting. i learned something new from this post.

  2. jeruen, our uncle charlie passed away today at 6:45 pm manila time.

  3. Interesting! What about the length of the narration? Was it timed? If not, I I have this theory that the bilingual narrates longer.