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Influence of Gay Language on the English Proficiency of Freshmen Students

Angela Paula Quiboloy
BSEd – English Student
University of the Immaculate Conception, Davao City

INTRODUCTION

Language is the most important aspect in the life of all beings. We use language to express inner thoughts and emotions, make sense of complex and abstract thought, to learn to communicate with others, to fulfil our wants and needs, as well to establish rules and maintain our culture. Language can be defined as verbal, physical, biologically innate, and a basic form of communication. Behaviourists often define language as a learned behaviour involving a stimulus and response. (Omrod, 1995) Often times they will refer to language as verbal behaviour, which is language that includes gestures and body movements as well as spoken word. (Pierce, & Eplin, 1999). All human languages share basic characteristics, some of which are organizational rules.
(Santrock,& Mitterer,2001)

Language also changes as cultures, customs and technologies change. Even the meanings of the words changes. In fact there are new languages that are arising.

One of the fastest growing language that we often hear in our society is the gay language since gays are known for reinventing it. It is self – generated and self – cultivated.
Homosexuals have not found it very difficult to call themselves fairies, queers, or faggots, whereas they do not generally call themselves perverts, sexual psychopaths or homosexuals (though they have used the term homos). Gay language is not something that is new to modern times. In 18th century in London queer or gay slang was a modification of thieves’ cant and prostitute slang (Norton 1992). The most striking feature of the eighteenth-century ‘Female Dialect’ was that gay men christened one another with ‘Maiden Names’: Madam Blackwell, Miss Kitten, Miss Fanny Knight, Miss Irons, Moll Irons etc.
During this time gay language is also known as “Polari”. Polari contains mostly nouns, and some adjectives, but there were a few verbs, such as blag, to make a pick-up. The said language was never designed to escape notice, but was often confrontative. (Norton, 2002)

Nowadays, unfamiliar words are created in college students. These words are generated to hide the real meaning of what they want to convey. Some use it to gossip while some use them just for fun. Later on, these words are categorized as colloquial language or slang, which as a non-standard vocabulary belonging to a particular culture or subculture. It consists of raw unrefined expression. Many of which are considered taboo, vulgar and derogatory. (Rosales, 1997)
Filipino language is also developing. We have discover new languages. It is no secret that language has evolved as time goes by. The importance of language is essential to every aspect and interaction in our everyday lives. We use language to inform the people around us of what we feel, what we desire, and question/understand the world around us. We communicate effectively with our words, gestures, and tone of voice in a multitude of situation. Being able to communicate with each other, form bonds, teamwork, and it’s what separates humans from other animal species. Communication drives our lives and better ourselves. (Why learning a, 2012)

Here in the Philippines, Gay lingo, sward language, gay language, sward speak, and gay slang are a variety of words in Filipino language. By using the said language, Filipino gay men are able to resist the dominant culture by creating a space of their own. The gay language doesn’t follow the universal grammatical rules since these words are created through the creativity of the mind. It is also constantly changing reflecting changes in their culture and also maintaining exclusivity. The dynamic nature of the language refuses to isolate itself to a single culture and allow for more freedom in expression among its speakers. (Filipino gay lingo, 2008)
Gay language or swardspeak falls under the category of slang, the most popular of all. Swardspeak is a vernacular language derived from Englog and is used by a number of gay Filipinos. It uses elements from Tagalog, English, and Spanish, and some are from Nippongo, as well as celebrities ' names and trademark brands, giving the new meanings in the context of this unique language. A unique trait of swardspeak is that it immediately identifies the speaker as homosexual, making it easy for people of that orientation to signal to each other in a place where such tendencies are not easy to display. This creates an exclusive world among its speakers and helps them to resist cultural assimilation. (Da gay code, 2012)

A gay lingo has no actual past present, present and future tenses for verbs, comparatives and superlative forms for adjectives and it doesn’t follow subject-verb agreement. (Gianan, 2012)

Since, gay language is widely use in our society not only by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community but also with the people outside the said community. It is now becoming popular with students and working adults which pose a problem with their ability to speak the English language proficiently.
English is one of the main languages we use here in the Philippines this is why Filipinos are very familiar with the said language. But we also experience problems with it like grammatical errors due to the fact that everyone learns it at different rate and environment. Therefore it cannot be avoided to commit mistakes in using it. Common errors are the use of vocabularies, grammars and pronunciation.
This study aims to discuss the flourishing use of the gay language. I will try to discover its origin, factors, theories and the effect of using it on the English proficiency among the users specifically the member of the third sex (gays) in the University of the Immaculate Conception annex campus, Bonifacio St. Davao City.
The primary purpose of this research is to determine the effects of using Gay language on the English proficiency among freshmen college students of University of the Immaculate Conception annex campus, Bonifacio St. Davao City.

Specifically, the research is sought to answer the following:
1. What is the level of use of Gay Language among University of Immaculate Conception freshmen in terms of:
1.1. Frequency of Use
1.2. Extent of Use
1.3. Purpose of Use
2. What is the level of the English proficiency among first year students in terms of:
2.1. Grammar
2.2. Vocabulary
3. Is there a significant difference in the level of the English proficiency among first year students when analyzed according to:
3.1. Sex
3.2. Program
3.3 Economic Status
3.4 Religious Affiliation
3.5 Ethnicity

This study is anchored on the theory of Krashen which states that language that adults have a distinct and independent ways of developing competence in a second language. The first way is language acquisition, “a process similar, if not identical, to the way children develop ability in their first language.” Krashen elaborates, “Acquisition is a subconscious process; language acquirers are not usually aware of the fact that they are using the language for communication”. The second way to develop competence in a language is by language learning. He uses this term to refer to “conscious knowledge of a second language, knowing the rules, being aware of them and being talk about them.

Conceptual Framework of the Study

Independent Variable Dependent Variable

Figure 1. Conceptual Framework of the Study

Figure1 shows the variables pertinent to the study. It shows the supposed relationship of the use of gay language on the English proficiency of the respondents who are students of the University of the Immaculate Conception.

METHODS

This study will make use of the descriptive method of research having the questionnaire technique in gathering data and supporting details for this study. The 400 respondents of the study are the students from selected tertiary schools of Davao City during the first semester of AY 2013- 2014. Table 3. Allocation of Samples per Program of Study
PROGRAM
MALE
FEMALE
TOTAL
SAMPLE

The study will make use of the survey method for it seeks to know people’s opinions, attitudes, perceptions, and judgment on a particular subject of interest as described by Calderon (2004). It also describes systematically a situation or area of interest factually and accurately (Aquino, 1992).
The study will make use of two questionnaires. The first one is about gay language while the other questionnaire is all about English competencies. The data gathering instrument was distributed to the respondents which measured their usage of Gay language. This 15 item survey questionnaire was adapted from gay-lingosurvey.blogspot.com and was translated by the researchers in English. It has two gay language indicators and these are the amount of usage and the environmental factors.
In determining the influence of gay language on the English competencies of the UIC college freshmen, a five point Likert scale will be used.

Table 1
Rating Scale for Gay Language

SCALE
DESCRIPTION
INTERPRETATION
4.50-5.00
Very High
This indicates that the usage of Gay language is manifested at all times.
3.50-4.49
High
This indicates that the usage of Gay language is manifested oftentimes.
2.50-3.49
Average
This indicates that the usage of Gay language is manifested now and then at a short interval of time.
1.50-2.49
Low
This indicates that the usage of Gay language is manifested once in a while at long interval of time.
1.00-1.49
Very Low
This indicates that the usage of Gay language is manifested not at all.

The second set of questionnaire determined the competencies in English among the college freshmen of the University of the Immaculate Conception particularly on Article, Prepositions, Pronoun Antecedent Agreement, Tenses and Subject-Verb Agreement. The researchers constructed twenty-five items questions patterned from the test questionnaire designed by Professor Maureen Aguisando, In determining the responses of UIC students in terms of their English competencies, the scores were transmuted to percent correct using the formula raw score divided by the total number of items which 5 times 100.

Table 2
Rating Scale for English Competencies

PERCENTAGE
DESCRIPTIVE INTERPRETATION
81% - 100
Very high
61% - 80%
High
41% - 60%
Average
21% - 40%
Low
0% - 20%
Very Low

Table 2 shows the descriptive interpretation of the percentage of scores in the English competencies. Data Gathering Procedure In order to obtain the data necessary for this study, the researcher followed the following steps. First, she will send a letter to the Dean of College for permission to conduct the study on freshmen students in the college department. Second, she administered the two sets of questionnaires among the respondents. Third, to gather and analyse data using established statistical techniques. Lastly, to formulate conclusions and give recommendations based on the outcome of the study.

Statistical Treatment of Data
The statistical tools used in interpreting and analyzing the data gathered were the following: Mean will be used to determine the level of usage of Gay language and the level of competencies in English among the freshmen student in the University of the Immaculate Conception.
Pearson Product Correlation (Pearson r) will be used to determine the significance of the relationship between the usage of gay language and the competencies in English of the freshmen students in the University of the Immaculate Conception.
Linear Regression will be used to determine the influence of Gay language to English competencies among UIC college freshmen.

Ethical Consideration

Tactfulness
This adjective denotes the ability to deal with others with skill, sensitivity, and finesse. Tact implies propriety and the ability to speak or act inoffensively. It is a sense of what is fitting and considerate in dealing with others, so as to avoid giving offence or to win good will or discretion.
Being tactful in using the gay language is important because these words can be misunderstood by other people if it is not used and delivered properly. Remember that what we say is important but how we say it is also vital. The users of the said language should be sensitive and considerate to the opinions and feelings of others because this can bring mutual respect and harmonious relationship with the people around us.

Honesty
Honesty is being truthful, genuine, sincere, trustworthy, loyal, fair, and upright. An honest person tells the truth and does not lie, cheat, or steal. An honest person does not hide anything. A person who is honest is frank and straightforward. Miguel de Cervantes is often quoted as having said, "Honesty is the best policy." This statement explains that it is important to be truthful and to never cheat or steal. If you are honest, your character will always shine through. One way of being honest is expressing one’s self opinion in a thoughtful manner. Also, by following rules and avoiding lies. This will be practice when the respondents would answer the questionnaire about the gay language. All they have to do is to check whether they can relate to a particular question or not. They will be honest in answering it in the sense that everything that they will answer is self expression and based on their experiences. Cheating in this kind of test cannot be practice.

REFERENCES

(n.d.). Retrieved from http://languagedevelopment.tripod.com/id2.html

(2012). Importance of language. Retrieved from http://www.importanceoflanguages.com/

(2012). Da gay code revealed. Retrieved from http://badingtionaryphoenix.blogspot.com/2010/10/da-gay-code-revealed.html

Gianan, E. R. (2008). The evolution and expansion of gay language in the philippines. DOI: www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/33341979

Rosales, S. (1997). Gender differences and sexism in the knowledge and use of slang. Retrieved from http://business.highbeam.com/435388/article-1G1-19965103/gender-differences-and-sexism-knowledge-and-use-slang

(2008). Filipino gay lingo. Retrieved from http://www.ampedasia.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=10957

Rictor Norton, A Critique of Social Constructionism and Postmodern Queer Theory, "Queer Language," 16 July 2002, updated 2 July 2011

References: (n.d.). Retrieved from http://languagedevelopment.tripod.com/id2.html (2012). Importance of language. Retrieved from http://www.importanceoflanguages.com/ (2012). Da gay code revealed. Retrieved from http://badingtionaryphoenix.blogspot.com/2010/10/da-gay-code-revealed.html Gianan, E. R. (2008). The evolution and expansion of gay language in the philippines. DOI: www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/33341979 Rosales, S. (1997). Gender differences and sexism in the knowledge and use of slang. Retrieved from http://business.highbeam.com/435388/article-1G1-19965103/gender-differences-and-sexism-knowledge-and-use-slang (2008). Filipino gay lingo. Retrieved from http://www.ampedasia.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=10957 Rictor Norton, A Critique of Social Constructionism and Postmodern Queer Theory, "Queer Language," 16 July 2002, updated 2 July 2011

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