Language engineering involves the willful, studied—or even legislated—empowering of language to hasten its development. Literature, whose medium is language, can likewise be engineered. Certainly, an indicator of tremendous talent in the creation of contemporary literature and in nation building, the emergent writers of the region have sharpened their sense of locus just as they have succeeded in asserting their place in the nationhood of Philippine literature. Through generous funding and support, new writers have been developed and older writers invigorated. Thus, new writings have manifested themselves. For years, West Visayan writing had been only in Hiligaynon, the lingua franca, and in Spanish and English. The last decade has seen the emergence of writing in Kinaray-a (centered in Antique), Aklanon (in Aklan), and in Visayan-based Filipino. This paper will deal only with poetry in these three languages. Writing in Visayan-laced (rather than Visayan-based) Filipino is probably the ultimate attempt of a West Visayan to make his work truly national. Visayan-laced Filipino is basically Tagalog in structure but incorporated in the text are Visayan words. This type of writing has been well published in national magazines and anthologies and has even won national awards. This paper concludes with readings of representative poems in Kinaray-a, Aklanon, and Filipino.


language engineering, Philippine literature, regional writing, West Visayan poetry

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

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Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
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Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
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Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
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University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
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Inderpal Grewal
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Peter Horn
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
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University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
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Rajeev S. Patke
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Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

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University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
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Department of Political Science
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E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
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Barnard College (US)
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Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)