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Welcome to our site on Interlanguage


     This  study  is  made  through the initiative of our teacher in Contrastive Analysis, Ms. Rioliza Baquial-Molina, who had opened our minds in many ways and who had become a great part of our learnings.

     Second Language… Are you a user of it? I believe so – especially that we all know that the Philippines has many languages: not just our native languages but also, English is considered as our second language. Another question is: are you an expert with your second language? If yes, then you must also be an expert with your first language. If no, then you better read the information that we would like to share.

What is InterLanguage?

     Interlanguage is a language created by learners of a second language which is between the target language and the learner's first language (L1).

     An interlanguage is an emerging linguistic system that has been developed by a learner of a second language (or L2) who has not become fully proficient yet but is only approximating the target language: preserving some features of their first language (or L1) in speaking or writing the target language and creating innovations. An interlanguage is uniqely based on the learners' experiences with the L2. It can ossify in any of its developmental stages. The learner creates an interlanguage using different learning strategies such as language transfer, overgeneralisation and simplification.

     Interlanguage is based on the theory that there is a "psychological structure latent in the brain" which is activated when one attempts to learn a second language. Larry Selinker proposed the theory of interlanguage in 1972, noting that in a given situation the utterances produced by the learner are different from those native speakers would produce had they attempted to convey the same meaning. This comparison reveals a separate linguistic system. This system can be observed when studying the utterances of the learners who attempt to produce a target language norm. (wikipedia)

     To study the psychological processes involved one should compare the interlanguage of the learner with two things:

1. Utterances in the native language to convey the same message made by the learner

2. Utterances in the target language to convey the same message made by the native speaker of that language.

     And so the data that we are going to present is more on the structural differences of our language, Cebuano, from our target language, English, of which the learners tend to be confused of thus leading to the emergence of interlanguage.



     MORPHOLOGY can be usefully defined as the study of words and how they are formed. SYNTAX is the study of how words get put together to form sentences.

     Before, we thought that Cebuano--which we are using as a medium for our everyday normal conversation--is easy and that it’s never complicated. There even came a time that we thought it’s just the people, people who are very meticulous, who makes it complicated. However taking a closer look, we have come up with these data:


     In Cebuano, we do not have distinct 3rd person pronouns or terms which specify and distinguish genders of who you are referring. “Siya” which we use for singular and “sila” for plural refers both for male and female. Unlike English, it is so specific when it comes to Gender. It has “he” and “him” for male, and “she” and “her” for female.

     Another observation is that Pronouns in Cebuano are inflected for person, number and case. The four cases are nominative, preposed genitive, postposed genitive, and oblique.







1st person singular

ako, ko

nako, ko


kanako, nako

2nd person singular

ikaw, ka

nimo, mo


kanimo, nimo

3rd person singular




kaniya, niya

1st person plural inclusive

kita, ta



kanato, nato

1st person plural exclusive

kami, mi



kanamo, namo

2nd person plural

kamo, mo



kaninyo, ninyo

3rd person plural




kanila, nila

     Cebuano also makes use of the inclusive and exclusive “we”. This distinction, which is not found in other languages, signifies whether or not the addressee is included in the pronoun “we”.


Moadto kami sa palengke.

“We (someone else and I, but not you) will go to the market.”

Moadto kita sa palengke.

“We (you and I, and perhaps someone else) will go to the market.”


     What is a noun phrase? To answer this question, a noun phrase is a phrase that has a noun as its head. This definition however, does not apply in Cebuano because in our language, a noun phrase does not have a noun as its head but it has a “special” marker which precedes the noun. Its marker is usually “si” for singular and “sila” for plural which is also the Pronoun in the plural form for the third person subjective case.


Nasuko si CJ kanako.

CJ is angry with me.

     We are already aware that Cebuano does not follow the same structure as the English language which is Subject – Verb – Object (SVO); It is Verb – Subject – Object (VSO) for Cebuano. Based on the structure alone, we can not really say that the two languages are closely related.


     As a conclusion to this study, we can say that the Cebuano language, the language used by the Bisaya people, has a huge difference in comparison to the English language when it comes to the morphosyntactic structure (since the syntactic structures of the two languages differ already).

     Some words or expressions may only have a single meaning in English but there may be two or more meanings in the first language. Cebuano, for instance, makes use of the inclusive and exclusive “we.”

     Cebuano language is also more complex when it comes to the word level syntactic categories. Though the differences, certain similarities still exist (as presented above).


     Although the study was all about interlanguage of the Bisaya people in Davao City, still we connected the first language to the English language because every speaker of a native language undergo an interlanguage continuum or the way that the language learners go through from the first to the second language.

     Language learners can never be an expert on the second language unless they are expert with their first language. this study could help the Bisaya people--for them to be familiar with their native language which will greatly help in their interlanguage continuum.

     Comparisons between Cebuano and English were presented to provide a clear picture on the differences of the two languages and to give importance to some points that may need more focus and further investigation



Timothy Mason's site

The Languages of the Philippines


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