by Rex Godinez Ortega, OC
“You are undergraduate students?!”
“How old are you?”
These were just some of the recurring comments and questions from disbelieving organizers, panelists, and participants at an international conference held in De La Salle University who were clearly won over by the 18 and 19-year-old students of MSU-IIT presenting well-researched paper and poster presentations, which they wrote for their Descriptive Linguistics class during their sophomore year.
From September 24 to 26, the third-year AB English students became one of the centers of attention among a crowd of professionals in De La Salle during the 9th International Free Linguistics Conference hosted by the Linguistic Society of the Philippines.
The Free Linguistics Conference is a conference that is well-known and highly regarded internationally. There were 110 papers (posters included) presented at this year’s conference, and 10.4% of those were by the undergraduate students of MSU-IIT.
The papers’ subjects of inquiry included the discourse of humor and insult, the linguistic conventions of texting and online communication, the emerging trends of talk in social media, and the linguistic similarities of Meranao and Sebuano.
The educator and recent UMPIL awardee (Gawad Balagtas for Drama), Prof. Steven P.C. Fernandez, was so impressed upon learning of the acceptance by the students to the conference that he wrote on his Facebook wall:
“Something is really, really right when one Department (English of MSU-IIT) has 22 of their Juniors accepted to read their papers in the prestigious 9th International Free Linguistic Conference at the De La Salle U. (Sept. 25-26).”
“There is PRESTIGE when this conference has a high 45% rejection rate, when this is hosted in the Philippines for the first time, when its host the Linguistic Society of the Philippines is the country’s most prestigious,” Fernandez continued.
Fernandez then praised his colleague at the English Department, Prof. Honeylet E. Dumoran, who was the sole adviser of all 13 papers the students presented at the conference.
Dumoran, who accompanied her students to the conference, also presented a paper there herself.
Running from one parallel session to another just to witness her students’ presentations, Dumoran said she was “very happy to hear the different sets of audiences from each session comment on how impressed they were by my students’ research methods and analyses quality”.
Three of Dumoran’s colleagues from the English Department, Helen Betonio, Lourd Greggory Crisol, and Kimberly Jhie Alejandrino also presented their papers at the Free Linguistics Conference. Both Crisol and Alejandrino are former students and paper advisees of Dumoran.
This is not the first time that Dumoran has helped her students to develop the term papers they wrote for her linguistics class and present these at national and international conferences.
Last year, a different set of 22 students of Dumoran, including Alejandrino and co-author Generev Jungao, were able to present their papers at the National Conference for Research in English Language and Literature in Misamis University in Ozamiz City and in Converging the Worlds of Media and Linguistics in MSU-Marawi.
These same students were also accepted at last year’s Free Linguistics Conference held at the Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China. However, they were not able to go because they could not afford the international travel.
[The English majors who attended the Free Linguistics Conference in De La Salle University are the following: Mary Anne R. Genita, Michelle Sencil, Gil Michael S. Cagalawan, Kin Barkly E. Tibang, Elysha Rigodon, Junina Flora Isabel G. Arsenal, Ina Erlita E. Samson, Kathleen K. Abroguina, Mary Anjalica Talaroc, Karl Lou S. Tiongco, Rizza Esparaguera, Farhanni Macakiling, Jorome Clark L. Maglajos, Danielle Ira Espina, Jasmerah Amod, Sitty Nor-Aisah Pumbaya, Michelle Garing, Darlene Lou Pagunsan, Jubelle Dianne S. Gempeso, Hyra Dave P. Gempeso, Keith Myra Villas and Genalyn Salinas.]