Orality and Oral Traditions as Expression of Power in the Selected Hiligaynon Short Stories, 1998-2015


by: Eliodora L. Dimzon


This paper focuses on orality and oral traditions that continue to find expression in contemporary texts like the Hiligaynon short stories as expression of power and are thus responses to contemporary socio-historical realities. The definitions of voice and orality are based on Walter Ong’s Orality and Literacy (1982), Trinna Frever’s The Woman Writer and the Spoken Word: Gender, Print, Orality, and Selected Turn-of-the-Century American Women’s Literature (1998), and Salwa Karoui-Elounelli’s “Unsounded Vocality: The Trope of Voice and the Paradigm of Orality in American Postmodern Fiction (2010). How orality and oral traditions serve as expressions of power in written texts is based on Mikhail Bahktin’s emphasis on the “dialogic” in the Discourse in the Novel (1934-35), bell hooks’ concept of “yearning” (1990), Homi Babha’s concept of hybridity in The Location of Culture (1994), and Benedict Anderson’s proposition on the politics of language and culture in Language and Power: Exploring Political Cultures in Indonesia (1990). An analysis of the seven selected Hiligaynon short stories reveals that various elements of orality like musical and rhythmic progression, unsounded or non-verbal vocality, mixed voices, and choral voices, as well as oral traditions like folk and novelty songs and loa or luwa, the binalaybay (poem), and ulawhay (love song) are expression of power in contending with various forms of dominance.

Keywords: FMA, national identity, nationalism, ethnie