Colegiala Speak

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Colegiala Speak is the term used for a type of “Englog” - English infused with Tagalog words. It may also be referred to “Konyo English." The term was coined because the way of speaking is often heard among teens and college girls.


Konyo English

The term “konyo” or “coño” evolved as a reference to affluent members of the society. It is commonly used in reference to children who come from rich families.

Features of Colegiala Speak

The most common aspect of Colegiala Speak is the injection of the verb “make” preceding a Tagalog verb. An example of which is:

  • ”Make “kwento” to me what happened.” instead of just saying “Tell me what happened”.

The use of Konyo English is used primarily by upper-class people and their friends and their acquaintances who aspire to become part of their social circle.

The pronunciation and phonetics of the colegiala speak is more effeminate than the usual way of saying Tagalog words. There are gentle stresses and mild intonations when talking in the colegiala speak manner.

History of Konyo

The term konyo or coño was used in the early 1800s by expatriates of Spain living in colonies such as the Philippines and some parts of Latin America. It was used as a swear word and expression by Peninsular Spaniards. The usage of the term as their favorite expletive gave expatriate Spaniards the label and from then on they were referred to colloquially as “coños." Since the Philippines was under the Spanish regime at that time, expatriates were at the top of the social ladder and were given the most privilege and prestige. Later on the term was generally used for other nationalities that resemble the features and stature of Spaniards such as French, German and Lebanese.

As time went by, Filipinos who belonged to the upper class were already labeled as coños. Today, people who are affluent and are perceived to live the European lifestyle are referred to as coños, even if they are not exactly mestizos.

Origin of Colegiala Speak

There is no definite explanation of the history of speaking Konyo English in the Philippines. One theory states that during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, some members of the upper class caste wanted to be accepted into mainstream in Manila and therefore tried injecting Tagalog in their sentences.

It is believed that prior to World War II, Spanish was the predominant language used in the homes of the upper class families but it drastically changed when the Americans granted Filipinos independence. The Americans were seen as liberators and the upper-class families focused on making English the major language of their children. Some families still conversed in Spanish while at home but it was inevitable to be influenced by the English language when the schools where their children are going to have made English the primary mode of instruction. By the time these children enter universities in Manila, they had to contend with the fact that people are not as confident and comfortable in expressing themselves in English. They were required to speak Tagalog most of the time and speak in English only when required to do so. The Konyos stood out because of their features and they sometimes face alienation from majority of the people who speak Tagalog. This difficulty was strengthened when the Filipino First Policy was implemented and promoted during the 1960s.

The mestizos or the Konyos of Manila therefore felt that they needed to at least sound acceptable to the mainstream Filipino-speaking society. This has been the trend with foreigners who decides to reside in the country and was adapted by affluent people of Filipino descent and thus, Konyo English was formed.

A variant of Konyo English is called Colegiala English or Colegiala Speak which refers to students of very expensive all-girl Convent Schools run by Catholic nuns. They have their male counterparts who speak Konyo English. These people were sent to Manila's all-boys schools for the rich.

In general, Konyo English came from the determination of mestizos to fit in and be accepted in the country where most of the people do not express themselves through the use of the English language.

Other English Variations

Philippines is not the only country which uses its own variation of the English language. Countries like Finland (Finlish), Korea (Konglish), Malaysia (Manglish), Thailand (Thailish), China (Chinglish), and others have their own variations of the English language.




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