Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture and Education 2015
ISBN 978-967-13140-7-4

Meranao in the Changing World: A Cultural Study on the Language of the Tarpaulin

Bai Salam M. Ibrahim

Mindanao State University, Philippines


The coming of the digital world has not only paved way to motion pictures and a quantity of printed materials for information distribution, but has also largely contributed to the field of advertisement, propaganda and promotions that has been either politically fabricated or culturally influenced. The big screens of billboards and tarpaulins are not only public signs but semiotic landscapes that stand for something more significant than themselves. These are semiotic landscapes that describe the entity of a culture and the place of its origin. These landscapes have become a part of our everyday life which unconsciously been affecting our personal views and perceptions towards life in general. In Marawi City, tarpaulins are everywhere. These products of the digital world have dubbed this city as the “City of Tarpaulins.” This study is conducted through a selection of tarpaulins posted around the city in the whole month of April 2015. The analyses of the study were supported by Landry and Bhouris’ (1997) contribution to the social psychology of language, Ferdinand de Saussaure’s semiotic analysis, Pierce’s classification of signs in visual culture, Robert Barthe’s semiotic theory. The study showed the power of language in describing cultural identity. It showed how tarpaulins have become an instrument to understand culture as form of visual symbols and representations. It also showed the contrasting view of culture and religion and how the people of the city seemingly embrace the changing world. The study has paved way to an understanding of the Meranao (People of Lake Lanao) present cultural status as influenced by outside factors such as religion and the popular culture.


Language and Culture, Cross-Cultural Communication, Communication

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