Alex Eala won the US Open Juniors 2022 title, marking a first for the Philippines. It was not only her win that was remarkable. Eala spoke in Filipino for much of her post-match interview, with no translators on hand. Online reactions to this event were of interest not only because Eala dedicated her win to the Philippines, but because she spoke a language that purports to be the unifying hybrid of the 100+ living languages of the Philippines. Eala later defended her choice of language, saying that she wanted to express how the win was for all Filipinos. The researcher used Bottom Up Framing to examine online reactions to Eala’s speech by gathering the most relevant Facebook comments and analyzing them inductively. The researcher found constructs of nationalism based on the speaking of language alone, with very rare instances of commenters calling Eala out for using a language other than English, or for only claiming to represent the Philippines while speaking a language that does not truly represent all Filipinos. The identity of the Filipino was therefore that of a person proud of their language and unapologetic of their expression, rather than outsiders forced to speak a foreign tongue. Other salient constructs are also discussed. These findings have implications for studies of national identity, language and trans national identities, and community fervor for competitive sports.
PresentersInez Ponce De Leon
Associate Professor, Communication, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
Post Match Interview, Language, National Identity, Tennis, Constructs Of Nation