Top-notch command of the English language opens doors

We’d like to believe that we deserve a society that treats people fairly regardless of how well they speak and write English and regardless of whether they speak it with a regional accent or not. We think, if we continue stomping our feet enough in a loud appeal to nationalist sentiment, that we could one day see a society where people with a fourth-grade level of English language proficiency are as well-regarded as those of us who are privy to the kind of thinking and knowledge that only the English language (as well as the languages of cultures with extensive track records of achievement) can efficiently convey.

Unfortunately what we think we deserve is not usually what we actually get.

english_languageSome people here may not have noticed it yet, but differences in degree of command over the English language across the population is one of the key polarising forces in Filipino society — whether we like it or not. That is the grim reality whether it be in the mad scramble for plum positions in Government and the corporate world or a competition of ideas bourne out of those rare bursts of thinking outside the square (more specifically, thinking outside of the square of Pinoy-grade thinking).

As I did write in my book:

Acquisition of knowledge – the fuel for intellectual advancement – is an unnecessarily challenging issue in Philippine Society. The few volumes of material containing useful information in, say Tagalog, being turned out by the heroics of a few purists – and translators – constitute a trickle compared to the torrent of knowledge that is churned out by the advanced world everyday. The Philippine Elite, armed with their private school or foreign university educations – and superior command of English – readily soak this all up. The masses, on the other hand, struggle to grasp the same ideas through severely limited communication faculties. The insult of an inability to acquire ideas articulated in English is added to the injury of their lack of access to quality education.

Thus, the obvious Truth stares us in the face:

– English opens doors.

Excellent English gets you through those doors first.

Indeed.

It gets you the great jobs.

Dish out a good dose of the ol’ “Arrneo” accent and watch the smiles that follow in the faces of recruiters. Demonstrate consistent grammar, spelling, and sentence construction, and you find favour among managers who constantly fret over wasted time proofreading the reports and emails of the more vastly numerous products of the Philippines’ diploma mills.

It gets you the chicks.

Don’t believe all those Tagalog movies where Sharon Cuneta the kolehiyala falls for Robin Padilla the kanto boy. Those movies make a lot of money by playing on the sad frustrations and fantasies of the vast majority of Filipino males.

It gets you an audience.

An audience that matters, that is. Because, honestly folks, how much can one actually expect to learn from pandering to a crowd that finds comfort in re-assuring one another that being “down-to-earth” (read: mediocre) in English is “o.k.”? There’s a false sense of safety in the immense comforting numbers of Filipinos who come together in a gigantic love-in on the basis of a shared sense of exclusion from that tiny but elite world where world-class ideas are exchanged — and profitably exploited — in high-fallutin’ glory. They are the masses and therefore the audience that matters, some say. Suuure. And yet we tremble at the might they wield come election time. Why do we “tremble”? Because we have come to know the palpable stupidity of the popular vote. What then do we learn by pandering to them? Leave that effort to the politicians — a profession where even morons can succeed.

It so happens that the VAST majority of Filipinos are unable to cobble together an English paragraph without sporadically reverting to Tagalog words or simply turning the text into an incoherent spaghetti-like mishmash of subject-verb disagreements, inconsistent multiple clauses, and appalling application of idiomatic expressions (in the context of those, minor spelling oversights can be forgiven). Tragic when one considers how so many otherwise insightful ideas are not done justice by the people who wish to convey them, all because we prefer to find comfort in the warm fuzzy mediocrity of the vast majority.

The good news is that although I highlight that the tiny elite who enjoy an excellent command of English are overwhelmingly products of elite private schools, there are exceptional exceptions. You can see this in the few who have recognised what it takes to succeed in a society ravaged by a particularly debilitating strain of colonial mentality, and the broader reality of a world utterly dominated by a lingua franca that Filipinos once upon a time had a legitimate claim to mastery over in the region.

The bottom line is that English proficiency can be acquired regardless of the circumstances of one’s upbringing. One only needs to stare what is real in the face and recognise what it takes to succeed.

The alternative will be a pathetic resignation to a lifetime of demanding that those who think as a matter of habit dumb down the language that they use.

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57 Comments on “Top-notch command of the English language opens doors”

  1. Until now, I’m still trying to improve my command of the English language.It’s not easy if you don’t speak it frequently but I’m not giving up either.:)

    1. That’s the spirit! I, too, am doing my best to improve my command of the English language, especially with the usage of puns.

    2. Me too. I’m still finding some difficulty in commanding the English language. Well, practice makes mastery. So I’ll not giving up too.

  2. In this, I agree completely.
    Simple stuff that should have been taught before the average kid has a complete set of body hair (like singular vs. plural, or past vs. present vs. future tense . . . simple stuff) is horribly evident in the way most Filipinos use English.
    Additionally, the Filipino subculture revels in inventing new words, even entirely new dialects.
    To add to the problem, the public thinks it’s cute to use lame puns and asinine wordplay that tend to butcher the context of what the words originally meant.

    Think I’m spouting feces from my pie hole?
    Try these simple tests:

    1a. Imagine a time fifty (50) years ago.
    2a. Imagine the average Filipino transported to that time.
    3a. Imagine that Filipino being pitied by the inhabitants of that era for not being able to speak not only proper English, but proper Tagalog too.
    (“Ano ba yan, tol? Ang lalalim nyo naman magtagalog!”)

    1b. Pick up a Tagalog dictionary. Any dictionary.
    2b. Turn to a page. Any page.
    3b. Highlight the words that are in common, everyday use.
    4b. Express regret at the dismally few highlighted words.

    1. reminds me of jejemon all of a sudden.

      got to hand it to our fellow Filipinos back then..they can speak Tagalog so well and now they can’t. Taglish ain’t Tagalog and never will be. Might as well stick to English instead.

    2. Oooooh yes!!!! I read so many rants on Facebook regarding some topics (K-pop to be exact), and some fans always get the subject-verb agreement messed up. It really irks me, and honestly, I wonder how many people out there should receive life imprisonment for murdering the English language. I admire Mr. GreatMind, the Yahoo troll, because he has a great command of the English language, though most of time, I have to cringe at his opinions.

      Also, there are those who want to convey a question, but they write it like it is a reason or a subordinate clause.

      Example:

      Correct one – Why is there too much hatred in this world?

      Incorrect – Why there is too much hatred in this world?

      I really cringe at the second sentence. Who taught those people that the second is the right way to state a question? Do these people not know that “Why” is used as a subject, followed by the verb “is?” To correct the second sentence, we need to connect it to an independent clause, like this:

      I wonder why there is too much hatred in this world.

      ****

      Another thing. Although Taglish is the norm in common situations, I cringe at Wattpad stories that are written in Taglish because the writers cannot express themselves and give us good prose. It is as if they are talking to their friends. If these kids want to be taken seriously, they should write in straight English, straight Tagalog, or, if they opt for Taglish, they should make sense with what they write.

  3. Excellent English is one thing..having a skill, other than language, that you’re good at is another.

    I’ve been at heat with these English vs. Tagalog articles because it just feels like we’re giving them “elites” a good reason over the phrase “tagalog is the language of the streets”..It’s an un-improved language true but who’s fault is that?

    It be dumb not to consider learning English and be good about it. But dang, the way we perceived language skills it’s not about being professional but more on swagger and bragging rights.

    Even folks in America feel that English isn’t enough for them to do well in life that’s why some are learning another language..particularly Spanish.

    Let’s do our best with English but dang! get rid of the swag.

    Despite our reputation with the English language why is it that we aren’t as good in anything else compared to our neighboring countries? And no being good in Tagalog, or in any or our local dialect, won’t help..so yeah, English is one thing…don’t forget about what makes an individual be at his best.

  4. Unfortunately, I write in Taglish (English and Tagalog). English is the language of our civilization. Just like LATIN, some centuries back…it is the language of science, technology, advance medicine, advance thoughts, etc…I wish it were Tagalog, but, it is not. Neither is Spanish…Japanese and Chinese have their own languages…as well as Germans and French. However, long time ago, they use their own languages in advancing their technologies…so, we don’t have no choice…use English and progress…be a stubborn nationalist and you remain where you are…

    1. I hate it when people associate Tagalog with close-minded nationalism..like I said it’s stupid nowadays to learn English yet it’s just annoying to treat your own dialect like dirt like what some Filipinos are seeing it.

      and when you said that we have no choice..there’s my point right there. We’re learning a language for our very lives, because there’s no money to be made with the local language, it’s not the same way as to why other countries are starting to consider English while STILL not treating their own language as crap

      and really..we Filipinos have no idea what nationalism is..at least the same idea that has made China what it is today.

      1. On the international scene speaking Filipino is a useful as speaking Swahili. And yes, Tagalog is CLOSELY associated with close-minded nationalism, it comes from the time when Cory Aquino stunk up the whole country with her brain fart “proud to be a Filipino”.

        1. No wonder the hate towards those who wants Tagalog to stay..but hey we don’t want people treating the local linggo like crap..that’s my side for nationalism’s sake.

  5. There used to be more Filipinos speaking English then one local dialect. Back in the 80s English was part of life. English was taught in School. There was no cable TV, but 70% of everything on TV was English. The TV shows from the US, the local news (ABSCBN, GMA, Channel 9) were all in English, talk shows and the cartoon for children were in English. Et cetera. Therefor Filipinos picked up English just by watching TV, especially the kids. Then in comes that dimwit Cory Aquino and snuffs out the only advantage Filipinos had when they were going abroad. Let’s face it; the biggest export is human labor. So why on earth would you purposely destroy the language advantage that Filipinos had? By the way, speaking English and teaching Filipinos English was part of the platform that Bong Bong Marcos was using to run for Senator. I guess he understands. A couple of years ago I took a Cruise in Europe. On board the Cruise ship you could find any nationality, even people from Peru. Yes, Peru! When I inquired from our Malaysian head waiter why there are no Filipinos to be seen anywhere he nonchalantly replied that they cannot speak English. They are only working in the kitchen or somewhere where they are not in contact with the passengers. That statement spoke volumes to me. I hate the Aquinos from the bottom of my heart for what they did to this once promising country, where Filipinos were highly educated, could speak English and did not even need a visa to go to Europe for example. For you kids out there who don’t know…. It was also Cory Aquino who went to Europe and insisted that European countries will demand for a visa from Filipinos. My wife works for an European Embassy and she is horrified by how bad the knowledge of English is these days. I am not talking about the average Filipino, no I am talking about students from reputable, expensive universities, kid who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Even they now can’t form a proper sentence.

    1. @ Jim

      My sentiments, exactly.

      Hence my hatred of the more popular local TV networks.

      And still the idiots keep harping on about ‘proud to be pinoy’. Cory was successful in “dumbing down” the pinoy. This mother tongue thing by the department of education of the Aquino ver. 2.0 also makes sure of this.

      I don’t know if it’s just me, but the president himself also manifests how low our standards now by most of his speeches and interviews. It is in tagalog and seems to be trying too hard to restrain himself from saying tagalog slang. He should at least try to speak proper Filipino language, not just the over usage of “po”.

    2. “Let’s face it; the biggest export is human labor. So why on earth would you purposely destroy the language advantage that Filipinos had?”

      I’m not suggesting that. And going with that statement don’t we hope that one day we can stop this trend and have industries here so that we don’t see our children doing the same thing we are doing now?

      and really are we just going to be satisfied with we’re the best English-speaking group of people in the world..yet somehow other nations are doing WAY better than we are despite the language fluency? Do we have the government to blame for that yet again?

      Might as well throw away one thing that keeps us a nation, or what’s left of it, and be “others” for the world to know.

      1. You missed the point. That generation of the Philippine population who speaks good english are the ones who are keeping this country barely afloat for the past decades.

        Weakening that selling point also weakened our global competitiveness, as Jim Digriz had clearly pointed out in his comment.

        Sure, language alone cannot propel this nation out of this crap, but definitely having a mastery of the international language helps…. a lot.

        Do you really think that the tagalog the average Juan is speaking is really Filipino language? It is a bastardized from of tagalog if you ask me. You want that to define your country?

      2. “and really are we just going to be satisfied with we’re the best English-speaking group of people in the world..yet somehow other nations are doing WAY better than we are despite the language fluency? Do we have the government to blame for that yet again?”

        YES WE CAN blame the Philippine government for this state of affairs. Not just the current administration but also the previous ones going back to the founding of the republic.

        Our leaders drop words like ‘nationalism’ and ‘Pinoy pride’ into the conversation about what is ‘best’ for the country and the Filipino people. They propose misguided efforts to elicit a ‘sense of nationalism’ among our people, like using one Philippine language — Tagalog — as a medium of instruction in our educational institutions out of a mistaken belief that this will ‘unite’ all the ethnic groups in the archipelago under one identity. All the while failing to understand that the various ethnic groups in the Visayas and Mindanao and even on the island of Luzon each have their own unique cultural identity, distinct from and equally valid compared to Tagalog-speakers in and around Metro Manila. They fail to realise that this only promotes division among our peoples because it is inherently prejudiced against communities far from the environs around Malacañang and reinforces the idea that one needs to develop close ties to the rulers in Metro Manila in order to progress.

        At any rate, these attempts over past three decades to ‘enhance’ nationalism and ‘pride’ in the Philippines are pointless — a waste of time. A REAL PATRIOT would instead have focused on removing obstacles to progress like economic monopolies and trade/market barriers. A REAL PATRIOT would have ensured that the resources and tools necessary to sustain the country’s growth are readily available. And if that includes having a people who are bilingual, so be it.

        That our leaders instead engage in meaningless gestures involving a ‘national language’ while colluding with their cronies to limit and control growth and monopolise the prosperity to themselves places the blame for the Philippines’ impoverished state squarely on their shoulders.

        1. “Weakening that selling point also weakened our global competitiveness, as Jim Digriz had clearly pointed out in his comment.”

          -So are we just satisfy in English competency? How do other countries do surprisingly well than us even though they recognized the need for English language yet uses it along with what they do best..and here we are just good English speakers and has nothing else to offer..Are we all ok with that?

          “Do you really think that the tagalog the average Juan is speaking is really Filipino language? It is a bastardized from of tagalog if you ask me. You want that to define your country?”

          – We aren’t using Tagalog as it is anymore..Taglish ain’t tagalog at all. It’s bastardized because we let it be. Tagalog never improved because we never tend too. Taglish and Jejemon didn’t do it justice either..I want my country to have it’s own identity and unique contributions to the world..our local dialects is what makes us what we are. Sure go ahead and learn English and be the best in it..but the problem is that we’re trying to forget about our roots..in this case the language having people degrade it as useless to language of the streets..Improving our culture is just as necessary to a nation as with better industries..we can’t be a “nation” by being “a nation of servants”. Unless we’re all just content with just doing service jobs for the rest of our lives, being recognized as “others” with no national identity and with nothing that makes us stand out..English will help but not in long-term.

          “, like using one Philippine language — Tagalog — as a medium of instruction in our educational institutions out of a mistaken belief that this will ‘unite’ all the ethnic groups in the archipelago under one identity. ”

          Tribal difference yet again..so you’ve prefer English? Just to shut the lid on the tribal conflict if one local dialect tops the others? We’re not trying to ignore the other local dialect in fact..the new k-12 educational system encourages it.

          “And if that includes having a people who are bilingual, so be it.”

          Yet this is not what I’m seeing. It’s replacing the old not collaboration of both languages.

          What’s so wrong with bringing to light one’s national language? It’s just not done right. Like I said before it’s stupid not to learn English and be good at it in this day and age but “scrapping” our local dialect for what? globalization? for global competency? Are we REALLY that poor?

        2. As far as bad governance goes..we should really learn to vote the right people..having foresight is just as helpful as well.

          It would all work well if done well.

        3. Whoever said to “scrap” the tagalog dialect?

          The point being made here is that the overall state of the country cannot be hinged upon the mistaken pinoy pride and nationalism which this government has always been fond of mentioning during their campaigns. Do you really think that a kid who watches sponge bob in dubbed tagalog will be better off than a kid who watches it in english in about 20 years time? Let us not kid ourselves, tagalog is hardly usable in a highly technical environment such as engineering and other fields.

          “and here we are just good English speakers and has nothing else to offer..Are we all ok with that?” You see, being good english speakers does not come in itself… I can tell you now that I am given the opportunity to handle this job outside the Philippines just because I can communicate well in english. And I am not even that good at it.

          “I want my country to have it’s own identity and unique contributions to the world..our local dialects is what makes us what we are.” —Uhmm, Just what contribution can the tagalog dialect make to the world? You are having a false sense of importance.

          “Tribal difference yet again……the new k-12 educational system encourages it.” If you havent been around the remotest parts of the Philippines, then you fail to see what JS has been saying, these people in the remotest places would rather communicate with the “outsiders” in english than tagalog dialect. Case in point, Mountain Provinces. Bottom line, tagalog dialect cannot and will not be a means to enhance nationalism.

          “Nation of servants”…FYI it is not only DH and laborers that we export to other countries but also a lot are people like me who are a bit specialized in our field.

          There is nothing wrong in speaking the tagalog dialect, let it evolve into jejemon and other hideous forms, whatever, but it cannot be used in any way or form to prop this country up and showcase it as a great nation to the rest of the world.

        4. Carmichael,

          You don’t seem to comprehend the post.

          That the majority of Filipinos know how to communicate in spoken and written English is a given. You made a comment questioning whether government is to blame for the country’s poor progress vis-à-vis the country’s language proficiency.

          The gist of the matter is YES, government is to blame. Several ill advised endeavours have been made to promote a ‘national language’ as a means of inculcating national unity as a vehicle for national progress. On the face of it, this was a bad idea and a waste of time. Especially when there are other, matters that need prioritisation such as public infrastructure and the need for more transparency and openness in the economy. Not only does this ‘national language’ effort remove resources from more important concerns, it becomes irrelevant in the face of the fact that most Filipinos are capable of understanding English, and are comfortable with it.

    3. @Carmichael
      It seems that you don’t understand the concept of being globally competitive. Do you honestly believe the Philippines would be better off if no one spoke any English? The point that I was trying to drive home here was that English was available for all to be picked up without any effort. Naturally you will still speak your own language with your family and people around you, will you not? “Ethnologue” lists 175 individual languages in the Philippines, 171 of which are living languages. The only language which truly unites Filipinos is English. Because most likely it is the only other language most Filipinos speak. The reason why Tagalog has become a “frankensteined” language is because instead of being properly fluent in both, we are now not fluent in either. Furthermore, you speak of “ONE” Filipino Culture? What is Filipino Culture? It actually does not exist. There are only Filipino traits, no true culture. If you can list real Filipino culture, please do so and I’ll be eager to learn. We are not Thailand; a country that has never been colonized, conquered or occupied. Yet in 1862, Anna Leonowens, a widow with two children, served as governess or tutor to the sixty-four children of King Rama IV. Could it be that the King of Siam was smart enough to recognize that speaking English was an advantage already at that time? The Philippines is an Americanized South East Asian country. An improved public school system was established during the first decade of American rule. Speaking English was the biggest advantage the Philippines had over other neighboring countries. Why do you think the Philippines were number 1 in Asia after Second World War? Because we had an American educational system. Now, I’m not a friend of America and their politics, but at that time the Philippines enjoyed the highest educational standards in South East Asia. We now neglect the value of dedication to the English language as well as rigid training. I mentioned TV, because it is a good example and reflection of how god damn stupid we have become. All of this is a conspiracy to make people dumb and keep them that way, so certain people can run and bleed this country the way they please. Filipinos now can no longer comprehend the real picture. Why? Because the real picture is painted in another language, Tagalog language is used for brainwashing and shits & giggles. I also have a problem with you immediately making the conclusion, that when I talked about the export of human labor, you thought of it in a negative way. Again, why? Knowledge attained abroad is being brought back home. Actually, we are in urgent need of that. Are we not? Do you want Filipinos to ONLY live and work here and know nothing of the outside world? Hmm, maybe we should annex with North Korea then.

      1. wow, this is still going on?

        “I want my country to have it’s own identity and unique contributions to the world..our local dialects is what makes us what we are.” —Uhmm, Just what contribution can the tagalog dialect make to the world? You are having a false sense of importance.

        Ok sure, don’t put importance in national identity as long as we can pay the bills? And calling this a false sense of Nationalism? Language is just part of it..but I guess screw all that so that I can afford my house and car right? Sure, screw my identity as a Filipino, we rather be an people with no identity as long as we have the money to live?

        “Case in point, Mountain Provinces. Bottom line, tagalog dialect cannot and will not be a means to enhance nationalism.”
        – Because they don’t want too. And everyone thinks that having tagalog classes is a waste of time? Sure let’s unite the nations with the English language..screw Tagalog..tribal difference..yet again

        “Do you honestly believe the Philippines would be better off if no one spoke any English?”

        – Definitely not. and dang, you guys keep misunderstanding my point. I’m not suggesting that we stop learning English we should stop treating our local dialects like crap. And calling everything close-minded nationalism? Do we really hate our country?

        “Speaking English was the biggest advantage the Philippines had over other neighboring countries. Why do you think the Philippines were number 1 in Asia after Second World War? ”

        – and it’s ironic as to how our neighboring countries are doing better than we do

        Do you want Filipinos to ONLY live and work here and know nothing of the outside world? Hmm, maybe we should annex with North Korea then.

        – It be great if majority of us and see the world and know what we’re all missing. It’s that experience that makes me ask..how come that they’re this awesome even though their English needs work? and I’m not that close-minded..

        My stance is to respect the local dialect. that’s it. It be great if we can have a sense of nationalism that is not based on being ignorant of our surroundings but being proud of where we came from and we try to improve it as the days go by..as to why we don’t have our own culture is that because we never bothered to make one..with all these countries colonizing us it’s a mystery as to why we couldn’t loan some of it and make something out of it. We just developed an inferior way of thinking towards ourselves as a nation no wonder we rely too much on other countries and as one had said..”we have no choice”

        What’s a country without an identity? just an island..maybe the solution this country is looking for is submitting to a higher earthly power. Since most of us has probably quit trying to be “filipino”..it seemed easier to just serve others than to lead and be somebody..

        1. A country’s identity cannot be defined by the language they speak. A country will be known for whatever collective achievements that its people had undertaken and succeeded. Japan is known by the world as they made strides in electronics and automotive industry as a result of their inherent trait to be able focus their attention to minute details and extreme sense of self discipline. Nihonggo is just in the background and has nothing to do with how the world sees them. You want to showcase the Philippines, then name something in which the filipinos, as a nation, would be able to do similarly with what the Japs did. Moreover, what filipino trait could propel us to do extra ordinary things? If you think about it, it would really be hard making strides in some ares of humanity when our coffers are being plundered by the leaders themselves, tagalog or no tagalog.

          You mentioned that despite the english speaking bit of the population, our country lags behind its neighbors. That is a poor argument, since as I have mentioned a couple of times, there are a lot of other factors which contribute to our sorry state as a nation and which is not directly linked to the spoken language and only strengthens the point made by the others that the blame rests squarely on the government, past and present.

          This is not about treating your dialect like crap, as what you have mentioned. This is about that false sense of nationalism brought about by the dialect. A dialect which has been way past its “best before” date. Note I have used dialect, because that is what it is, spoken by a large handful, and not used at all by the rest. The sooner people realize that this nation will not be propped up by false sense of nationalism, the sooner we can move on and think outside the box how this country can be great again.

  6. aanuhin mu nmn ung galing mu s english kung masama nmn ugali moh?
    at bukod p s masama ugali mo eh ang pangit mu pah!
    kung aquh sau ayus-ayusin mu muna ichura mo ksi malayo mararating moh kung di ka mukang basahan ei!

    1. Ay? Jejemon ang peg? Yung mga salita mo, pakibaybay mo nang maayos. Hindi ka nagte-text, at lalo na, wala kang excuse para magpaka-Jejemon. Marami ang space sa comment box.

    2. Sa mga nagbabasa…

      Huwag po ninyong tularan si ‘oipskke.’ Bukod sa pagiging mangmang na filisteong walang pagpapahalaga sa kayamanan ng ibang kultura, wala siyang kakayanan na magpahayag ng kahit na simpleng kaisipan sa sariling wika.

    3. No excuse to post jejemon here if the comment box is large enough.

      To the jejemon retard:
      “English, Motherf**ker, Do you speak it?”

  7. I worked abroad for almost 10 years now. Every year, I go home and I admit, I miss local TV shows. But when I found out that cartoons are all translated in Tagalog, I was outraged.

    I cannot believe the government would think Filipinos are dumb enough that they would think we cannot understand English, especially the kids. I grew up watching English cartoons and I never had problems understanding them. Same I would say to children today.

    I also don’t like it when Filipinos tend to be among themselves. I know it’s comfortable and easier to relate to when you’re within the same “feather”. But excluding yourself because you tend to get “nosebleed” when you speak English, just makes you look snob… not shy.

    Stop with the false patriotism. There’s nothing wrong in learning PROPER English. Whether everyone admits it or not, it is more advantageous, professionally, for someone who is proficient in English.

  8. As an Englishman, I can only compliment those who ‘Have-a-Go!’ Proficiency in English (albeit the ‘American Flavour’), is one of the main reasons why I chose to operate my business here; rather than other countries I could mention.

    Generally, in the UK, the ability to speak another language has largely disappeared . . .

    1. What is the point of your question?

      Neither English proficiency nor ‘stupidity’ are mutually exclusive.

      No one here even implied the idea. However, posing the question out of context is rather stupid.

      1. This was the question often ask to us regarding the matter..The answer that I got from most of them is yes.

        Even I got called stupid for not being that good in English.

        1. Then the answer is obvious.

          Stop associating with narrow-minded, pretentious bigots.

    2. It should be noted that people who are bilingual generally use their brain more than those who are not. They are better at prioritising and multitasking. They are less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s.

    3. “Is someone who can’t speak English stupid?”

      No, he is uneducated or just a lazy bum. There is just no excuse these days not to speak any English. NON what-so-ever!

      1. Apart from being uneducated, which you just noted but then dismissed as not an excuse. Well done for being born into a family that can afford good education, you must feel very proud.

        1. I’ll have you know you judgmental ass, that my knowledge of the English language has it’s foundation in Films and Comic books. You don’t have to be rich to be educated, since you can educate yourself. Ever heard of a public library Dave? Therefor, there is no real excuse for being uneducated. I stand by what I said. Uneducated people are lazy. I also stand by my statement that you are a judgmental ass.

        2. Hi Dave, I was born in a poor family and went to a public school. I finished my four-year college and earned a degree with having only 2 textbooks which I forcibly have to buy since it was required by our Professor. I was a working student to be able to afford my college education. What I did? I went to the library everyday in order to do my homework and projects in school. I watched English shows even cartoons on TV (neighbors TV by the way since we did not have one. I read every publication (comics, magazines, newspapers, et cetera) I could borrow as long as it was in English. I could not practice speaking in English at home because my parents were not professionals. I studied another foreign language when I was in college since it was offered for free. I did all of these because I know knowing English and another foreign language will give me an advantage to get a good and decent job especially my family did not have any connection to use in order to land me a good job. Now, I am working for an embassy and it just proved I was right. Yes I am very proud. Being born poor is no excuse.

        3. In that case then, I guess my girlfriend’s free-loading layabout brothers really are just lazy after all. I bought into her throwing the blame elsewhere, I’m starting to see through all these excuses now.

        4. David, I’m glad that you are starting to see through things now. Don’t accept lame excuses and stop supporting the brothers of your girlfriend….in supporting their laziness you are not helping them at all. Nice of you to help but it should be on a case to case basis. P.S. I hope at least your girlfriend also has a job.

        5. Last year I ‘loaned’ the family money to ‘invest’ in their store. They wasted some of it trying to set up a photo studio in an area where there was no business and eventually sold it for pittance.

          They know they’ll never get anything more from me, they blew their chance by being so incompetent. It doesn’t seem to make a difference anyway, the ageing parents still have trouble paying tuition fees for their teenage kids (seventh and eighth of the litter) whether I help them or not.

          My girlfriend received money for a while, because even though I don’t like encouraging dependence I have a heart and felt insulted that she’d be working a month for just 10,000 pesos when I could give her that and the time to search for something better. Now we both work online and we’re free to travel – she doesn’t earn much, but I guess it’s enough to help out her lazy brother sometimes.

  9. Sometimes,When speaking to Filipino’s it is easy to guess their education level fairly accurately. I asked a sori-sori store employee if she had a Coke'”Lite” can I might purchase. The woman looked at me quizzically, scrunched up her nose as if she smelled a rotting diaper and shook her head, east to west, all while saying nothing. I surmised the answer to be in the negative and figured the woman to be of kindergarten education.

    1. Reminds me of when I tried to buy a bottle of water from a local store in Tacloban. There were about six of them sitting around and none of them understood what I was saying, they just repeated “wuh-tuh?” in confusion.

      I’d only recently arrived in the country, so I didn’t know ‘tubig’ yet, or that I have to put on an American accent rather than British. It left me feeling confused (and thirsty).

      1. @Dave:

        In the Philippines, we speak American English…not British English…some people cannot understand English, spoken in British or Australian accent. I myself has hard in understanding British English…Inspite of my being married to one, speaking English with British accent..

        1. We don’t speak American English.
          We butcher it.
          We speak Filipino English. (This is different from Taglish.)

          I consider Taglish as the substitution of English words in an otherwise correct Tagalog sentence and vice-versa. i.e., “Kailan ko kaya makukuha ang *passport* ko?”

          Filipino English is the total distortion of the thought-speech process that results in stuff like this:
          “Don’t English me! My nose bleeding because I don’t English!” (Overheard in a mall, seriously.)

  10. I fully agree with this article. The reason why Filipinos are poor in English is because they are badly educated. Tagalog TV sucks! In the Philippines, nationalism is a religion.

  11. I really regret not taking English seriously when I was in my Teens. Back then I thought its for show off and “sosyal” . Now Im still having hard time writing emails and reports especially that Im applying for a managerial position. Im also disappointed of English shows in our local TV stations dub to tagalog for the younger generation where future employment for them will be from Foreign and BPO companies.

  12. I am rather sad about the fact that you HAVE to become acquainted in English just to become accepted by PH society and get you further access to TBs of information and a lot of job opportunities.

    My father wanted me to ALWAYS post in Facebook IN ENGLISH just to become credible and accepting! They NEVER EVER wanted me to post something in Filipino because people WILL NOT, according to him, answer me nor regard me as another human being.

    “(In my mind) WHAT!? It doesn’t have to be that way”

    In fact, you can ALWAYS speak the language (Tagalog) whenever you want and people would still respond with the same language, although most foreigners won’t understand such. Why the heck would society look for people who can speak English fluently when they are other opportunities for non-English people to go around.

    I need to see that people should look around for people who can be friends with them and will stay together for life if not for less than 8 years. Sadly, this is the reality, that people still look around for English-speaking Filipinos, regardless of whether or not they abandoned their National language and the history of the Philippines.

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