Why Anti-English Sentiment is Anti-Filipino

While the Constitution (Article XIV, section 7) declares English as an official language of the country, there are still smart-alecks who believe Filipinos should not speak English. For example, there was this troll in a group that tries to say he is more “Filipino” because he doesn’t know English much.

Such things are really stupid. Lack of knowledge on English doesn’t make you more Filipino than anyone. Besides, is there such as thing as “more” or “less” Filipino?

But that troll sadly isn’t the only one believing this. There are those commenters who insist that we write our articles in Tagalog. You’ve probably known of some weirdos coming up to you and say something like, “bakit ka nag-iingles? Pilipino ka a! (Why are you speaking English? You are a Filipino)” Or there is this idea that if you speak English, you are rich or should belong to the upper class. Or that English-speakers are arrogant or devious (citing former President Marcos… wrongly… as an example).

There was even this funny pic being passed around lately:

pinoy_english_yabang

But sometimes, not only the weirdos say this. Even our dads or moms, grandparents or grandmas, friends or other people (likely the commies) have this idea that English must be excised from the Filipino culture. Even our mass media ridicules speaking English, with movies like “English Only” that put the language under a bad light. Not to mention popular celebrities who try to put down people who speak English. But I object and will say, anti-English sentiment is actually anti-Filipino.

So why is this so? Firstly, it goes against the law of the land, as mentioned above. If it’s an official language, so there’s nothing wrong or anti-patriotic in using it. In fact, it seems that if you try to cut down English, you might even be opposing the law!

Secondly, anti-English sentiment deprives people of chances to educate themselves and get better jobs. Most of international media makes use of English, since U.S. media has dominated most of the free world’s media networks, and thus English is widely used. It is highly likely that English will never be replaced for a long time. English is our connection to the world.

English is also important for education since most important lessons on modern principles, science, information, literature and other things are in English. Ideas about freedom and ethical societies are mostly found in English works. So if people are not able to read these things, they may be deprived of ideas they sorely need. So I wonder – is discouragement of English really done to help cripple the economy and the freedoms of others?

If learning English is unpatriotic for Asians, then the Koreans in the Philippines are very unpatriotic for learning English aside from their native Korean. But wait a minute, the Korean government isn’t complaining… it is in fact encouraging that! And it is because Korean companies pay more to employees who know English, one of the main reasons for the deluge of Koreans in this country. But even if companies in our countries do not give such rewards, many jobs depend on good English skills – most especially the call center and business-process outsourcing (BPO) industry. If you keep telling people to stop speaking English, then how can they handle the job of talking to foreign clients? If they can’t, they might as well be kargardors at the pier (wait a minute – is that what you want anti-English people want? For Filipinos to remain at the menial level?). There are just some jobs you can’t do without English.

If only local movies paid more respect to English
If only local movies paid more respect to English

Because of call centers and BPO, Filipinos have the term “nosebleed.” This means difficulty in understanding or using English. It probably exists because Filipinos have a hatred of learning English. But Nosebleed may actually be a sign of problems in our cultural attitudes, as well as the dumbing down of people through mass media. So it’s a sign of something wrong with our society. I daresay, Filipinos are not entitled to their nosebleed, and it’s perhaps something we should strive to eliminate.

Did Rizal Really Liken English Speakers to Smelly Fish?

Another argument anti-Englishers use is that Rizal supposedly said ““Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika/masahol pa sa hayop at malansang isda (He who loves not his own language/is worse than a beast and a stinking fish)” in a poem attributed to him, Sa Aking Mga Kabata. But research into the matter by historian Ambeth Ocampo has found this attribution questionable. It is more likely that Rizal never wrote it and someone else did. But even if Rizal did, the fact that English is part of the official languages of the country makes it one of the languages that we must love.

Yes, Filipino is still the national language. But there are problems with what “Filipino” is. In fact, Manuel Quezon simply make his “tribe’s” language, Tagalog, as Filipino. Which may imply one thing: are Hiligaynon, Bisaya, Waray, Cebuano, Panggalatok, Ilocano and other languages not Filipino? So there’s a problem with the current concept of a “Filipino” language. But Filipino actually being Tagalog in disguise is not acceptable to some, and it actually smacks of favoritism for the Tagalog parts of the country – something at times called Tagalog or Manila Imperialism.

English Builds Bridges

And as I have often repeated, a co-worker back then recalled how she communicates with her grandmother in Mindanao, who does not know Tagalog and knows the local language. The former co-worker was raised mostly in Manila, so she knows Tagalog but not her grandmother’s language. But they are able to communicate in English since they both underwent education for it. Thus, English can solve local language barriers.

language_barriers

Despite what honest intentions may be present in people who believe in the anti-English sentiment, it will do more harm than good. English opens doors, so trying to eradicate English will close them. Thus, efforts to cut down or eliminate English may be deemed anti-patriotic, because closing doors does harm to people, keeping them away from opportunities and leading to people being less educated than they should.

And certainly, there is nothing wrong with Filipinos learning other languages, such as Swahili, Spanish, Dutch, Esperanto, Arabic and many others, as this opens even more doors. Yet there is much justification for keeping English as a part of the Filipino heritage.

And to those who say, English is submission to American colonialism, just think of this: the language is called English, not American.

The Philippines needs a revival, or at least a revitalization, of its English culture.

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About ChinoF

I stick with this blog because I believe, as my cohorts do, that many things Filipino embrace as part of their culture keep their society backward. And blogging freely to show that in a truly decent society, with true freedom of speech, even nobodies have a voice.

Post Author: ChinoF

I stick with this blog because I believe, as my cohorts do, that many things Filipino embrace as part of their culture keep their society backward. And blogging freely to show that in a truly decent society, with true freedom of speech, even nobodies have a voice.

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98 Comments on "Why Anti-English Sentiment is Anti-Filipino"

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Peter Vandever
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Be careful, Chino…. you might sound like me for once lol

Narra
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Most people speak the language they needed in connection with the language they grew up with or most commonly used in their work, household, country, etc. I think anti-English sentiment is given out of frustration especially by those whose language education is limited. Add the fact that there are Filipinos who use their English proficiency to intimidate people instead of educate.

tomas
Guest

i doubt rizal said said in that context. these “ultranationalists” are just rabid fundamentlaists taking something from the scripture and adding their own biases into the interpretation. “magmahal” does not necessarily mean to shut your mind out to learning other things. being a scholar, thinker and a fluent speaker of other languages makes me doubt rizal can be that one-dimenional.

Felicity Merriman
Guest
It’s pretty much the reason why I tend to cringe whenever one of those so-called “tagalised” films are being aired. For sure, they’ll throw that oft-used excuse in that other countries dub their films as well, but still it reeks of rabid provincialism and what I dub as bumpkin mentality. They call and brazenly boast themselves as a nation of “world-class Pinoys”, yet as what mainstream media here shows, especially with the recently-concluded MMFFs, they still have a long way to go before they’ll be able to put their money where their mouths are, and it doesn’t help that they’re… Read more »
Pallacertus
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“It probably exists because Filipinos have a hatred of learning English.” “Hatred” is too strong a word. Instead of “hatred of learning”, how about “imperfect command of”? Not only imperfections in grammar and diction but also in terms of thought formation and stringing sentences together? The term was appropriated not to describe the humiliations of raging ultranationalists coping with reality in corporate settings, but to encapsulate the feelings of those seeking work in BPO or other industries where English fluency is the rule. Surely you can acknowledge that, instead of glossing this (far more probable, given the Pinoy emphasis on… Read more »
s
Guest

I live in Davao city and most people here do not speak Tagalog nor do they speak it in Cebu.

s
Guest

They don’t speak Tagalog much from Mindinao on.

leon wayne cooper
Guest

what ever expands and enhances one’s sphere of activity seems a positive direction in which to grow

Fred layno
Guest

What is up with this article?! I say, being able to speak english does not necessarily make a filipino “educated”. Besides, we still have a responsibility to preserve hundreds of our languages (not “dialects”), many of which are now almost lost. Also, the modern tagalog that we speak is in fact an adulterated version of what it used to be. It says that english is our bridge. How can we cross this bridge if our own end of the language gap doesn’t even hold well?

triple r
Guest

And the ironic part of quoting rizal on loving your own language and using this as basis for anti-english/filipino only sentiment is that rizal himself was a polyglot.

Sea Bee
Guest
The anti-english sentiment is probably in part fueled by the social studies texts in school. One of the authors purposes is to create pride in being Filipino. One way to do that is to blame everything that is wrong with the current society, on the Spanish and American colonizers. Then, they create a fictitious utopian pre-colonial past where everyone was happy; despite the dictatorship of the Datu overlords and the existence of slavery. That way, the 500 year colonial period can be seen as an interruption in the saga of the Philippines. I suspect the truth of the matter is… Read more »
Hyden Toro k8l
Guest
English is my first language…I can speak and write Tagalog; but I prefer English. It is the language of Modern and Advanced Technology in any field. I work in the Technical Field. I never seen any Technical Book written in Tagalog. I studied in an American University. Had to pass : Test on English as Foreign Language (TOEFEL); before I was admitted in the University. In Graduate School; English was again the Medium of Instruction. I learned also other foreign languages. When I went to a career job. Foreign clients of the company that I work with, needs somebody who… Read more »
eOw phoU
Guest
Mas maayos sana kung ipinunto mong pag-aralan munang maigi ang Filipino kaysa English. Maaaring nakaririnig ka ng mga diyalogong “bakit ka nag-Eenglish, e Filipino ka” pero sa bandang huli, nagsasalita pa rin tayong lahat ng English. Ang nakalulungkot nga lang, mas metikuloso tayo sa pag-Eenglish. Mas inaaral natin ang balarila ng English kaysa sa Filipino. Mali ang ihambing tayo sa mga Koreano dahil bago nila inaral ang wikang English ay niyakap muna nila ang sarili nilang wika. Ibang-ibang sa situwasyon sa Pilipinas. Kompitensiya ang tingin natin sa dalawang wika. At parang habang tumatagal, unti-unting natatalo ang sarili nating wika. Huwag… Read more »
joe
Guest
I’m a full blooded Filipino (whatever exactly is in the mix is probably too small to amount to anything) born and raised within Imperial Manila. My mother tongue is of course Tagalog, but somehow, probably because of exposure to MacGyver (which was extremely popular back in the 80’s), Airwolf and a ton of English written books dropped on me by my parents, I picked up English early on and knew the language quite well… good enough to hold conversations at length with a number of expats I’d met as a child. I went on to elementary school (an all boys… Read more »
sizzlingsquid
Guest

What pisses me off is misplaced English-talking. Like obvious pinays talking in high-brow Californian English to a jeepney driver. A jeepney driver. Or someone talking to me in English when I insist on talking in Tagalog/Bisaya since we’re just neighbors.

FRED MERTZ
Guest

Been to NYC lately ? No one even speaks English, Filipino’s be better off learning Spanish or Mandarin.

rawr
Guest

Ah ok ganun pala, akala ko naman bawal lang magtagalog dito sa site na ito. Salamat marami akong matutunan.

Chris
Guest

So what’s the current attitude of Filipinos attempting to learn or speak Mandarin, Japanese or Korean? Probably the same derision I guessing.

Dick S O' Rosary
Guest
People should understand that English is not a “foreign” tongue for us anymore. A large anglophone community exists here and by that I mean a community of people who speak English as a first language, a community of Filipinos whose first word was an English word and it has been this way for generations. This community is no less Filipino than the monolingual T’boli speaker. This anglophone community is also self-sustaining, meaning that it will continue to produce generation after generation of English speakers as naturally as Hiligaynon, Bisaya, Waray, Cebuano, Panggalatok, Ilocano and Kapampangan speakers sustain their community. A… Read more »