English vs Tagalog: James Soriano owes no one any apologies

Whatever it was said by whoever this James Soriano is, if it is the truth about the utter lack of intellectual tools Tagalog provides its speakers, then no apologies are needed to be given to those who take offense from these words.

A Manila Bulletin column published on August 24 titled “Language, learning, identity, privilege” has gone viral online, garnering mixed reactions from netizens, reports GMA News. The column, written by James Soriano, discusses what he believes are problems with the Filipino language.

Soriano, who was taught to use English at a young age, said that learning Filipino stemmed from practicality. “It was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed sundo na.” Though the writer learned to grasp Filipino as the “language of identity,” he maintains that it is not “the language of the learned.” He ended his column by describing that Filipino “is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege.”

I agree with Soriano 100 percent.

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Tagalog is a quaint dialect at best. Perhaps we continue to hang on to it because it gives us that familiar warm fuzzy feeling inside. The reality today is quite stark, however. Tagalog does not deliver. The sooner we as a people come to terms with that reality, the sooner we can move on to tackling much bigger challenges.

Some would argue that perhaps rather than make an issue of the medium of instruction used in our education system, there are more pressing needs to upgrade its impoverished physical facilities — classroom shortages, books, etc. Indeed these are all serious problems. But the bottom line is that every new classroom and every new textbook we deploy into the public education system are assets we need to sweat. We need to optimise their ability to support the delivery of high-quality education so that the system turns out productive and employable Filipinos.

The medium of instruction used in the public education system of the Philippines is therefore an important issue. Education is all about (1) connecting people to useful information and (2) giving them the intellectual and cognitive tools to comprehend and evaluate that information. The fact that we continue to invest precious classroom time delivering instruction in Tagalog — a dialect that achieves very little for its speakers — already begs an obvious solution.


Between the Tagalog dialect and the English language, which one returns more for every peso invested in classroom time used in its instruction?

The active ingredient in this critical decision can be encapsulated in the simple fact of the lack of a Tagalog word for a simple concept with far-reaching implications on our ability to progress — efficiency. What does this tell us? Consider, how there are lots of Tagalog words for something very familiar to Filipinos: rice. We have ‘bigas’, ‘kanin’, ‘sinaing’, and ‘palay’, among others. That’s because rice is an important aspect of Filipino culture and society. The number of words in Tagalog devoted to articulating specific aspects, forms, and natures of this staple reflects its important and significant place in Filipinos’ lives.

So what then would one conclude about the glaring absence of a Tagalog word for efficiency? I think the implications of this fact are quite evident. One just needs to experience the Philippines to validate that implication. Tagalog, the dialect that forms the kernel of our so-called “national language” reflects the degree to which its speakers apply themselves intellectually. If it is incomplete as far as its ability to articulate the complex ideas required to prosper in a complex world such as the one we face today, then that incompleteness reflects the scope of our society’s intellectual landscape.

We therefore need to turn to a language that we are already relatively proficient at that is up to the job.

The poverty of the Philippine school system, is but a component of the broader impoverishment that crushes Philippine society overall at all fronts. Therefore, the more fundamental question is: What is at the very root of this pervasive and profound impoverishment of the Filipino? I believe a key factor at play in our ability to compete in today’s environment is our lack of a tradition of and, as a consequence, a lack of an ethic for efficiency; and, perhaps, many of the other concepts we need to grasp at a profound level to get on the right track.

117 Replies to “English vs Tagalog: James Soriano owes no one any apologies”

  1. “So what then would one conclude about the glaring absence of a Tagalog word for efficiency?”

    This is just like holding on to a ticket to a bus that already left man.


  2. Tagalog is a language, not a dialect. What we should do is make Tagalog a more used language rather than just dismiss it as a “dialect” that has no important role in Filipino society.

    1. You mean like they tried to do during Marcos’ time? You can’t make a language “more used”. Language evolves with its culture, and what it lacks it borrows from other cultures; all languages do this. It just so happens that, apart from emotional concepts — or apparently, different words to describe rice — Tagalog has to borrow almost everything.

      1. Tagalog is not a dialect it’s a language. You better do your research first before you write an article because it is making you sound stupid. The Dialects of Tagalog are Bulacan Tagalog, Batangueno, Laguna Tagalog, Quezon Tagalog, etc. I studied Linguistics and Anthropology so i know what i am talking about. And please don’t add up to the number of filipinos who think lowly of the Filipino Language. Of course it’s not efficient because we have our fair share in making it that way. And YES! James Soriano should apologize to the people who uses the language to earn a living. Yes perhaps it’s the language of the street and that there’s truth to what he said but it doesn’t give him the license to assault. He should be a responsible journalist and if he was smart enough, he should have thought of the implications. Even manila bulletin removed the article, because they realized that what he wrote was plain arrogance. And one more question…are you even filipino? Sucks if you are. Get out of the country!

      2. Tsk tsk. The only one looking stupid here is the person fixated on knowing whether little moi is Filipino or not.

        So I might ask you a couple of questions first, professor:

        (1) How exactly does my being Filipino or not make the points I make valid or not valid?

        (2) How exactly do you presume to.possess the authority to proclaim who has and has not the right to live in the Philippines?

        Let’s get the above two clarified first before we move on to the other quaint points you make, ok? 😉

    1. Whether one prefers to call it a dialect or language is not important.

      What’s more important to discuss is whether Tagalog is useful to our progress as a nation or not.

      1. “What’s more important to discuss is whether Tagalog is useful to our progress as a nation or not”

        A big laugh at you. What a whatnot!

        1. You obviously lack the skill to explain your views with something longer than your favorite catchphrase.

  3. Its not his message or sentiments that are at fault, its his awful writing style. I think he just unleashed another “mideo” on the general public. Just like that eyesore of an art exhibit, his essay just plain stinks, too arrogant, too elitist, and his little twist in the end didnt do the “dramatic turn-around” it was supposed to do.

    If its one thing we learned from all this, Pinoys cant take “tough love”, feeling nila inaapi sila.

    What these “artists” are forgetting is that if they have a point to make, their medium of choice (whether a painting, a song, or an essay) should hook the audience, not repel them outright. How can you sell your message if you just alienated your audience?

    1. Is he really a regular contributor to that publication? Thank the gods for the bloggers. 😉

      Here’s the thing: GRP bloggers have been writing about this issue underground for quite a while now. The only reason it is gaining more attention now is because 1) The article was published by a major publication 2) As you said, there is so much to be said about the author’s style.

      But I am glad that more people are talking about it. I just wish some of the Netizens quit the personal attacks.

      1. yes, reading the blogosphere comments flying left and right are even more blood-curdling than the original source material

        but sad to say the Soriano didnt even make an effort to defend or explain his work.


        even Mideo came out and did interviews to air his personal interpretation of his work

        Benign0 may claim that Soriano doesnt have anything to be sorry about but he’s certainly not earning my respect by withdrawing so quickly after the shit hit the fan

  4. Lanuages are just tools of communications; to transfer your thoughts, to people. I write in English, Tagalog, and sometimes mixed, Taglish…
    However, in my work in the Technical Field…I cannot think: how Pilipino can fit in my work…highly techical words and phrases; I cannot find a way to express them in Pilipino…use whatever language helps you in performing your job well…don’t mind other people. You have to earn your living. And these people promoting Pilipino, can never help you…

    1. Are you willing and able to cite specific points you perceive to be “weak” and provide reasons for calling them such? Otherwise, do you merely expect the rest of us to either not take your viewpoints seriously or blindly accept without question your authority on these matters?

  5. Mr. Jaime S Soriano can say whatever he wants,thats his opinion and he’s entitled to it. The outrage was more becuase of his elitist views like he only uses it to speak to maids and drivers or relatives in the province.
    The only reason that English language in the first place was becuase we were under the American Occupation before WWII and after WWII. Werent back then we spoke in Kastil, manadatory in all classes (that was back then the languaged of the learned during the inquisition) and during the Japanese occupation, speaking Japanese was also placed in our school system ( later eradicated after the war was won). What about China, Japan and other non English speaking countries that are sucessfull yet only use Enlish as “that elective” class in Language. Thier subjects are taught in thier native tongue.
    English is a communication medium and an international business and political medium. Its good to master it to further enhance your knowledge but not a tool to prove your self worth as a human being, or being a Filipino ( or any nationality that you are other than US Citizenship)
    Im not outraged becuase he like to speak English and prefers it, I am irked becuase he generalized everyone who speaks it as being unlearned. (pity becuase he promotes himself a journalist ) and yes the whole elitist thing too.

  6. Here in the Philippines, the Tagalists, K.W.F., and Imperial Manila are pushing the extinction of several Philippine indigenous minority languages, and the slow but certain displacement of other Philippine regional languages. All because of Tagalog language-centrism, and Imperial Manila! So, K.W.F. what are you doing about this?

  7. Hindi elitista ang paggamit ng wikang Ingles. Ito lamang ay nagpapatunay na alam mo gamitin ito. Hindi rin tama na dapat ipagisangtabi na lamang ang wikang Tagalog. Kaya nga patuloy ang pagtuturo nito sa paaralan.

    Hindi rin naman sinabi ni Ginoong benign0 na wag na tayo magsalita ng Tagalog. Tingin ko ay hindi naman mamamatay ang wikang Tagalog kung tayo ay nag-aral na gamit ang wikang Ingles.

    Hindi kaya’t sayang lang ang pagtatalo sa wikang dapat gamitin sa paaralan? Dati’y tinanong ako ng aking guro sa pamantasan kung ano ang aking mas gusto na wika sa aking pag-aaral, Tagalog or English?

    Ano ang sinagot ko?

    English, of course. Marunong naman ako mag-Tagalog eh. My Tagalog isn’t Balagtas, but it gets the job done. My English isn’t Shakespeare, but it gets the job done.

    Reality is, as adults, we should all try to learn as many languages possible. I also want to learn Ilonggo, Cebuano, Ilocano and Bicolano. I need these languages to do my job more effectively in the Philippines.

    Pardon the bit of Tagalog above. I am part-Tagalong Imperialist. I am also part-tindero, boy, and household help. Kiddin’ 😛

    Pinoys certainly have an addiction to anger. All that insecurity…hays. Umayos kayo!

    1. Navajo is the former national language of my home town.

      Things come, things go. It’s all Greek to me.

      I don’t care what you call beer, cerbeza or suds, it tastes good if it is San Miguel and bad if it was made in Viet Nam.

  8. Puro smarte ang mga Pinoy pinag- aawayan mga walang sinabing bagay. pag awayan ninyo kung paano ninyo mapapaunlad ang bansa ninyo. You should all be ashamed being a Filipino. You as a nation has the most corrupt politicians, society, and forever a basket case in Asia. The Filipino Overseas Workers the top dollar earners of the Philippines does not even get any respect or any help from their own government and a good example is the 3 to 4 thousands Filipinos in Syria I read and article in one of the Philippine newspaper here in the U.S. that they rather die in Syria because of the current turmoil in that country than go back home and face a bleak future or worst may be starvation if they can’t get a job. The Philippine consular officers met and talk to some of these people and were told that if they want to go home it will be at their own expenses the Philippine government can not help them. Because you know why, if they do it will be less money going into the pockets of these Filipino officials. Now why would you brilliant Filipinos argues about non-sense like English versus Tagalog. Case and point a lot of carribean countries they speaks English its their national language but most of them live in the ghettos they are dirt poor like most Filipinos. English language is not your way to prosperity it is the character of most Filipinos that need to change so that your nation can move forward and be part of the international community of man. Being a Filipino is not a mere coincidence in fact it’s an inseperable accidencece of man. I’m sure non of us asks to be born there but” shit happens” so let’s deal with it.

    1. Kaya nga binoto ko yung may plano para sa mga ofw pero ala, natalo ni foreign investor piss-offer, ruling elite member Noynoy.

      Ugh, the drama.

    2. Oh please, don’t single out the Filipino nation as the most corrupt one in Asia. Better look at the countries facing fiscal crises left and right. Don’t tell me they got there by being smarter than the Filipinos. I find it hardly relevant to the topic on hand to discuss about corrupt officials and such when clearly we are talking about the response here of a fellow Filipino who choose to downgrade his own language in public, contemptuously stating that his mother tongue is English. If you would widen your point of view, study history and current affairs a bit more, you would see there are worse situations when it comes to national and international affairs, many on a global scale which have been manufactured by people wielding power in more developed nations. And to think the world has inherited these problems. If you think the Philippines is a basket case and are irked when we simply express our own views (as Mr. Soriano has freely done), then perhaps you need to think twice. We do still have our backbone and many a thing still matters to us and we can be unapologetic in expressing what we truly feel just as some of you do here.

  9. Hey, Joe!

    So, how’s your Navajo? LOL

    re: Vietnam — must be the water. Mai Mislang hated the wine (dunno if it was Vietnamese).

    Btw, San Mig experts say that the best-tasting brew is in Davao.

  10. The Filipino language embodies the Filipino culture. Although English is a much sophisticated language I doubt that it can represent totally the culture of the Philippines. The Filipino language is in the same Austronesian language from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. So, why are these other languages able to have a translation for ‘efficiency’? Anyways, I doubt if English can be used as a language medium to translate Filipino literature such as ‘Florante at Laura’ by Francisco Baltazar and still capture it’s essence 100%.

  11. It takes skill and vocabulary to speak fluent Filipino. Obviously, we cannot speak Filipino as effective and proficient as Francisco Baltazar.

  12. wow you’re right! EVEN Google Translate got it wrong, it suggested the following translations for “efficiency”:
    kakayahan sa paglilingkod
    kasanayan sa paglilingkod
    kasanayan o kakayahan sa gawain

    But the Fil translations they provided are closer to ‘proficency’ rather that ‘efficiency’

      1. good suggestion, i prefer ‘sulit’ over ‘husay’. techinically, it means economical, but something efficient does place importance on the economics of the effort expended. Though the nuances are a bit off when you try to describe someone’s work as ‘sulit’.

        and PS: it’s Dr.Noh, not Hoh, hindi po ako doktor ng mga pokpok 🙂

      2. Dr. NOH,

        Sorry about the typo. It must’ve have been the blinky blinking red lights last night. Hmmm, maybe I should change handles to Dr. Hammer.

        Anyway, you’re right. I think sulit comes close, but doesn’t quite hit that nail on the head.

      3. I’ll rather use taglish kasi mas-efficient gamitin! Besides a language tends to absorb words from foreign language. English is one good example.

  13. What could be the translation for the word “efficiency”?

    E di episiyensi! Problema, we are too much of purists.

    Fact is English borrowed and continues to borrow from other languages without shame. The word “efficiency” itself is from a Latin word “efficientia”.

    Sa Japan, what is “jazz”? e di “jaz”

    1. Sure. But the point is more around the word not existing on Tagalog *originally* which is a reflection of the limited conceptual range that is *native* to its speakers.

      1. Uh, the word *originally* also did not exist in old english so it had to borrow from Latin.

        Take this: “pang-ilan ka sa inyong magkakapatid”. Try translating that in English. Yet who is to say the natives of this language has no concept of order and sequence.

        Hear this and see if they are not talking of efficiency: “mas maraming kita kung ganito…, mas mabisa kung ganire…, mas mabilis ang aking style…, mas ok gamitin ang ganitong oaraan…”

      2. Uh, the word *originally* also did not exist in old english so it had to borrow from Latin.

        This doesn’t guarantee that an ancient or “old” english equivalent doesn’t exist prior to the incorporation of Latin into their vernacular. Latin became the “currency” of that period as it was the medium by which their Roman conquerors ran the empire and dominated their subjects.

        Take this: “pang-ilan ka sa inyong magkakapatid”. Try translating that in English. Yet who is to say the natives of this language has no concept of order and sequence.

        Off-the-cuff of my head, this shouldn’t really be all that difficult. I could imagine something like that casually put as “Where amongst the siblings are you by order of birth?” or perhaps something simpler like “Where in the succession of siblings are you?“, and many more variants, all of which would adequately convey the same idea.

        Hear this and see if they are not talking of efficiency: “mas maraming kita kung ganito…, mas mabisa kung ganire…, mas mabilis ang aking style…, mas ok gamitin ang ganitong oaraan…”

        All these only show that there exists a notion of a difference in degree (i.e. that there is a notion of good and better, perhaps also the superlative “best“) as the Spanish borrowed “mas” connotes. The closest to “mabisa” is “effective” in english and not “efficient.” None of these examples convey the concept of efficiency in a precise manner (which makes them inefficient in and of themselves). ‘Efficiency’ there may be hinted at or alluded to but still has to be inferred.

        1. Brilliant! This, if I may slightly modify your main point, is the general principle that underpins all this: “‘Efficiency’ [in Tagalog] may be hinted at or alluded to but still has to be inferred.” That is the key feature of Tagalog that reflects the character of the people from which the dialect evolved. Efficiency is a fuzzy notion at best, and our lack of a precise articulation of it describes the long road we still need to take culturally to be a people that fully internalises what is needed to be a truly industrial and technological society at the most profound levels of our national psyche.

      3. Hahaha, this is fun.

        You want a precise Tagalog word for “efficiency.”? Okay, I say episyensi.

        Ako naman. What the precise English word for “pang-ilan”?

        Eto pa, what’s the precise English word for “Sayang!”?

      4. Okay, first of all “episensyi” is pidgin. I could be nice and say it’s a homophone, but really, you’re just making stuff up.

        And no, there is probably no precise English translation for “sayang”. Like I said, Tagalog is very good at expressing emotional concepts. Which is a more useful concept? Efficiency or “Sayang”?

      5. Ako naman. What the precise English word for “pang-ilan”?

        Actually, there is a word in English that we’ve encountered already in grade school, which is…”ordinal“. This carries an even more precise meaning than the compound “pang-ilan.” Although it may be used in casual conversation, the availability of more suitable words in most situations (due to the comparatively wider choice in the richer English lexicon), makes the speaker less dependent on this more general term.

        Eto pa, what’s the precise English word for “Sayang!”?

        A close equivalent may be something like “wasted” (i.e. pitifully or regrettably wasted), “alas” (not often used).

        Actually (to extend even further the point BenK made earlier), Filipino/Tagalog reflects the “emo-centered” sentimentalism of our Pinoy culture. Our expressions tend to be at their best when trying to convey emotional states, which are very subjective. It’s no small wonder that Pinoys are more into communicating “feelings” (as massive appeal to telenovelas/teleseryes seem to reveal) and romantic flights into fantasy or reverie, and idealism, whilst the West with its Greco-Roman intellectual heritage tends to give more importance to reason (e.g. science), objectivity, and pragmatism.

  14. english…tagalog…filipino…ilokano…use whatever you prefer…but gah, people, whatever you use to speak, please use the language properly. don’t use “idinitine” when the proper term for that is “ikinulong” or “kumite” when the word for that is “lupon”. abias-cbn, gma, etc. are certainly doing a great demolition job on the use of our vernacular. i don’t know if that is due to ignorance or plain laziness.

    sa totoo lang, ang sakit pakinggan sa tenga. sana magsalita na lang sila ng ingles dahil ang ginagawa nila ay masahol pa sa hindi pagmahal sa wika at nakasusulasok pa sa amoy ng malansang isda.

  15. Did you even read James Soriano’s article? Or did you just read the title, saw that it would piss a lot of Filipinos off and decided to give the kid some “Anti-Pinoy” cred?

    In case you didn’t, here’s a summary of what he said:

    “I’m rich, so I speak English and therefore smart. You’re poor, so you speak Tagalog and therefore dumb.”

    None of what he said was new. Everyone knows it’s easier to teach school subjects using English and obviously people already know that most Filipinos speak Tagalog. So what exactly was the “article” for?

    If I were to say “Ang init sa Pilipinas!”, my intention (to whine) would be more relevant than the fact I’m stating. That’s what happens when you state an obvious fact. That’s what pissed people off. It was the intent and not the content of his write-up.

    Btw, if you’re speaking Tagalog and can’t find a word for efficient, try using efficient. It won’t make you look stupid. It would actually be more efficient. 🙂

      1. Nope, not really. Actually, not at all.

        You criticize people for wanting to change the method of teaching to Tagalog because of the difficulty of migrating knowledge to an “incomplete” language but as an alternative you’re proposing that a whole population change the language they use. How is that more efficient?

        Unlike you, I put more value on the content than on the medium. The best way to get a message across is always using a medium that both parties are comfortable with.

        If it would be easier for kids to understand their teacher speaking in Tagalog, then use Tagalog. If there are terms that have no Tagalog equivalent then use English. It doesn’t matter as long as the message is sent across.

        1. @article

          If it would be easier for kids to understand their teacher speaking in Tagalog, then use Tagalog. If there are terms that have no Tagalog equivalent then use English. It doesn’t matter as long as the message is sent across.

          Pardon me, but the only reason more Filipinos find it easier to understand Tagalog compared to English is because there is less emphasis in teaching and using English in the first place. And if we have to borrow English words just to explain complicated concepts because there are some words that don’t exist in Tagalog, then we’ve be better off having English as our first language. It would save the government a lot of money on text books and manpower.

      2. No emphasis on teaching English? How many non-English speaking countries that have English as a required subject in public school do you know of?

        The problem with our education system isn’t that kids can’t read books written in English, it’s that they have no books to read! Having an environment that’s primarily English speaking won’t help them with anything other than English class. But I guess that would be enough since they would be automatically be considered “smart” for speaking straight English.

        Btw, if English becomes the national language, how do you plan to enforce that?

        1. @article

          You forget that mainstream media plays a big role in teaching kids nowadays. Most shows imported from abroad are automatically dubbed in Tagalog. I don’t understand why they have to do that. Tagalog is everywhere. It’s not like it is going to die if the shows remain in English. Added to this, most local shows help make Filipinos dumber.

          You said:

          Having an environment that’s primarily English speaking won’t help them with anything other than English class.

          I say:

          That’s just nonsense. It will help level the playing field. Just imagine if the kid who went to the local public school is able to talk straight English as the kid who went to Ateneo. The result of that would be good for the one who went to public school because he will also have a good chance of being hired by multinational companies later on.

          Like what I wrote in my previous article:

          “I just want to state the facts or the reality as it is. The fact, as one of the headlines in the PhilSTAR.com says, is that in the Philippines, “75% of employers reject applicants with poor English.” According to the article, there was a study that “showed 75 percent of employers had turned down jobseekers with a poor command of English, and 97 percent believed those with good English were also more productive.”

          To read more:

          Is President Noynoy’s anti-intellectual attitude turning intellectuals off the country?

      3. @article_or_rant_blog: You place more emphasis on content than on medium and this makes sense, as you say when both parties are “comfortable” with the medium. I agree. But then the knowledge that proves to be useful to support our aspirations to advance in development is knowledge that lies OUTSIDE the Philippines. This knowledge — technology, modern ways of thinking, and groundbreaking ideas — are all articulated in English. We have known for so long that Filipinos don’t learn much from fellow Filipinos. We rely on foreigners for every form of capital — financial, intellectual, social, and cultural. Guess what: the medium over which this capital is negotiated, acquired, and exchanged is not Tagalog. Those who seek this capital need to be proficient in the language that it is traded in. And that language is English.

        1. I have to agree with you. Thanks to internet, I have access to diverse knowledge raging from computer, world history, economics, etc..

          And these comes in English.

      4. @Ilda

        An Atenean would get a better chance at getting a job because he’s from Ateneo. You’re confusing cause and effect here. A graduate of Ateneo likely speaks English well because a) he came from a rich family that’s speaks English or b)he learned to speak that way in Ateneo. Him speaking good English and getting a good education is a symptom of the same sickness. He didn’t get a good education because he spoke good English.

        And please don’t quote articles you wrote to push your argument. That’s like trying to prove God to an atheist using a bible.

      5. @ benigno

        Let me make things clear. I have nothing against learning English. It is an important tool for us to compete globally. What ticks me off is this uniquely Filipino notion that anyone speaking in English is inherently smarter. A good (or bad) idea is a good (or bad) regardless of what language is used to convey it. From experience, I found Filipinos who put too much emphasis on English actually turn out to be the shallowest. Case in point Soriano. Try reading office email threads between foreigners (even Americans) and Filipinos. You’ll find that it’s always the Filipino that writes in perfect English but has the least ideas to put forward.

        If you’re good enough at something, it will show regardless of how good you are at English.

        1. I agree where you observed that among English speakers where the Filipino among them might express her ideas using superior command over the technicalities of English composition, she is likely to still contribute the least substance. So as you said, using English well does not necessarily compensate for a low quality idea expressed in it.

          But that is precisely the point I make. Separate the issue of the general lack of inherent intellectual substance of Pinoys from the issue of what language they communicate their shallow thoughts. The earlier provides a different context to English’s place in our society – the matter of how much it should be used. The context of the latter is more around how well it us used in instances when it is used.

          The earlier is the bigger issue than the latter — that is, the Philippines is an intellectually bankrupt society and as such will be served well by prioritising the use of English which provides superior intellectual tools to its users. The latter is less of an issue because, as you pointed out, even good English speakers don’t necessarily possess better ideas. But to make good English speakers with stupid ideas speak Tagalog obviously won’t improve their lot. So the question of whether or not English is a good question in the latter is moot.

          They are two different contexts to the issue of English in Pinoy society, and you might want to re-evaluate your causal constructs as they seem to crossover those two contextual domains and result in a further meddling of the “debate”.

  16. Another one that took a different road, huh?

    It’s so sad that an Atenean wrote that piece of aricle. When Gat. Rizal was also an Atenean and he showed how to respect and expand our native tongue. Is it the fault of Ateneo? What changed that now they are graduates with so much or lacking nationalism or disconnected to our culture and language? Is this what Ateneo will churn out as so-called graduates?

    We may look at how he was brought ou by his parents. How low they regard our language. In the end, those two institutions gave this kind of being – hinog sa pilit.

    In the end, I don’t challenge him to tell that to the Marines but to Sens. Diokno, Recto, Tanada or Pres. Quezon among others even to my principal Mr. Paltao
    To us, it showed us that we as elders should realize that children do follow us no matter how little these things are – it will just reveal itself. We can only hope what is revealed the best of what we taught them

    1. We should never forget that our country Las Filipinas, does not only evolve herself to the Tagalog Languge..
      By chances, I’m not a Tagalog nor speak Tagalog as my mother or 2nd acquired language but Zamboangueño as my mother tongue and Spanish and English are my 2nd acquired languages….

      Therefor, I am more keen to pass and teach Zamboangueño and English to my children. Of course Zamboangueño first before any other Filipino LanguaGES.

  17. I’m not as interested as what Mr. Soriano had to say than as to how Ateneo students are so insulated from the real world (they call it the outside world).

  18. What really is sad is we Filipinos copy too much from our old colonial masters we barely have any identity. I remember working for a large conglomerate in HK, we had offices throughout SE Asia except for the Philippines. I asked our senior execs, why not in Ph. They said PH is such a different country, it doesn’t even feel like an Asian country. They found it hard to relate with our culture.

    1. Philippines is weird amalgamation. It’s in East Asia geographically but culturally it’s mixture of Latin and Western.

      Anyone for Halo-Halo?

  19. The title of this article is English vs Tagalog: James Soriano owes no one any apologies. Shouldn’t it be English vs Tagalog: James Soriano owes no one any APOLOGY. ( Take note that the writer used ANY) For someone who agrees that English is the language of the learned, this is quite surprising. Are you throwing correct usage out of the window?

  20. by the way, there is nothing wrong with borrowing words from other languages. it enriches the borrower. in fact, 70% of English words came from Latin. Latin, on the other hand, refused to borrow from other languages. Now it’s a dead language.

    Mabuhay ang Filipino!

  21. il think outside of the box for this post, as broad as possible: no wonder why the most advanced countries have a strict rule on their OWN language. come on, the most advanced nations are the ones that keep their own language: chinese, japanese, french, german, as well as secondary ones like uae, brazil, russia. i believe retaining their own language was the key to their success.
    to match our asian neighbors, we need to be like them, love their own language so everyone understands everyone.

    1. You know what is really thinking outside the square? It is acknowledging that there are other languages in the Philippines aside from Tagalog. You are probably not aware of the fact that there are Filipinos in other regions who feel that Tagalog is being forced upon them. Which is precisely the reason why we actually need English to understand each other.

      1. Yes. How about us non-tagalog speakers? Why do we need to study Tagalog/Filipino in school and not Bisaya, Hilgaynon, Ilokano?

        Here in Malaysia, someone asked me what language I speak. I answered that I am a native Bisaya speaker and we talk Filipino/Tagalog so other non-Bisaya’s can understand us. He asked, “Why not English?”

      2. ang gitna ng kalakalan 0 komersyo at ang kapital ng pilipinas ay nasa kalakang maynila, ang lokal ng wika sa kalakang maynila ay tagalog; ang karamihang propesyon sa kamaynilaan ay gumagamit ng wikang engles at tagalog.

        ang cebu na tinaguriang reyna ng katimugan, siyudad ng cebu ang kanilang gitna ng kalakalan, cebuano at enles ang pangunahing wika ang ginagamit dito, mangilan ngilan ang marunong nagtagalog.

        baguio, unang dating kilalang “summer capital” ng pilipinas, natatagpuan sa kabundukan ng cordillera, destinasyon ng mga turista, lokal man o banyaga. iba’t iba ang lokal ng wika tulad ng kankanae, ibanag, ifugao… ngunit ilokano ang pangunahing lokal na salita sa pakikipag ugnay. engles at tagalog salitang gamit ng pakikiugnay sa mga turista o dayuhan…

        tulad ng mga ibang lugar sa pilipinas, ay halos ang lahat ng ito’y may kanya kanya lokal na wika o dialect… ilokano, cebuano, ilonggo, chabakano, kapangpangan, tagalog, bikolano, at marami pang iba. ng dahil ang gitna ng kalakalan pang international ay nasa kapital ng pilipinas, ang upuan ng kapangyarihan ng pamahalaan ng pilipinas ay nakalagak sa kalakaang maynila, na kung saan ang lokal ng wika ay tagalog, ninaisa na magkaroon tayo noon isang wika upang kahit saan man lupalop o isla ng pilipinas tayo nagmula, ang pagunawa sa isa’t isa ay maitutulay sa isang sariling wika.

        kung tayo ay nasa labas ng bansa, kahit saan man rehiyon, kailangan mong gumamit ng salitang engles para makipagugnayan sa ibang lahi.

        sagot ng karamihan ng arabo pag kinausap mo ng engles… MAFI MALUM ENGLESI.

        1. @aljad

          You just proved my point: English is the preferred choice of commerce. If they want to secure a job in the corporate world or want a better chance at improving their life, Filipinos should make it a priority to learn English. Learning the other languages in their region should just come in as second.

        2. Baguio boy here.

          We speak Ilocano among ourselves.

          English is for school and commerce.

          Tagalog is for beggars and thieves, because they don’t speak Ilocano.

      3. @ilda

        sangayon ako na dapat ay matuto ang bawat pilipino ng wikang engles sa kadahilanang ito ang gamit na wika sa larangan ng komersyo, agham (teknolohiya, medikal, pagsasaliksik….) ngunit tulad ng sinaad ni duanearmix007, kadalasan ang pagtataguyod ng isang sariling wika ng isang bansa ay nagiging matatag kung ang kanilang estado sa pangekonomiya ay matatag.

        kung ang ating tutukuyin sa pagpapahalaga ng matutuo ng wikang engles ay para makipagsabayan sa ibang lahi upang makabahagi sa yaman ng ibang maunlad na bansa sa paraang paninilbihan sa kanila ay mababaw na batayan ito.

        tulad nga ng akin ehemplo, sa kaharian ng saudi, MAFI MALUM ENGLESI (walang alam engles) ang kadalasan mong makukuhang sagot sa kanilang mga katutubo… kung ang isang pilipino ay ay naninilbihan sa isang katutubong kumpanya sa saudi, ang wikang dapat ng kanyang matutunan ay wikang arabic, sa katunayan ang mga propesyonal na pilipino sa saudi lalo na sa larangan ng pangkalusugan, sila ay binibigyan ng pagaaral o kurso upang matutong umintindi at magsalita at sumulat ng wikang arabic.

        ang mga mangagawang pilipinong nag nanais na makapagtrabaho sa bansang hapon ay dapat ng patuto, umintindi at magsulat at magsalita ng nihonggo o wikang hapon.

        at ganoon din po sa ibang bansang mauunlad, kinakailangang matuto ng isang mangagawagan pilipino mag salita ng katutubong salita ng bansang kanilang pagsisilbihan.

        sa pangkalahatan, ang wikang engles ay kinakailangan ng isang pilipino upang makagawa ng inisyal na pakikipag ugnayan sa ibang lahi o sa ibang bansa at matapos noon ay dapat na makibagay siya sa kultura ng lugar o bansang kanyang kinabibilangan.

        ang mga bansang tulad ng korea, japan, china, saudi arabia at iba pa ay nagsisikap na matuto ng engles para pakikipagugnayan nila sa ibang bansa ngunit kung ang isang dayuhan ay nasasakanilang bakuran sariling wika nila ang dapat pakibagayan ng sino man.

        sa ibang mauunlad na bansa, ang kahalagahan ng engles ay kadalasang pangalawa lang sa sarili o katutubo nilang salita.

        ang engles ay wika lang ng iilan sa ibang sulok ng mundo.

        1. Okey nga talaga sa perpektong mundo na bigyan ng ikwal na prioriti ang Tagalog at Inggles sa eskwelahan. Yung problema lang nga sa Pinas ay konti lang ang pera na naka-allokeyt sa edukasyong pampubliko. Kaya tuloy, ang dapat i-prioritise na wika sa iskul ay ang wika na makakatulong sa paghanap ng hanap-buhay ng ordinaryong Pinoy. Ang Tagalog, walang pumapatol na employer. Panay magaling sa Inggles ang hanap ng mga ito. So kung sa kakaunti mong pera na gagastusin sa pag-eduka ng karaniwang Pinoy, e aaksayahin mo pa ba ito sa lengguahe na di naman vinavalue ng mga nagre-recruit ng tao?

          Parang pagpili yan ng sapatos e. Kung 100 pesos lang ang pera mo, at yung trabaho na gusto mong pasukan ay nagre-require ng safety shoes, gagastusin mo ba ito sa pagbili ng bakya?

        2. You know, aljad, if we were rich in oil like any of the Arab countries, the international community would be lining up in front of our doorstep. Unfortunately, we don’t even know what to do with our natural resources. We can’t stand on our own without foreign intervention.

          Filipinos in general have total disrespect for their surrounding, which is why there aren’t a lot of tourists who would want to come back or tell their friends to visit us unlike Thailand, for example. Thailand has a unique culture that people from all over the world want to see. They are in the 10 ten most wanted destination.

          Likewise, the Filipino people’s lack of ingenuity and competitiveness keep us out of the game in the world stage. In Tagalog, it’s what we refer to as “kulelat”. Being proficient in the English language is our only edge. We need it to keep our head above water.

      4. @benign0; @ilda

        inuulit ko, sangayon ako na dapat na matuto ang bawat pilipino ng wikang engles, dagdag yaman ito sa kaalaman ng bawat indibidwal na pilipino upang makipagsabayan sa pang-international na kalakalan at sa lugar ng kompetisyong ng manggagawa. subalit maraming ibang katangian ang isang pilipino manggagawa kaya siya nakakahigit sa ibang mga lahi, kayat mas ninanais ng mga mauunlad ng bansa ang kumuha ng mga mgagagawa sa pilipinas. mga katangiang pinapangahalagahan ng mga naghihikayat ng at mamumuhunan sa mga manggagawa, ang mga ilan dito ay alam ang trabahong pinasok, kasipagan, may sentido komon, madiskarte, maabilidad, madaling umunawa at makibagay sa sitwasyon, mapapagkatiwalaan… marunong mag engles.

        hindi ako sangayong na ang pilipino ay KULELAT… ang mga pilipino ay kapantay o higit pa sang mga ibang lahi kung dunong at dunong din lang ang pag-uusapan.

        datapwat ako’y naniniwala na ang pilipinas ay KULELAT… dahil ang mga nagpapatakbo ng ating pamahalaan ay mga gahaman sa pangsariling kaginhawahan lamang, kurapsyon sa burukrasya na ani mo’y kanser sa laman na kumikitil sa sa pakakaruon mga masagana at malusog na kabuhayan ang mga mamamayan. mga pribado at publikong naninilbihan ngunit naninilbihan walang bahid ng propesyonalismo.

        ilan sa mga pilipino ang may kakaibang dunong na ang ibang lahi o bansa ang nakikinabang?

        ilan sa mga naimbento ng isang pilipino ang hindi sinuportahan ng pamahalaan o ng kapwa nya pilipino?

        ano anong teknolohiya sa larangan ng pagsasaka ang sinaliksik, pinagaralan sa pilipinas at ngayon ang ibang bansa ang nakikinabang?

        sa larangan ng pagkultura ng mga isda tulad ng tilapia at bangus?

        pagpayag at pagpapabaya sa mga dayuhan na lumapastangan sa likas na yaman ng pilipinas?

        sino sino ang mga sumuko sa impluwensya ng tagakanluran at unti unting tumatalikod sa kanyang pinagmulan?

        nasaan ang disiplina ng bawat isa?

        1. @aljad

          mga katangiang pinapangahalagahan ng mga naghihikayat ng at mamumuhunan sa mga manggagawa, ang mga ilan dito ay alam ang trabahong pinasok, kasipagan, may sentido komon, madiskarte, maabilidad, madaling umunawa at makibagay sa sitwasyon, mapapagkatiwalaan… marunong mag engles.

          Filipinos are not the only people in the world who possess the characteristics that you mentioned. We even look weird to the international community when they see that Filipinos can follow the rules in other countries but can’t follow the rules in our own country.

          And you also admit that we have an advantage for being proficient in English compared to some but you ironically want to emphasise Tagalog more. Duh?!?

          datapwat ako’y naniniwala na ang pilipinas ay KULELAT… dahil ang mga nagpapatakbo ng ating pamahalaan ay mga gahaman sa pangsariling kaginhawahan lamang, kurapsyon sa burukrasya na ani mo’y kanser sa laman na kumikitil sa sa pakakaruon mga masagana at malusog na kabuhayan ang mga mamamayan. mga pribado at publikong naninilbihan ngunit naninilbihan walang bahid ng propesyonalismo.

          Filipinos get the government they deserve. They voted for their public servants and allow them to steal public funds. Filipinos need to realise that they need to be vigilant in watching their public servants do their jobs. This includes criticizing them and voicing out their opinions about how the government is being run. If they don’t do this, nothing will change.

          The past is the past, we need to move forward and find solutions. And one solution is to make our citizens become well versed in English so they can join the discussions. At the moment, they are totally clueless about what is happening.

      5. @ilda

        ang pakikipagpalitan ng kuro kuro at opinyon ay hindi lang nagagawa sa pagiging matalas sa wikang engles tulad ng ginagawa natin ngayon, pilipino man ang aking ginagamit ay iyong naiintindihan dahil ikaw ay pilipino dangan nga lang ay mas matatas ka sa salitang banyaga, pumupugay ako sa iyong kagalingan.

        tama po kayo, hindi lang po pilipino ang mga may katangiang nabanggit ko kaya nga po hindi ako napasangayon kung sasabihin nating kulelat ang mga pilipino sa larangan ng lakas ng mangagawa saan man sulok ng mundo, kahit paputol-putol ang pananalita nya ng engles.

        ang kalagayan at estado po ng ating bayan ay, nakakalungkot mang tanggapin, ay mapakasama, ngunit kumpara sa ibang mga bansang nasa gitna ng kaguluhan at kagutuman ay ipinapagpasalamat kong ako’y isinilang sa pilipinas. malaya tayong mga uri ng mamamayan, ang kaakibat man ang kahirapan, may pag-asa pa ring umunlad sa kabuhayan.

        ang pagbabago at pagsulong ng pilipinas ay nakasalalay sa iyo, sa inyo, sa atin. ang pag batikos o puna sa kamalian ng bawat indibidwal pinuno man o masa ay may kakayahan tayo. ang paghatid ng kaalaman sa mga bagay bagay ay kaya nating maipaabot sa kapwa nating mga pilipino.

        sa aking munting kakayahan, napaabot ko ang ilang mga katiwalian sa ating pamahalaan aking nasaksihan noong ako ay naninilbihan pa sa pamahalaan at hanggang ngayon, ang mga pagpuna sa pamahalaan at mga anomalya at katiwaliang aking nasasaksihan ay deretso kong ipinapaabot sa tanggapan ng pangulo sa pagliham sa “Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines” at kung saan ay umaasa akong ako’y mapapakinggan. kung hindi man, taas noo kong ipapangalandakan kanino man na ako’y tumutulong sa pagsulong ng bayan.

        bawat isa sa atin ay may kakayahan mabago ang buhay sa ating bayan, wag na nating hintayin kung sino ang magsisimula, wag na nating hintayin kung kailan sisimulan.

        1. @aljad

          You get my point. It is very obvious that you can comprehend English even though you choose to use Tagalog. Which is not something that we can say about most Filipinos. Most Filipinos remain ignorant because they cannot understand English.

          Having said all that, I still don’t understand why you are against prioritizing the use of English when you know the advantage of doing so. In Tagalog, they have this expression “Paikot-ikot lang tayo”.

      6. ang dahilan ng sakit ng ating lipunan ay hindi ang pagmamahal at pag papayaman ng sariling wika. tukuyin ang pinagmumulan ng sakit at yong ang pag-isipan at paglaanan ng tamang lunas.

        ang pagiging hindi maalam ng salitang engles ay hindi tatak ng isang ignorante at hindi lahat ng bihasa sa salitang ingles ay intelehente.

    2. @duanearmix007
      There was a previous article by benign0 on this but I don’t know if it’s here. Anyway basic reason he gave why more advanced countries like China, Japan, France, Germany, England, Russia, the United States, etc. are fine with keeping their languages is simply because literature, philosophy, and science grew up alongside their people. They had to express these concepts somehow so their language developed and evolved to express these concepts.

      Not all languages are equal. Behind every language is a different culture with a different history.

      1. Yes, I’ve been trying to explain this concept by highlighting that *the language reflects its native speakers*. And that is because they evolved in parallel with the cultural development of its speakers. I think you captured the essence of this point pretty well above.

  22. ang galing interesting thread!!!

    gusto kong bumanat hehe… sabi mo benign0 na ang Tagalog ay representasyon sa kultura, pamumuhay, behavior, etc. ng mga Pilipino na ito’y hindi umuukol o nag si-sync sa pagusbong ng modernisasyon ipinamamalas ng sangkatauhan ngayon. Maaring may tama ka; baka nga hindi kaya ng ating wika sa ngayon na i-translate ang mga terminong “efficiency”, “computer”, “database”, “source code”, “programming”. Pero nais ko ring ipabatid na ang wika ay BUHAY! BUHAY! BUHAY! kaya nitong mag “upgrade” kung gugustuhin, lalo na tayong mga Pilipino at walang established na formula dito kasi nga DYNAMIC eto. Teka teka una sa lahat inimbento lang rin naman nating mga tao ang wika di ba? at wala namang divine intervention na nangyari sa pagestablish nito katulad nag pagkakaroon ng babae at lalake sa mundong ito :D. At di mo rin pwedeng sabihin na sumasalamin ito sa pagiging mahina natin, dahil naging once asian tiger ng Asia ang Pilipinas ng hindi na tatranslate iyon.

    Ngayon punta tayo dun sa gusto mong ipabatid na gawin nating English ang primary language natin dahil ito ang susi sa pagunlad nating mga Pilipino…

    Putsa naman! Napaka narrow minded ng ideya mo tol, praktikal ba ‘toh???

    Una sa lahat mga Pilipino tayo at Tagalog ang pangunahing medium para sa pakikipagusap…

    At pangalawa
    Naisip mo ba na ang IDEYA N’YONG ITO ay kumukunsinte sa pagiging DEPENDENT natin sa IBA… Hindi naman kaila sa atin na ang riyalidad ay NAKIKIANGKAS lang tayo sa ibang mga bansa.

    OO praktikal na matuto ka ng Ingles para makapasok ka sa Call Center, makapag apply sa mga foreign companies, mag abroad para sa mas malaking kita…
    pero itong kaisipan na ito is the very reason bakit mistulan tayong mga TUTA, tayong mga Pilipino.

    Hindi tayo naniniwala sa ating mga sarili, sa ating kultura, sa ating identity, sa lahat ng may kaugnayan sa pagiging Pilipino. Admit it… pag sinabi nating Pilipino may gawa ‘low class’, pag Pilipino namahala ‘kurakot’ at pagnagsalita ka ng Tagalog BOBO KA (lalo na pag di ka marunong mag Ingles). At anong nagiging resulta? Nagkakanya kanya tayo, lumulutang yung mga talangka, naghihilahan para sa kapangyarihan kahit saan evident yan… at Bakit? Dahil walang sense ng pakikipagkapwa ang society natin, dahil absent ang Nasyonalismo… “Paki ko naman sa taong ito, pamilya ko ba ‘toh”? Nawala na ung pagmamahal natin sa Pilipinas… gaya ng kung panu ito minahal ni Jose, ni Andres at ng iba pang magigiting.

    Hindi ako kumokontra sa pagsasalita ng Ingles, ngunit hindi ako umaayon na ang Ingles ay susi natin upang maging isang matagumpay na bansa…

    Para sa akin ang dapat maging priyoridad ay ireconstruct natin ung mga mindset natin as a whole nation, imbes na sumamba sa mga banyaga ay itayo natin at lagyan ng emphasis ang Nasyonalismo. Mahalin natin ang ating kulutura kung anong mali ay itapon kung anong tama iyon ang idevelop. Internal dapat ang development dahil kung External ang investment natin baka habang buhay tayong sumabay sa agos ng kung sino sino lang. Diyos ko po! sa dami ng natural resources at matatalinong taong katulad ninyo ay kayang kaya nating itayo itong Pilipinas. Kailangan natin tumayo sa sarili natin, ingangat kung anong meron tayo at huwag maging suckers sa mga banyaga.

    kaya naman natin maging independent at progressive country, tiwala lang yan at NATIONAL WILL…

    eh ano kung SA NGAYON hindi maintranslate sa Tagalog ang efficiency, pag natranslate ba natin iyon matalino na rin tayo???

    1. @Dahon

      Una sa lahat mga Pilipino tayo at Tagalog ang pangunahing medium para sa pakikipagusap…

      You are WRONG. Like I said in my recent article:

      “What is the Filipino people’s native tongue? It seems that most Filipinos are not aware that Tagalog is not the only language in the Philippines. Not everyone in the Philippines is happy to be forced to learn a language that offers no return on investment to them nor a sense of true belonging.”

      And the facts:

      “Just a little over a year ago, PhilStar.com, the same publication where Esposo publishes his articles reported that, “Three quarters of the country’s employers turn down job applicants with poor English, according to one of the country’s leading job search sites”. Furthermore, according to an industry expert JobStreet General Manager Grace Colet, “studies showed 75 percent of employers had turned down jobseekers with a poor command of English, and 97 percent believed those with good English were also more productive”.

      Here’s an eye-opening excerpt from the article:

      “It is important that a jobseeker has command of the English language,” Colet said.

      Employers were alarmed by the increasing popularity of the “jejemon” culture in the country, a social phenomenon where liberties are taken with basic grammar and spelling to the point of incoherence, she said.

      “This new trend which started with text messages and social media sites is seen to encourage erroneous use of language, which can have dire implications on one’s job prospects.”

      Obviously, building a workforce universally and equally well-versed in the English language, the preferred language of commerce, would genuinely level the playing field in our society. Just imagine if a kid who studied at a local public school is able to talk straight English just like a kid who studied at the Ateneo. The result of that is, the kid who went to public school will have an improved chance at being hired by a high-paying multinational company later on. It is simple economics that some Filipinos fail to appreciate because they have adopted a very narrow-minded view of what a sense of nationalism is all about.”

      Please read more: The truth about Tagalog

      1. Ate maaring OO may tama ka,

        OO nga naman panu ako makakahanap ng trabaho kung di ako marunong mag ingles o hindi ako ganun kagaling mag ingles,

        nakakatawa na kailangan ko pa talagang magsalita ng banyaga upang umunlad…

        sige sige nakuha ko na advantage un para sa atin… ngunit isipin mo ito saang sektor ba nagiging requirement ang pagsasalita ng Ingles… Call Center? dun sa mga Manegerial positions sa mga Outsourcing Company dito sa Pinas?.. etc -Well sa tingin ko eto ung mga sektor na pinamamahalaan ng mga banyaga, “External”; pero pero pero…
        hindi bat nagiging indikasyon ito ng pagiging dependent natin sa iba? Na nagiging priority natin idebelop ang pag outsource ng mga skilled workers sa labas ng bansa? …Yung totoo? gusto mong mag aral na lang ng Ingles ang mga Pilipino para prepared sila na magpakayaman sa isang banyagang kumpanya? sa ibang bansa? -eh kasi silang mga banyaga lang naman talaga ang makikinabang dun eh, right? Low labor cost at swerte pang magaling mag english si Juan, habang tayo ay forever na lang nakasabit kay Uncle Joe.

        You see there are so many areas in our country that needs development in order to reconstruct a concrete and progressive country. Those sectors which require English as their primary communication tool doesn’t even represent the major keys in sustaining a strong economic state. What we need are strong foundations. Ranging from our major industries i.e. agriculture, fishery, electronics, industrial goods, etc. (I don’t really see how this whole English as the core success really plays as a vital role here).

        Di ba hindi lang English ang komersyo, kailangan mo ng de kalidad na mga produkto para mabenta sa merkado -siguro nga kung magbebenta ka na go English tau-, pero saan ka ngayon kukuha ng pera kung wala ka ng produktong mabebenta, kung wala na ang yaman ng bansa, kung lahat eh nakatenga na lang…

        Panu ba naman ung gobyerno pinabayaan ang development dun sa mga industrial areas na nasabi ko kanina which is so evident ngayon (at noon)… and guess what kung anong ginawa natin? Nag invest na lang tayo ng nag invest sa foreign goods hanggang sa napabayaan na ang internal system sa atin… Kaya ngayon ang nangyayari mag aaral ako ng English para pag graduate ko mangingibang bansa ako at doon magpapakayaman, o kaya call center na lang, ay basta kailangan kong matuto mag English para makakilala ako ng papang G.I. Joe 😛

        … Pero ano na lang dadatnan natin sa sariling atin kung ganito ang pagiisip natin? Kung mas pipiliin pang ipagsawalang bahala ng ibang Pilipino ang pag katuto ng Tagalog, para mas maging matatas mag Ingles ng sa gayon maging globally competitive ang Pinoy. Yun lang ba talaga ang dahilan? Wala ng iba? Kaya naman natin kahit hindi tayo maging O.A. sa pag IIngles eh… oo may advantage pero sinong sektor ba talaga ung mga nangangailangan?

        As in yun lang ba talaga? Some of you are willing to abandon your own language and just treat it as your “pang kalyeng salita”… Wiw, ang babaw…

        saan na lang kaya kayo kukuha ng pagkakakilanlan??? Kay Uncle Joe?

        Pag isipan nyo ulit please tawagin nyo na akong bobo o kahit ano pero please lang buksan niyo ang mga mata niyo, tignan ninyo inyong paligid pati sarili nyo (reality check plus critical thinking).

        May lumlalang cancer sa lipunan na kailangan nating mapugsa.

        1. @dahon

          There is a reason why some languages become obsolete like Latin, for example. One of the reasons is that it becomes useless or irrelevant over time. People who insists on using a language that is obviously becoming irrelevant is in danger of becoming obsolete as well. Ingat ka 😉

        2. agree ako kay dahon. ‘Di ko man nasundan issue na ‘to kasi dinudugo na ilong ko kababasa ng mga comments…haha..lahat naman may mga points…pero ‘tong nga si “ate” ‘di naman tiningnan point ni dahon. Para sakin, kung naging independent lang tayo siguro uunlad tayo na di nakakapit sa iba, sa dami ng natural resources natin na ngayon nga ang ilan ay inaangkin na ng mga dayuhan. Kaso nga lang ang problema dahil sa mga namumuno satin o namumuno sa mga ahensiya na may kinalaman sa likas na yaman ng ating bansa na mga edukado (malamang magagaling sa ENGLISH yang mga yan!) ay siguro siya pa nagpabaya kung pano pakikinabangan.

          Ako, honestly, napaka-slow ko sa ingles, super slow as in! hahaha! pero na-hire pa din ako sa pinagtatrabahohan ko ngayon na di ko nga inaasahan kasi “English speaking zone”, pero siguro tiwala sila sa skills ko na kaya ko i-share sa kanila (“young minds” o “future ng ating bansa”)ang kakayahan ko. So ibig sabihin competent pa rin pala ako kahit ang hina ko sa ingles. AT mataas magpasweldo to ah, so ano ba ibig ko sabihin nito? kahit ako di ko na alam..bahala na kayo kung ano ba nasa isip ko, nakalimutan ko na eh! hahaha!

          Basta sa akin lang eh, kaya naman sana natin tumayo sa sarili natin kahit di tayo kagalingan sa wikang banyaga. Bawat isa sa atin may taglay na kakayahan na ang iba ay wala nito at lalo na likas na yaman. Sad nga lang na napapakinabangan ng mga banyaga. Kung sa sariling bansa lang sana nagagamit, kaya din nating makipagsabayan saka nila kahit papano… 🙂

  23. I agree with this article wholeheartedly. And I’m generalizing, but Filipinos are too passive to even care that the conceptual range provided to us by the language is slim. This is why I get irked when relatives tell me to remember how to speak Tagalog “having a second language is beneficial in the job market” What’s ironic though is that although I try to speak Tagalog for the sake of translating someone’s dialogue, the language lacks the proper semantics to properly explain concepts.

    But then again, it’s culture. I’m somewhat biased because I love diversity; the language reflects the simple lifestyle of Filipinos although it’s getting tougher to live simpler what with a world in transition. You can’t live in the past forever.

  24. Odd that Tagalists would insist on Tagalog being “numbah one” when they won’t even care to learn other Philippine languages, and then dare to call us Filipinos “unpatriotic” for picking English and succeeding in the world because of it.

    I am succesful DESPITE knowing Tagalog, and as a matter of fact my expat friends find Igorot culture more interesting because it isn’t as phoney-cosmopolitan as those who point to Manila as a center of Philippine culture, with Tagalog as its base.

  25. So, speaking English doesn’t actually make you elitist, as opposed to what I once thought. It’s just that our hypocrite oligarchs give it a bad name. They claim that we should patronize Tagalog yet they themselves don’t even patronize it.

    HYPOCRISY: It’s more fun in the Philippines…

  26. Yo, i have no issue about how English should be the language for learning or whatever, i have an issue with how he’s an asshole.

    See: “cute” quip about the jeep, and, basically everything else.
    For the record, this guy’s my batchmate. #humblebrag #hadtosneakinthatimfromateneo

  27. There’s nothing erudite on Mr. Soriano’s article. It was just a highly opinionated piece that lacked intellectual depth. It merely implied to offend the Tagalog-speaking Filipinos while subconsciously boosted his arrogant ego. That immature author apparently had no expertise in linguistics. He never attempted to discuss the elements of grammar, morphology, syntax and phonology of both languages that his superficial comparison of English and Filipino fell short of any linguistic merit. No where in his article he had proven that elite-thinking English-speakers in the Philippines are the only “learned” people. And the piece neither verified that people with fake American-accent have the exclusive franchise on “privilege”. So was there any scholastic value in his article? NOTHING.

    Many Filipinos have proven that proficiency in English is NOT the ultimate key to career opportunity. The multi-awarded Broadway Superstar, Lea Salonga, sings her repertoire of songs in English and even speaks fluent English but that was not the reason for her Miss Saigon shows to become a critical and commercial success. What made her famous and successful was her exceptional TALENT. The Filipino celebrity, Melanie Marquez, earned a lot of flak for her English bloopers from fellow Filipinos yet she silenced her detractors and made us all proud when she won the prestigious Miss International. The 8-division world boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao, was just a highschool drop-out and talks Carabao-English (no offense to Pacman) and yet he has become the world’s number one boxer and the richest congressman in this country. Undoubtedly, our Pambansang Kamao showed to the world that he could knock out any boxer with either American or British accent anytime. And these are just three Filipinos whose phenomenal SUCCESS can only be a dream for pretentious English-language fanatics.

  28. Hi,

    A good insightful article. Several years ago, the malaysian govt also had the same problem when they wanted to phase out english as a medium of instruction for science and maths. Academicians argued that there were simply no words in the malay language for some scientific and mathematical concepts. It was argued that in the end, the malay language will just end up being mutilated (as one has to copy the english language for some terms and concept)…. a “rojak” (mixture) of english and malay.*sigh* blind patriotism.

  29. English and Filipino (not Tagalog) are official languages in the Philippines. Both are essential and practical in the fields of communication, education, literature and business. Neither of the two is better or worse. Filipinos can choose the local or foreign language they think is appropriate. However, there’s no need to exalt one language and degrade the other. In linguistic perspective, all languages have the same level of significance. Only a prejudiced or person with colonial mentality will proclaim that English is “superior”. There may have existed a superior-thinking person like Hitler who annihilated millions of people in World War 2 whom he presumed to be inferior. But superior language? It’s non-existent.

    Moreover, the ability to acquire and use language is an innate, biologically based potential of modern human beings. With trifling requisite for explicit conscious instruction, all humans achieve competence in whatever language he utilizes. So for modern-day Filipinos, it’s not English vs Tagalog. It should be English AND Filipino.

  30. the only problem with james soriano is his bitchy way of imposing us that the english language is only for the elites.. and that the filipino language is for the low-life people.. i may not argue with his point that our language is not as efficient as the universal language.. but please, respeto lang.. pinoy din naman siya..

  31. Same thing was said about Russian before 1917. Tha’ts why that country’s intelligentsia used Englsh or French. Lenin-s disciples–their crimes notwithstanding disproved this view. Will we have to wait also for Joma Sison or the Tiamzon to disprove the conventional wisdom about Tagalog.

  32. Very interesting thread, indeed!

    I figure most, if not all of the commenters here, are Filipinos like myself. It seems certain we were all a product of an educational system that has English as a medium of instruction, as all were and still are, I would suppose.

    At one point, government repeatedly drumbeated the country’s high literacy rate and common ability for English, allegedly the highest in the world outside of the native speakers of English.

    And while being precisely grammatical, proficient, and numerical in English may not be the issue here (yet), it’s certain that a great majority of Filipinos can do English better when compared to the equal number of economic giants from Japan, South Korea, and China. Comparatively, most Filipinos are multilingual who can do their mother tongues, English and Pilipino.

    Therefore, what seems to be dysfunctional in a Filipino psyche that makes him what he is now? True, English incompetence may be one of the reasons. But that may not be the singular end-all, cure-all elixir to what ails the collective Filipino society when it can even surpass the abilities of other mightier economies to conversational English, albeit ungrammatical.

    Using a language, like English, as a scalpel to incisively look into a nation’s psyche is a correct approach. It should be able to tell us through what language our collective society frames its mind. And whether it’s through English, Pilipino, any other language or a combination thereof, the probe should lead us to understand the reasons. In the end, the analysis may not have to result into despise of a language but the acceptance of the fact that something just doesn’t seem to fit.

    I recall the blog of Benigno on the equivalent Pilipino for efficient. There is none, perhaps, as there might be nothing too for hundreds of other more. But that may not have to be the basis of Pilipino’s inefficiency or any other’s language because there should be no inefficient language, at all, for lacking counterpart s in its vocabulary.

    Consider: Historians theorize that a great number of ancient Africans went to different parts of the world, including the Philippines. As nomads, they could have only wandered as long as the climate permitted. In the Philippines, they could have benefitted from the bountiful resources that the resulting culture and language could have been that of a very contented society. They may not have to toil that could have required them to be imaginative. Their language could have been their expression of the simplest realities abundantly and constantly present around them. They could have failed to assign words to things, ideas, and emotions that were not as close to the realities around them. Contentment, bliss and submission could have been the pervading dogma. Indifference and deference to the law of nature must have been the norm.

    What could have been the predominant circumstances then in the other temperate zones of the world, the source of the supposed “superior” languages? It’s bad to speculate and theorize. But the resulting culture and language, which may have to include barbarism that could not have an exact equivalent in Pilipino, are windows to the pervading beliefs, aspirations and imaginations at that time.

    To juxtapose a language with another language is like comparing apples with oranges. One neither is correct nor wrong; superior nor inferior. And then we will ask ourselves: Is there virtue in being indifferent and submissive in the name, perhaps, of peaceful co-existence? Or is there more virtue in being imaginative, creative, critical, and efficient, all in the name perhaps, of progress?

    And if we will decode where progress, which is a result of the Industrial Revolution espoused by the superior societies, has led humanity into, we would have to ask ourselves where and how the English language would fit into the grim reality of a great climate change that will inevitably annihilate many species, including humans.

    Then some of us may have to become nomads again.

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