My students have always kept asking me, “Teacher, why are filipinos good in english?” Indeed, the Filipino people are among the best english speakers in the world. We’ve always done well in the field of Languages. That can explain why many of our provinces here have their own dialects.
We may lack the fluid sophistication of native speakers who can naturally express themselves with refreshing intangibility and a spirit of friskiness. Nonetheless, we can definitely hold our own.
The Philippines had been colonized by Spain for nearly 300 years (compared to the U.S. occupation for a mere 40 years) and yet less than 10% of our population could speak Spanish, considering the fact that in college, we were required to complete 16 units of Spanish until (thank heavens) it was scrapped 15 years ago.
The English language sustains our planet for now. There is no other language in this world that can knock it down from its throne. It sits on the top of the heap without any real competition.
We do almost everything here using english. We watch the foreign news, patronize American books and magazines. We’ve got no problem making copious use of dictionaries and thesauri. As long as we get our message across, we’re gonna do just fine.
And how we love Hollywood films. It doesn’t matter that we struggle a bit to catch up with the actors who talk too rapidly. We always manage to enjoy the whole film. And do you know how crazy we can get about American and British pop music?
I regret the fact that I failed to cut through the jargon and couldn’t combat the Gremlins of grammar when I was still in school. Eighty percent (80%) of our subjects in school are in english. In elementary school, we labored on our english subjects using mediocre Philippine grammar books that left us more confused than enlightened. But we habitually persevere and do our best to study the language real hard. All for the love of English, I believe.
Far too many college graduates who are having a hard time finding a good job end up becoming ESL instructors. If you’re reasonably schooled in the Philippines, there’s no way you can’t teach English to non-native speakers.
It doesn’t matter that we can’t pronounce a word perfectly, though we are probably known to be the most flexible earthlings on this planet. You want american accent? No problem. British accent? Umm.. sure, we’ll try.
Fluency in english is a symbol of good education and affluence in this country. It’s a reflection too of your intellect and how well you’ve done in life. It’s even mandatory for the upper class to sound like American native speakers at all times, even in the comfort of their own homes. If you are really rich, lacking in Tagalog (our national language) is a natural phenomenon. That’s just the way it is here.
But not having english as our second language in this country is unimaginable. More than ever, it is fundamental to our lives, our success and our happiness.
Part 2 of this post can be read at the link below: