There's nothing like this in the States!

"This is an English Speaking School."

This is a slogan that I have seen in an elementary school on my way home. As I look all over the place, this slogan definitely caught my attention. "Wow!" was my first impression. It's actually my first time to see a public school that bore this slogan, and to mention that it's in the Philippines, then it's definitely a unique one.


Looking back at my high school days, our school had a program called the "I Speak English" campaign. This campaign encourages students to speak in the language, which is mostly used at almost all international conversations. The campaign held several activities and events that really boosted the students' proficiency in the language, which might help them heaps in the competitive world. (Take the word seriously, "might".) It included endless essays using the language, strict use of grammar when it comes to English conversations, and if my memory is still good, obligatory payment for those who "wrongfully" spoke in Filipino in the English class.

As my sister goes to a private school, she had mentioned about their school's "speak English" campaign too. However, what we had in high school leveled-up in theirs. Strict use of the language in corridors, forcing students to speak in English during classes, urging the students to speak English in their homes, and the notoriously implemented mandatory payment for again, "wrongfully" speaking in Filipino in "English-taught" subjects. Awesome.

The Philippines has just recently been tagged with the "Best in Business English in the world" award. And, I would say, that is quite an achievement for the country, as every school's effort has come to fruition. This achievement will definitely help in the country's businesses and the economy. The BPO industry will certainly grow, more and more East Asians going to the Philippines to learn English, and more investments will certainly go to the country.

English. What a good language.

But that does not end there. We're Filipinos, not Americans, right?

OK, you're definitely asking me now why I write in English in this one.  How ironic.  But inasmuch that I would like to write in my native tongue here, there will still be non-Filipinos here, right? Sooooo back to the speech. LOL

We are Filipinos, and we have Filipino as our language. That's what we are known for. We may have several dialects, but still, when someone speaks in Filipino, most, if not all, will surely understand what you're saying.

Let's look at the international stage. Japan, China, South Korea (woohoo!), Singapore, Macau, and many more. Most citizens here in these countries really never had the formal education in speaking, writing, and listening in English. But who thinks that this lack of knowledge hindered these countries from developing? 

As we can see, these countries are still standing strong, even without the use of the language. They might be going here and there to learn English, but this is not to make them competitive in the outside world, but to make their countries more developed, and stronger in terms of economics. More businesses will be added to what they abundantly have, and to make employees gain more "edge" towards other applicants in their country. But without the language, I think that they will still be strong and self-dependent.

More and more Filipino children nowadays are taught English first before Filipino, and this practice, I think, deprives them of being a Filipino. You can see children in malls, in jeepneys, everywhere, who speaks in English.

"I will suntok (punch) you in the face."

This statement was thrown to me before by a possibly 6 or 7 year-old child. Sounds "English", right? Considering that this child is a Filipino, what he just blurted was 86% English. Yes, he was taught a Filipino word, but is more like an "offensive" one. Parents talking to their children "Beybe, don't tatch dat, it's derte!!", or "Beybe, pless geb me da remowt kontrowl." will be heard almost everywhere. Though this may sound "good" and "classy" to others, these parents speaking in English has become very ordinary that speaking in deep Filipino is more pleasing to the ears.

Wrongly spelled advertisements, wrongly pronounced words, and wrongley thyped harticels. These will definitely make Filipinos (who know English very well) smile, or even laugh. If, and only if, we do not speak in English in a very common way, these people will definitely not be forced to write/speak in English, right? This way, others can give more explained instructions, more understood advertisements, and more comprehensive articles, written in Filipino.

Really, don't get me wrong. I am writing in English for a broader scope of audience.

Now, I'm definitely writing not only for Filipinos, but also for those with a native language besides English. Let's love our languages. These native languages have been the sum of all our ancestors' efforts towards establishing their own identity, their efforts towards establishing what we have now. Andres Bonifacio cannot possibly have united the Katipunan if he spoke in another language.

The country is now taking measures towards "universal coverage" when it comes to health. Is it ready to take "universal coverage" with the Filipino language too? Mother Tongue system in the K-to-12 program is a very good start, and I'm looking forward to its results.

If I will have a child, I will definitely start teaching him/her with my native language. I will teach him/her first in Filipino, and will definitely use it in our everyday conversations. There may be times when it will be required to, but I will use the language most of the time. That's my promise as a Filipino. My family will definitely become a "Filipino" one. English will be, and will always be a second language.

I'm still thinking, if we loved our language as much as East Asians, will we be in par with them, or even better, when it comes to economics? 


And yes, I paid for "wrongfully" speaking Filipino in one of our classes. How could speaking in my language be wrong?

"...hindi ako sanay sa wika ng mga banyaga. Ako'y Pinoy na mayroong sariling wika."

2 comments:

  1. i may disagree with you "just a little bit". nationality is not defined by the language we speak. i think it is defined by the acts we do. if given a choice, do we have to stick with our native tounge and be poor forever or learn a new language so we can have a future job in BPO industries? the fact is, we are not japanese nor koreans. they have their own culture and whether we believe it or not, our own culture is partly a culprit of what we are now. so we need to adapt to survive. we can't blame parents if they are doing this so their kids will have better job options in the future.

    ..and mind you, english is also our native language. we just refuse to believe it because (subconsciously) we don't want to remember that the US invaded/colonized us before.

    permit me to cite an example: when we were kids, we were thought to speak in tagalog strictly even though we are in an ilokano country. but did it prevent us from learning the ilokano language? definitely no. i learned to undertand and speak it outside the house because i need to adapt to my environment. because im partly ilokano too. and i love and embrace it. same with these children. they will learn their filipino language whether they like it or not. and if they refuse to like and use it, then i agree with you that this is the time that we curse them to high heavens.

    just my two cents though. mabuhay! :)

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    Replies
    1. No offense taken, really.

      Actually, you have a point with what you said. Learning other languages can become a strong point when it comes to global competitiveness. However, I am still looking for probability that if we had used our language to build our own industries, our own "economics", would that make a change?

      Well, what I would say with the "parents" point, is that yes, we might tend to know something about our language as we grow up, but there is a parent, once, who said that "Ayoko, ayokong matuto ng Filipino ang anak ko." so, she just kept teaching and talking to her child in English. Sorry for generalizing at some point, but I think that that attitude robs the child with his/her right to learn one. If they will learn it from the outside, why not learn it first from the inside, right? But still, as you said, there will come a time that they will learn the language.

      Thanks for dropping by, idol. Point taken. :D

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