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Apr 30

Last word on the subject

I’ve been feeling burned out lately and migraines are back with a vengeance. So, among other things, brief entry for today and no column, too. My cameo appearance came courtesy of the International Herald Tribune.

With regards to the discussion on English and Filipino, Philippine Commentary elaborates his points. The Bunker Chronicles says media should take a role in propagating English (and this is another debate altogether: to what extent should media be compelled to help in nation-building, and how much of what should be done by media, particularly in terms of content, should be determined by the free market?).

In my opinion, blackshama’s blog has the last word on the subject. I think he points out the real issues at hand, and how the debate can move forward in a productive, and effective, manner.

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  1. jumper

    @bencard, cvj
    it’s not the “everyone” that’s problematic, but “america”. 🙂 everyone wants to go to a better place (how “better” is defined is dependent on the immigrant). it’s not only america that is like that, although that’s the most well-known among Filipinos (cuz of the cultural influence) and mexicans (cuz they share a border). indians go to UK, and the chinese go to, well, everywhere. 🙂

    which makes me wonder: we were a spanish colony for almost 400 years, yet no Filipino ever thinks of moving to Spain. does that mean the americans left a bigger mark on us?

  2. Jeg

    Bencard, awa ng Diyos, hindi pa naman napagtatawanan ang inggles ko nang mapunta ako sa Amerika at Inglatera. Sa isang banda, tama ka. Para makapag-communicate ng maayos, gamitin ang salita nila. Sa Estados Unidos, umorder ako ng fries, sa Inglatera umorder ako ng chips. Ganun din kapag nae-ebs na ako. Where’s the loo? sa isa at Where’s the bathroom naman sa kabila. Pero hindi ko ginagawa ang makibagay para hindi mapagtawanan. Ginagawa ko yun para maunawaan.

    Ganun din naman ang mga kasama naming taga-London kapag napupunta sila dito. Sila ang nag-a-adjust sa inggles natin? Ginagamit na rin nila ang ‘CR’ kapag nae-ebs sila, at imbis na humingi sila ng bum roll, e toilet paper ang hinihingi nila. Yung mga Amerikano naman walang halos dapat ipag-adjust dahil sanay na tayo sa kanila. Pero ang punto ko, walang dapat ikahiya sa inggles natin kahit sila ang kausap.

  3. UPn student

    jumper.. a reason why that American did not care to adjust to your pronunciation of INtestines relates to his perception of relative power. He thought that he did not have to adjust — teritoryo niya, plus you were not his superior.
    Power and authority bends wills and biases. Cvj defers to singaporean stilted english because he’s in singapore. And Americans will adjust in a power-shift, so you’ll witness Americans in their own campus be it Kalamazoo, Michigan or Boston, Massachusetts putting up with the rough accent of China-born Physicists or India-born economists. Whether or not they talk about the boss’s idiosyncratic colloquialisms behind his back is irrelevant, because they will defer to his authority in the public setting.

  4. Jeg

    jumper.. a reason why that American did not care to adjust to your pronunciation of INtestines relates to his perception of relative power.

    Let’s not discount the fact that probably, said American was just stupid. I mean, come on, how can you not understand jumper meant those isaw things in our bellies when he said INtestines, especially when the context of your conversation was, for example, the digestive system? 😀

  5. UPn student

    jumper…. or maybe there was 3 rounds of beer too many. Dumb and drunk… bad combination.

  6. cvj

    UPn Student, in Singapore, that’s not considered ‘stilted’. Language is there to get people to understand each other, so in any living language like English, actual usage within a community takes precedence over any dictionary. Of course, dead languages like Latin is another matter.

  7. anthony scalia

    The petitioners in the Supreme Court case are linguists, educators, and writers. They know what they are talikng about.

    They are not for the discarding of English. They want the regional vernacular as the medium of instruction. English will still be retained, for English subjects.

    I’ll say something which I hope someone will comment on –
    with our obsession with our “edge” in English, it seems that we consider our no. 1 core competency is “We speak English!” Isn’t that embarrassing?!

    If we look at the total outsourcing pie of India, only a small portion comes from contact centers. A majority comes from information technology! Sa atin baligtad, kokonti lang ang galing sa IT. Mahusay din naman tayo sa IT di ba?

    But the economic impact/benefit of the contact center industry cannot be denied. Its just that we have to show the world that the Pinoy knows something else, aside from communicating in English.

  8. UPn student

    Anthony: In regards the “Language Market”, English is not even in the top-3…. the number-1 core competency of the Philippines in regards language is Tagalog.

    Mandarin is Mainland China’s number one core-competency for language. And guess what — they do have a Mandarin contact/call-center industry, based in Beijing and Dalian, among others — for the simple reason that there is available business-revenue for this industry.
    ..
    If SouthKorea-1980’s had concentrated on its 1980-core competency (rice), then South Korea today will not have Hyundai or the LCD and plasma-panel manufacturing, it targetted to grow into a core-competency of The West.
    ..
    So a relevant question now is a relevant question from the Marcos years — Quo Vadis?

  9. UPn student

    What South Korea did, and did well, was that it targetted a core competency of The West.

  10. cvj

    UPn Student, and all the while, the South Koreans were able to build their competencies in LCD and plasma screens while sticking to their very own Hangul.

  11. jumper

    @jeg
    yes, normally you wouldn’t discount the probability that the american i was speaking to was dumb. but i know her personally, and i can attest that she’s not dumb.

    and you know what? i was actually referring to intestines back then as isaw and not as the digestive system. 🙂 that might have contributed to her confusion.

    @upn student
    power dynamics? could be. but as i’ve mentioned, i’m all for practicality and expediency. whether or not it is caused by power dynamics, i really have no interest getting into that. 🙂

  12. jumper

    “UPn Student, and all the while, the South Koreans were able to build their competencies in LCD and plasma screens while sticking to their very own Hangul.”

    …and learning english along the way. 🙂

  13. UPn student

    jumper… so did the conversation stop with INtestines, or did you explain why many Filipinos like vinegar or sweet/sour sauce with their adidas?

  14. jumper

    @upn student
    the conversation veered towards a direction where it wasn’t suitable for anyone to get too specific about any particular nationality’s food preferences.

  15. cvj

    …and learning english along the way. – jumper

    …which goes to show what should be the priority competencies to work on.

  16. jumper

    @cvj
    “…which goes to show what should be the priority competencies to work on.”

    …and the importance of english to maximize those competencies in the international market. 😀

  17. anthony scalia

    UPn student:

    my point in saying that is this – the guardians of Philippine English seem to have the notion that our country’s no. 1 core competency is speaking English (instead of excellence in mathematics, science, engineering, biotech, software, etc).

    Which led Dr. Isagani Cruz, one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court, to observe that the underlying reason for this return to English as medium of instruction is to make telephone operators out of our graduates.

    I was not referring to a fact, I was referring to a perception by the defenders of English for Pinoys that our “core competency” – what makes the Filipino worker stand out in the global workforce – is he/she speaks English!

    Deficiency in English is easier to remedy, than deficiency in math, science, etc.

  18. anthony scalia

    UPn student:

    as for the South Koreans concentrating on LCD development instead of rice – believe it or not, South Korea focused on that “core competency” of rice production – they are now self-sufficient in rice! Though having less than 50 million population certainly helped.

    in addition, the South Korenas have shown they have more than one “core competency” – aside from rice production, they have their own technology.

    rather than impress Americans with English, the South Koreans opted to wow them with their technology. their English improvement can follow later.

    the South Koreans realized that they don’t need a call center quality English skills to learn and appropriate technology written in English

    Pinoys have placed so much premium on English speaking.

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