Why English Proficiency is Important to Filipinos



Why English Proficiency is Important to Filipinos

In the Philippines, it’s common to hear the word “Nosebleed” said after a sentence is spoken in straight English. This is normally said because a person finds the usage of the English language as too highfaluting. Some Filipinos would lament that we shouldn’t use the English vernacular in regular speech because:

1.       Using English is seen as mayabang (being a braggart) [1]

2.       It should be kept as a business language

3.       They find speaking in English as too formal/uncomfortable

4.       You should be affluent if you want to use English

English and the Filipino Talent

The literacy rate of Filipinos is at 94% literate and fluency is at 70%. Ours is one of the largest English-speaking nations in the world. [2] English, under Article XIV section 7 of our constitution, is one of the official languages of our country.

Additionally, the Philippines is seen as the top BPO destination around the globe, mainly because of our citizen’s proficiency in the language. A good portion of our country’s growth is thanks to the boom in the BPO industry. We've surpassed India and other competitors because of this language advantage.  In addition, it has given a lot of our citizens work opportunities; a chance to uplift the social status of their families.

Mostly, this is because of our proficiency in English. This language has brought so much good to our country, how then can we convince our fellow Filipinos to see it as something to be proud of rather than reviled?

The Language is Our Own

Historically, English was enforced upon us by our American occupiers. They brought into our country boatloads of educators so that we could learn their language. They used education and language as a way to control our people.

Even though the language was used to brainwash us, we made the language our own. We formed Taglish, Cebuanolish, Ilocanolish, Kapampanganlish, and more by mixing our own dialects with the language. This has enabled us to communicate better with each other since not everyone speaks in the same dialect. In essence, without English, our nation would not have a neutral language that favors no ethnicity.

Encourage the Media to Present it Differently

Almost always, TV personalities, present in Showtime and Eat Bulaga (Noontime shows in the Philippines) to mention a few, use English as a joke. They use it in an exaggerated manner, which made this common in the everyday use of the language.

Everyday Juans and Marias emulate this when speaking in English. They often reserve the usage of the language only for business or when telling a joke. It may be perceived that they see the language as a joke and those who commonly use it are regarded as such as well.

While convincing mass media to change its usage of the language may be difficult, the next part plays an integral role in convincing those in media to do just that.

Improved Language Education

Learning languages is important because of how interconnected we are today. While there are tools at our disposal, such as Google Translate, language-to-language dictionaries, and guides, as well as gadgets, nothing builds bonds as much as authentic conversations.

This applies to all languages, but more geared towards English. As mentioned earlier, numerous business opportunities opened up in the Philippines because of our strength in the language. If we educate the youth about the importance of language, then the quality of all languages we use, including English, may improve.

English is used every day. Rather than criticizing it, embracing it as our second language ensures that we stay globally competitive. In addition, it has numerous benefits aside from attracting business ventures and working overseas such as:

·         Better conversations with interviewers, colleagues, and other possible stakeholders

·         Further your credibility

·         Allow you to better express your thoughts

·         Develop an image of competency

This is to mention just some of the benefits of English proficiency. Learn more about how to build your career, improve your interview skills, and more through our other resources.

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