Thursday, August 14, 2008

English, Please!

I felt a little superior when I was working in Taiwan. I mean, it’s amazingly sad to realize that even the President of the company can’t speak English. My Taiwanese friend doesn’t even know what “America” is! It’s more amusing to read all the wrong spelling or grammatically incorrect signs on their Billboards. Or a good friend who's been able to speak English way better than me but can't read at all, amazing, eh? I never really learned their language (Mandarin) that much. I don’t feel like there’s a need for me since most of my friends can’t speak English and they’re so eager to learn. I believe they did learn a little from me or us (Filipino friends). At least, the basic words and that’s good enough for me.

In the Philippines, you have to be grammatically good in English and pronounce the words correctly; otherwise, you will be teased or put down - at least on Filipino standards. I just don’t know why when English is not really our main language (more so on our area in Mindanao) where English is the third language. I remembered we were being punished to pay pesos every time we speak our dialect in school. But no matter how much the teachers wanted to implement the rules still it’s quiet hard for the students since we all do speak the dialect everywhere. Besides, most of us are discouraged to speak English since we are but conscious of our pronunciation and grammar. We don’t have much resource like English TV shows or movies to watch. It has always been awkward to communicate with a foreigner. How much more to older generations whose medium of instruction was Spanish? Their accent is so different. I remembered being embarrassed at my Dad speaking English to a foreigner when he had that cab business (like a tour guide/driver).

I never realized foreigners never cared at all. They understand the language barrier and as long as they can communicate- that’s good enough. That’s one thing I was really grateful about all throughout my stay in Taiwan. I felt the way my cousins’ boyfriend felt when visiting the relatives in the Philippines where everybody doesn’t want to talk because we are all conscious we might not grammatically correct or mispronounced the words! Oh how childish, that was! So, when Jim asked me why it’s only my Dad that’s talking to him during his visit? It’s a lot harder to explain, LOL!

1 Grateful Heart's Words:

Selerines said...

Here too the same problem... No way for it...