Asia

Dear Filipinos, globalization does not cut your mother tongue

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For some patriotic Filipinos, mastering the English language is a betrayal to the love for one’s country. For them, speaking the English language the way Americans (or British people) do  is patronizing the foreigner’s product. 

On the other side of the coin, some Filipinos support globalization, which for them requires mastering the English language. Moreover, these advocates believe that in order to master the English language, one has to give up his or her mother tongue.

Both of these opposite ideologies are extreme. Acquiring English proficiency does not make a Filipino an imperialist. Neither does acquiring English proficiency require the abandonment of one’s native language.    

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This is not different from culinary arts. Isn’t it fantastic for Filipino chefs to introduce adobo internationally and let the Japanese add wasabi and the Koreans kimchi to it? In order for a Filipino chef to be globally competitive, he has to master international cuisines and put a Filipino touch to it. This means that he does not have to forget how to cook adobo in order to learn how to make an Italian pizza. 

Nevertheless, this should not be misunderstood as mixing the local and the international languages, which in the case of the Filipinos is Taglish. It does not mean that this is a bad language, either, because this is the sort of language the konyo (the aristocrats in the city) are accustomed to. There are also misconceptions among the Filipinos that the English language is only for the rich and for the intellectuals. Thus, if you are neither rich nor smart, you should not speak in English. This is absolutely wrong. Logic and modesty will tell you when it is not proper to speak in English. Why talk to the vendors in the public market in English when you can do it in Filipino or any other common language that you have?

Indeed, Filipinos should master the English language, even to the point of speaking it like a native spear of the language. On the other hand, they should not give up their mother tongue. Jose Rizal, the face of Filipino patriotism, himself spoke more than a dozen languages. There is no need to master all the languages spoken by Jose Rizal. Filipinos should aim for globalization without having to give up their local flavor. In order to be globally competitive, Filipinos need to master the English language without giving up their fluency in their local language.  

Categories: Asia, BLOGS, opinion, Philippines

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