01 August, 2008

Love Thy Language

I came across this question in Yahoo Answers yesterday and the question actually made me ponder on how many Filipinos out there think the same.

The question:
I feel bragging speaking in english.?
Im 21 years old and I came here in america last year (2007) from the Philippines. I'm working in a Call center for a consumer electronic company here in Houston. I want to speak English all the time so I can be an Excellent and an advanced english speaker. One way for me to accomplish it is by not thinking and talking in my mother tongue anymore right? I don't want to talk in my language anymore to the extent that I want to forget it (but i will not forget it anyway). But when I speak with my fellow filipinos here in the US and with my family friends in the Philippines, I feel that I'm bragging that I speak to them in English. One of the flaws of my culture is "Oh he is America now and he speaking English and he is bragging about it" "Oh look at that trying hard English Speaker", but if I will continue feeling this way I will never be fluent, because the words in my language keep blocking me to lose my filipino accent, which I'm doing a very good job eliminating gradually

I posted the question verbatim.

Here's my reply which the asker chose as Best Answer just today.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be fluent in speaking the English language but there is something really wrong with your trying to do away with what forms part of your identity. Forget your language? Did you forget what our national hero said? I am sure you can still vividly recall this one:

"Ang taong hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa ang amoy sa malansang isda."
- Gat. Jose Rizal

I won't translate it in English because I want to remind you of that, in our national language that is Filipino, no less. Please do not think that I am being contradictory as I am talking about upholding our national language and yet posting in English. I just do not want to get a violation that is why this reply is in English.

Also, you need not do away with the Filipino language for you to learn the English language. I grew up here in the Philippines and have never been to the US but I am very fluent in both oral and written English.

As an afterthought, you may want to work on your grammar too, no offense meant as learning and mastering a language is not just all about its accent.

As my answer conveys, I have nothing against some Filipinos wanting to master the English language. I just wish that they do so without forgetting that which makes them Filipino.

Click HERE for the link to this question posted in Yahoo Answers.


  1. When living in Germany, I made an effort not to think in English at times, so I could get better at German. In this case I wasn't trying to forget English, I just wanted to learn the other language. Of course, the difference was that I did not consider myself an immigrant, but someone living in a foreign country. So I wasn't giving up another identity. Also, this was a phase I put myself through in order to make a jump towards fluency in the other language.

    I do agree about the importance of language for identity. I know parents who raise their kids in English without their native language mean well, but they're denying their children something important.

  2. Hi. Thank you for visiting my page and posting an insightful comment.

    Yes, there are parents who raise their kids without instilling in them the love for their native language. I have a colleague whose son only speaks English even when he was born and raised here in the Philippines. It's just sad.

    Your case and the case of the asker are different because as you said it, you just made an effort to not think in English but weren't trying to forget it. The asker, meanwhile wants to forget the Filipino language and even speaks to his family and friends back home in English.

    Kudos to you. :)