I have been fortunate to have English as my lingua franca, something that many non-English people don't have. I mean not all people speak English well and many of them have to get specialized language lessons just to get better at it. In my case, as with millions of Filipinos, speaking English (in different shapes and forms) is already ingrained to our heads due to our five-decade American "mentorship." Let's face it, Filipinos are the little brown Americans (no race pun intended).

Working here in a non-English speaking country where your work relies on your mastery of the language seems to be the perfect place to showcase what I know. I'm still quite surprise by the way people think about us Filipinos. Brain drain has forced the diaspora of the skilled and talented people from the archipelago to all corners of the world for a better life and I hate to admit that I'm one of them. Forced by circumstances to leave my homeland to some place foreign to me. Yet I cherish the opportunity to be able to bring about positive change to places I only dream in my life. Some people here to tend to smile with disbelief on why I speak "perfect" English when I look like any one on the street. Just one of them? One person dared to ask when I started speaking English then I said before I started school. The person only laughed because they learn their basic English only in university. Some who studied abroad still has their distinctive accent. Of course, they have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds that any English speaker do.

Koreans have come in droves to take advantage of our English mastery and the cheap school fees. Many nursing students, who couldn't find jobs, work on call centers to serve callers from North America and Europe. We haven't diversified on our economy because we depend too much on BPO and English-language schools so what if many of these foreign students know English well enough that they don't bother visiting the Philippines anymore? What we will do? Still cashing in our English proficiency?

Wells will always run dry. We can't be dependent on this because sooner or later, other countries would become more competitive than us. As their educational system pick up and our colleges and universities deteriorate because of the massive brain drain with our best teachers going to other countries to each other people to become better than us. Soon, we will lose Uncle Sam's birthright. We may be on the losing end of the stick.

BBC recently reported in this article that the Philippines is the best place to learn English on a budget. I already mentioned the Koreans coming in record numbers, there is a growing trend of Eastern Europeans (particularly Russians) visiting the country to learn the language. On the other hand, more younger Filipinos have irreversibly transformed the local pidgin English (Taglish) into a confusing quasi-language mixed with tech speaks, gay lingo, jejemon, and other obscure deviations of the language. Sometimes, people speak in cryptic words that some people don't even understand.

Is it because we are used to getting more loan words from English rather than developing a vocabulary for our national language? The sad thing is that we don't have local words for even the basic things we see every day, we tend to use Filipinized English words out of convenience. Celebrities often used Taglish and bastardized versions of things we know. Take "explaining" for example, it should be "nagpapaliwanag" but many use "nag-eexplain." The use of superlatives and a Tagalog word from "sobrang saya" to "sobrang happy." We may have a good grasp of English but we slowly but surely killing our own language.

Soon, everyone in the archipelago will have a cacophony of language and a babel of ways of explaining the same thing.

Photo Credits (Pinoyshots.com | BBC.com)

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{picture#https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AgIZYN7u_Hg/VZvLmrA0hpI/AAAAAAAARt8/mscbLJ1All4/profile%2Bpic.jpg} JP Canonigo is a historian, professional blogger and copywriter, online content specialist, copywriter, video game junkie, sports fanatic and jack-of-all trades. {facebook#http://www.facebook.com/istoryadista} {twitter#http://www.twitter.com/jpthehistorian} {google#http://plus.google.com/+JPSakuragi}
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