A Response to the Criticism: No, Filipinos’ English Is Not Deteriorating!

  • June 27, 2011
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By Chiena Bondoc

There have been issues brought up that Filipinos’ English is now deteriorating. And the reaction: No, it’s not! Definitely, not! Real violent reactions as they may seem. But who can tell? Nobody else but them, the Filipinos, given that they know themselves better. And they know their English better than anybody in this globe.

An article was published in the net which says that Filipinos’ English is little by little deteriorating. In line with this, there has been a reaction from a Filipino. Here’s what he has to say:

I don’t think our English is deteriorating. There is no point of comparing since BPOs came to our country in the 21st century and they were never around earlier. It would have been different if the BPO labor force decreased from a peak in the past decades to where it is now. But the BPO workforce is mounting yearly. If our English truly has deteriorated, the BPO workforce would not be at its level now.

We seem to forget some facts on the Philippines’ status as the 3rd largest English-speaking nation in the world: (1) this does not mean we are innate speakers of the language (2) this merely means that we use English widely (3) the English we learned from school is formal English; the conversational, idiomatic English, the type that is necessary in contact centers, we only get from media.

We are not educated how to get an American accent in school. Why should we? Are we learning English just so we can work as call center agents later? Let us always bear in mind that flawless English is not enough. In working at a call center, having an American accent is very important.

One American CEO of a call center here say that the problem for a low hiring rate in call centers is not a deteriorated English but our tendency to speak Taglish (Tagalog-English).
Don’t you find it strange that only Filipinos are saying that our English has deteriorated?

Americans know that we are not natural speakers of English, in spite of our familiarity with American English and culture.

My wish is that media will discontinue saying that our English has deteriorated. The call centers will still screen applicants and put to the test their English skills anyway.

And that’s what a concern Filipino would have to say. And regarding this matter, surely, many other Filipinos would say the same thing. I myself also believe that Filipinos’ English is not deteriorating and has deteriorated.


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