We beg to differ.

Whatever it was said by whoever this James Soriano is, if it is the truth about the utter lack of intellectual tools Tagalog provides its speakers, then no apologies are needed to be given to those who take offense from these words.

A Manila Bulletin column published on August 24 titled “Language, learning, identity, privilege” has gone viral online, garnering mixed reactions from netizens, reports GMA News. The column, written by James Soriano, discusses what he believes are problems with the Filipino language.

Soriano, who was taught to use English at a young age, said that learning Filipino stemmed from practicality. “It was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed sundo na.” Though the writer learned to grasp Filipino as the “language of identity,” he maintains that it is not “the language of the learned.” He ended his column by describing that Filipino “is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege.”

I agree with Soriano 100 percent.

Tagalog is a quaint dialect at best. Perhaps we continue to hang on to it because it gives us that familiar warm fuzzy feeling inside. The reality today is quite stark, however. Tagalog does not deliver. The sooner we as a people come to terms with that reality, the sooner we can move on to tackling much bigger challenges.

Some would argue that perhaps rather than make an issue of the medium of instruction used in our education system, there are more pressing needs to upgrade its impoverished physical facilities — classroom shortages, books, etc. Indeed these are all serious problems. But the bottom line is that every new classroom and every new textbook we deploy into the public education system are assets we need to sweat. We need to optimise their ability to support the delivery of high-quality education so that the system turns out productive and employable Filipinos.

The medium of instruction used in the public education system of the Philippines is therefore an important issue. Education is all about (1) connecting people to useful information and (2) giving them the intellectual and cognitive tools to comprehend and evaluate that information. The fact that we continue to invest precious classroom time delivering instruction in Tagalog — a dialect that achieves very little for its speakers — already begs an obvious solution.


Between the Tagalog dialect and the English language, which one returns more for every peso invested in classroom time used in its instruction?

The active ingredient in this critical decision can be encapsulated in the simple fact of the lack of a Tagalog word for a simple concept with far-reaching implications on our ability to progress — efficiency. What does this tell us? Consider, how there are lots of Tagalog words for something very familiar to Filipinos: rice. We have ‘bigas’, ‘kanin’, ‘sinaing’, and ‘palay’, among others. That’s because rice is an important aspect of Filipino culture and society. The number of words in Tagalog devoted to articulating specific aspects, forms, and natures of this staple reflects its important and significant place in Filipinos’ lives.

So what then would one conclude about the glaring absence of a Tagalog word for efficiency? I think the implications of this fact are quite evident. One just needs to experience the Philippines to validate that implication. Tagalog, the dialect that forms the kernel of our so-called “national language” reflects the degree to which its speakers apply themselves intellectually. If it is incomplete as far as its ability to articulate the complex ideas required to prosper in a complex world such as the one we face today, then that incompleteness reflects the scope of our society’s intellectual landscape.

We therefore need to turn to a language that we are already relatively proficient at that is up to the job.

The poverty of the Philippine school system, is but a component of the broader impoverishment that crushes Philippine society overall at all fronts. Therefore, the more fundamental question is: What is at the very root of this pervasive and profound impoverishment of the Filipino? I believe a key factor at play in our ability to compete in today’s environment is our lack of a tradition of and, as a consequence, a lack of an ethic for efficiency; and, perhaps, many of the other concepts we need to grasp at a profound level to get on the right track.


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  • Paul Farol says:

    “So what then would one conclude about the glaring absence of a Tagalog word for efficiency?”

    This is just like holding on to a ticket to a bus that already left man.


  • Jade Navarro says:

    this article said it all. good job! i want to say more but i can’t find the words.

  • Josef says:

    Tagalog is a language, not a dialect. What we should do is make Tagalog a more used language rather than just dismiss it as a “dialect” that has no important role in Filipino society.

    • benign0 says:

      Hmmm.. a “more used” language? To what end, exactly? Sounds like we are just advocating Tagalog for Tagalog’s sake here… 😀

    • BenK says:

      You mean like they tried to do during Marcos’ time? You can’t make a language “more used”. Language evolves with its culture, and what it lacks it borrows from other cultures; all languages do this. It just so happens that, apart from emotional concepts — or apparently, different words to describe rice — Tagalog has to borrow almost everything.

    • HAHAHA says:

      Filipino is the language. Tagalog is a dialect you dummy. Just like Ilonggo dialect, Ilocano dialect, etc.

  • Josef says:

    Language. Not dialect. Stop calling it such.

      • James says:

        Tagalog is not a dialect it’s a language. You better do your research first before you write an article because it is making you sound stupid. The Dialects of Tagalog are Bulacan Tagalog, Batangueno, Laguna Tagalog, Quezon Tagalog, etc. I studied Linguistics and Anthropology so i know what i am talking about. And please don’t add up to the number of filipinos who think lowly of the Filipino Language. Of course it’s not efficient because we have our fair share in making it that way. And YES! James Soriano should apologize to the people who uses the language to earn a living. Yes perhaps it’s the language of the street and that there’s truth to what he said but it doesn’t give him the license to assault. He should be a responsible journalist and if he was smart enough, he should have thought of the implications. Even manila bulletin removed the article, because they realized that what he wrote was plain arrogance. And one more question…are you even filipino? Sucks if you are. Get out of the country!

      • benign0 says:

        Tsk tsk. The only one looking stupid here is the person fixated on knowing whether little moi is Filipino or not.

        So I might ask you a couple of questions first, professor:

        (1) How exactly does my being Filipino or not make the points I make valid or not valid?

        (2) How exactly do you presume to.possess the authority to proclaim who has and has not the right to live in the Philippines?

        Let’s get the above two clarified first before we move on to the other quaint points you make, ok? 😉

    • Ilda says:

      Whether one prefers to call it a dialect or language is not important.

      What’s more important to discuss is whether Tagalog is useful to our progress as a nation or not.

      • James says:

        “What’s more important to discuss is whether Tagalog is useful to our progress as a nation or not”

        A big laugh at you. What a whatnot!

        • Ilda says:

          You obviously lack the skill to explain your views with something longer than your favorite catchphrase.

  • Nwervo says:

    You’re basing your argument on wikipedia? Wow.

  • Dr. Noh says:

    Its not his message or sentiments that are at fault, its his awful writing style. I think he just unleashed another “mideo” on the general public. Just like that eyesore of an art exhibit, his essay just plain stinks, too arrogant, too elitist, and his little twist in the end didnt do the “dramatic turn-around” it was supposed to do.

    If its one thing we learned from all this, Pinoys cant take “tough love”, feeling nila inaapi sila.

    What these “artists” are forgetting is that if they have a point to make, their medium of choice (whether a painting, a song, or an essay) should hook the audience, not repel them outright. How can you sell your message if you just alienated your audience?

    • Ilda says:

      Is he really a regular contributor to that publication? Thank the gods for the bloggers. 😉

      Here’s the thing: GRP bloggers have been writing about this issue underground for quite a while now. The only reason it is gaining more attention now is because 1) The article was published by a major publication 2) As you said, there is so much to be said about the author’s style.

      But I am glad that more people are talking about it. I just wish some of the Netizens quit the personal attacks.

      • Dr. Noh says:

        yes, reading the blogosphere comments flying left and right are even more blood-curdling than the original source material

        but sad to say the Soriano didnt even make an effort to defend or explain his work.


        even Mideo came out and did interviews to air his personal interpretation of his work

        Benign0 may claim that Soriano doesnt have anything to be sorry about but he’s certainly not earning my respect by withdrawing so quickly after the shit hit the fan

  • Hyden Toro says:

    Lanuages are just tools of communications; to transfer your thoughts, to people. I write in English, Tagalog, and sometimes mixed, Taglish…
    However, in my work in the Technical Field…I cannot think: how Pilipino can fit in my work…highly techical words and phrases; I cannot find a way to express them in Pilipino…use whatever language helps you in performing your job well…don’t mind other people. You have to earn your living. And these people promoting Pilipino, can never help you…

  • James says:

    There are some truth but weak arguments.

  • Malaya says:

    Mr. Jaime S Soriano can say whatever he wants,thats his opinion and he’s entitled to it. The outrage was more becuase of his elitist views like he only uses it to speak to maids and drivers or relatives in the province.
    The only reason that English language in the first place was becuase we were under the American Occupation before WWII and after WWII. Werent back then we spoke in Kastil, manadatory in all classes (that was back then the languaged of the learned during the inquisition) and during the Japanese occupation, speaking Japanese was also placed in our school system ( later eradicated after the war was won). What about China, Japan and other non English speaking countries that are sucessfull yet only use Enlish as “that elective” class in Language. Thier subjects are taught in thier native tongue.
    English is a communication medium and an international business and political medium. Its good to master it to further enhance your knowledge but not a tool to prove your self worth as a human being, or being a Filipino ( or any nationality that you are other than US Citizenship)
    Im not outraged becuase he like to speak English and prefers it, I am irked becuase he generalized everyone who speaks it as being unlearned. (pity becuase he promotes himself a journalist ) and yes the whole elitist thing too.

  • it's the entire fault of Imperial Manila and K.W.F.! says:

    Here in the Philippines, the Tagalists, K.W.F., and Imperial Manila are pushing the extinction of several Philippine indigenous minority languages, and the slow but certain displacement of other Philippine regional languages. All because of Tagalog language-centrism, and Imperial Manila! So, K.W.F. what are you doing about this?

  • brianitus says:

    Hindi elitista ang paggamit ng wikang Ingles. Ito lamang ay nagpapatunay na alam mo gamitin ito. Hindi rin tama na dapat ipagisangtabi na lamang ang wikang Tagalog. Kaya nga patuloy ang pagtuturo nito sa paaralan.

    Hindi rin naman sinabi ni Ginoong benign0 na wag na tayo magsalita ng Tagalog. Tingin ko ay hindi naman mamamatay ang wikang Tagalog kung tayo ay nag-aral na gamit ang wikang Ingles.

    Hindi kaya’t sayang lang ang pagtatalo sa wikang dapat gamitin sa paaralan? Dati’y tinanong ako ng aking guro sa pamantasan kung ano ang aking mas gusto na wika sa aking pag-aaral, Tagalog or English?

    Ano ang sinagot ko?

    English, of course. Marunong naman ako mag-Tagalog eh. My Tagalog isn’t Balagtas, but it gets the job done. My English isn’t Shakespeare, but it gets the job done.

    Reality is, as adults, we should all try to learn as many languages possible. I also want to learn Ilonggo, Cebuano, Ilocano and Bicolano. I need these languages to do my job more effectively in the Philippines.

    Pardon the bit of Tagalog above. I am part-Tagalong Imperialist. I am also part-tindero, boy, and household help. Kiddin’ 😛

    Pinoys certainly have an addiction to anger. All that insecurity…hays. Umayos kayo!

    • Joe America says:

      Navajo is the former national language of my home town.

      Things come, things go. It’s all Greek to me.

      I don’t care what you call beer, cerbeza or suds, it tastes good if it is San Miguel and bad if it was made in Viet Nam.

  • avid says:

    Hello… Do take time to watch this Ted Talk on the importance of local language

  • G. Alfonso says:

    Puro smarte ang mga Pinoy pinag- aawayan mga walang sinabing bagay. pag awayan ninyo kung paano ninyo mapapaunlad ang bansa ninyo. You should all be ashamed being a Filipino. You as a nation has the most corrupt politicians, society, and forever a basket case in Asia. The Filipino Overseas Workers the top dollar earners of the Philippines does not even get any respect or any help from their own government and a good example is the 3 to 4 thousands Filipinos in Syria I read and article in one of the Philippine newspaper here in the U.S. that they rather die in Syria because of the current turmoil in that country than go back home and face a bleak future or worst may be starvation if they can’t get a job. The Philippine consular officers met and talk to some of these people and were told that if they want to go home it will be at their own expenses the Philippine government can not help them. Because you know why, if they do it will be less money going into the pockets of these Filipino officials. Now why would you brilliant Filipinos argues about non-sense like English versus Tagalog. Case and point a lot of carribean countries they speaks English its their national language but most of them live in the ghettos they are dirt poor like most Filipinos. English language is not your way to prosperity it is the character of most Filipinos that need to change so that your nation can move forward and be part of the international community of man. Being a Filipino is not a mere coincidence in fact it’s an inseperable accidencece of man. I’m sure non of us asks to be born there but” shit happens” so let’s deal with it.

    • ahehe says:

      Kaya nga binoto ko yung may plano para sa mga ofw pero ala, natalo ni foreign investor piss-offer, ruling elite member Noynoy.

      Ugh, the drama.

    • Jeng says:

      Oh please, don’t single out the Filipino nation as the most corrupt one in Asia. Better look at the countries facing fiscal crises left and right. Don’t tell me they got there by being smarter than the Filipinos. I find it hardly relevant to the topic on hand to discuss about corrupt officials and such when clearly we are talking about the response here of a fellow Filipino who choose to downgrade his own language in public, contemptuously stating that his mother tongue is English. If you would widen your point of view, study history and current affairs a bit more, you would see there are worse situations when it comes to national and international affairs, many on a global scale which have been manufactured by people wielding power in more developed nations. And to think the world has inherited these problems. If you think the Philippines is a basket case and are irked when we simply express our own views (as Mr. Soriano has freely done), then perhaps you need to think twice. We do still have our backbone and many a thing still matters to us and we can be unapologetic in expressing what we truly feel just as some of you do here.

  • brianitus says:

    Hey, Joe!

    So, how’s your Navajo? LOL

    re: Vietnam — must be the water. Mai Mislang hated the wine (dunno if it was Vietnamese).

    Btw, San Mig experts say that the best-tasting brew is in Davao.

  • pinoynusa says:

    The Filipino language embodies the Filipino culture. Although English is a much sophisticated language I doubt that it can represent totally the culture of the Philippines. The Filipino language is in the same Austronesian language from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. So, why are these other languages able to have a translation for ‘efficiency’? Anyways, I doubt if English can be used as a language medium to translate Filipino literature such as ‘Florante at Laura’ by Francisco Baltazar and still capture it’s essence 100%.

  • pinoynusa says:

    It takes skill and vocabulary to speak fluent Filipino. Obviously, we cannot speak Filipino as effective and proficient as Francisco Baltazar.

  • Dr. Noh says:

    wow you’re right! EVEN Google Translate got it wrong, it suggested the following translations for “efficiency”:
    kakayahan sa paglilingkod
    kasanayan sa paglilingkod
    kasanayan o kakayahan sa gawain

    But the Fil translations they provided are closer to ‘proficency’ rather that ‘efficiency’

    • brianitus says:

      Hi, Dr. Hoh!

      Since efficiency is cost per unit output, would “sulit” be close enough?

      • Dr. Noh says:

        good suggestion, i prefer ‘sulit’ over ‘husay’. techinically, it means economical, but something efficient does place importance on the economics of the effort expended. Though the nuances are a bit off when you try to describe someone’s work as ‘sulit’.

        and PS: it’s Dr.Noh, not Hoh, hindi po ako doktor ng mga pokpok :)

      • brianitus says:

        Dr. NOH,

        Sorry about the typo. It must’ve have been the blinky blinking red lights last night. Hmmm, maybe I should change handles to Dr. Hammer.

        Anyway, you’re right. I think sulit comes close, but doesn’t quite hit that nail on the head.

      • OnesimusUnbound says:

        I’ll rather use taglish kasi mas-efficient gamitin! Besides a language tends to absorb words from foreign language. English is one good example.

  • ricelander says:

    What could be the translation for the word “efficiency”?

    E di episiyensi! Problema, we are too much of purists.

    Fact is English borrowed and continues to borrow from other languages without shame. The word “efficiency” itself is from a Latin word “efficientia”.

    Sa Japan, what is “jazz”? e di “jaz”

    • benign0 says:

      Sure. But the point is more around the word not existing on Tagalog *originally* which is a reflection of the limited conceptual range that is *native* to its speakers.

      • ricelander says:

        Uh, the word *originally* also did not exist in old english so it had to borrow from Latin.

        Take this: “pang-ilan ka sa inyong magkakapatid”. Try translating that in English. Yet who is to say the natives of this language has no concept of order and sequence.

        Hear this and see if they are not talking of efficiency: “mas maraming kita kung ganito…, mas mabisa kung ganire…, mas mabilis ang aking style…, mas ok gamitin ang ganitong oaraan…”

      • AsiaWest says:

        Uh, the word *originally* also did not exist in old english so it had to borrow from Latin.

        This doesn’t guarantee that an ancient or “old” english equivalent doesn’t exist prior to the incorporation of Latin into their vernacular. Latin became the “currency” of that period as it was the medium by which their Roman conquerors ran the empire and dominated their subjects.

        Take this: “pang-ilan ka sa inyong magkakapatid”. Try translating that in English. Yet who is to say the natives of this language has no concept of order and sequence.

        Off-the-cuff of my head, this shouldn’t really be all that difficult. I could imagine something like that casually put as “Where amongst the siblings are you by order of birth?” or perhaps something simpler like “Where in the succession of siblings are you?“, and many more variants, all of which would adequately convey the same idea.

        Hear this and see if they are not talking of efficiency: “mas maraming kita kung ganito…, mas mabisa kung ganire…, mas mabilis ang aking style…, mas ok gamitin ang ganitong oaraan…”

        All these only show that there exists a notion of a difference in degree (i.e. that there is a notion of good and better, perhaps also the superlative “best“) as the Spanish borrowed “mas” connotes. The closest to “mabisa” is “effective” in english and not “efficient.” None of these examples convey the concept of efficiency in a precise manner (which makes them inefficient in and of themselves). ‘Efficiency’ there may be hinted at or alluded to but still has to be inferred.

        • benign0 says:

          Brilliant! This, if I may slightly modify your main point, is the general principle that underpins all this: “‘Efficiency’ [in Tagalog] may be hinted at or alluded to but still has to be inferred.” That is the key feature of Tagalog that reflects the character of the people from which the dialect evolved. Efficiency is a fuzzy notion at best, and our lack of a precise articulation of it describes the long road we still need to take culturally to be a people that fully internalises what is needed to be a truly industrial and technological society at the most profound levels of our national psyche.

      • ricelander says:

        Hahaha, this is fun.

        You want a precise Tagalog word for “efficiency.”? Okay, I say episyensi.

        Ako naman. What the precise English word for “pang-ilan”?

        Eto pa, what’s the precise English word for “Sayang!”?

      • BenK says:

        Okay, first of all “episensyi” is pidgin. I could be nice and say it’s a homophone, but really, you’re just making stuff up.

        And no, there is probably no precise English translation for “sayang”. Like I said, Tagalog is very good at expressing emotional concepts. Which is a more useful concept? Efficiency or “Sayang”?

      • AsiaWest says:

        Ako naman. What the precise English word for “pang-ilan”?

        Actually, there is a word in English that we’ve encountered already in grade school, which is…”ordinal“. This carries an even more precise meaning than the compound “pang-ilan.” Although it may be used in casual conversation, the availability of more suitable words in most situations (due to the comparatively wider choice in the richer English lexicon), makes the speaker less dependent on this more general term.

        Eto pa, what’s the precise English word for “Sayang!”?

        A close equivalent may be something like “wasted” (i.e. pitifully or regrettably wasted), “alas” (not often used).

        Actually (to extend even further the point BenK made earlier), Filipino/Tagalog reflects the “emo-centered” sentimentalism of our Pinoy culture. Our expressions tend to be at their best when trying to convey emotional states, which are very subjective. It’s no small wonder that Pinoys are more into communicating “feelings” (as massive appeal to telenovelas/teleseryes seem to reveal) and romantic flights into fantasy or reverie, and idealism, whilst the West with its Greco-Roman intellectual heritage tends to give more importance to reason (e.g. science), objectivity, and pragmatism.

      • AsiaWest says:

        “It’s no small wonder…” = “Small wonder”

  • ici says:

    english…tagalog…filipino…ilokano…use whatever you prefer…but gah, people, whatever you use to speak, please use the language properly. don’t use “idinitine” when the proper term for that is “ikinulong” or “kumite” when the word for that is “lupon”. abias-cbn, gma, etc. are certainly doing a great demolition job on the use of our vernacular. i don’t know if that is due to ignorance or plain laziness.

    sa totoo lang, ang sakit pakinggan sa tenga. sana magsalita na lang sila ng ingles dahil ang ginagawa nila ay masahol pa sa hindi pagmahal sa wika at nakasusulasok pa sa amoy ng malansang isda.

  • article or rant blog says:

    Did you even read James Soriano’s article? Or did you just read the title, saw that it would piss a lot of Filipinos off and decided to give the kid some “Anti-Pinoy” cred?

    In case you didn’t, here’s a summary of what he said:

    “I’m rich, so I speak English and therefore smart. You’re poor, so you speak Tagalog and therefore dumb.”

    None of what he said was new. Everyone knows it’s easier to teach school subjects using English and obviously people already know that most Filipinos speak Tagalog. So what exactly was the “article” for?

    If I were to say “Ang init sa Pilipinas!”, my intention (to whine) would be more relevant than the fact I’m stating. That’s what happens when you state an obvious fact. That’s what pissed people off. It was the intent and not the content of his write-up.

    Btw, if you’re speaking Tagalog and can’t find a word for efficient, try using efficient. It won’t make you look stupid. It would actually be more efficient. :)

    • benign0 says:

      Sounds like you agree with everything I wrote. So it’s all good, mate. 😀

      • article or rant blog says:

        Nope, not really. Actually, not at all.

        You criticize people for wanting to change the method of teaching to Tagalog because of the difficulty of migrating knowledge to an “incomplete” language but as an alternative you’re proposing that a whole population change the language they use. How is that more efficient?

        Unlike you, I put more value on the content than on the medium. The best way to get a message across is always using a medium that both parties are comfortable with.

        If it would be easier for kids to understand their teacher speaking in Tagalog, then use Tagalog. If there are terms that have no Tagalog equivalent then use English. It doesn’t matter as long as the message is sent across.

        • Ilda says:


          If it would be easier for kids to understand their teacher speaking in Tagalog, then use Tagalog. If there are terms that have no Tagalog equivalent then use English. It doesn’t matter as long as the message is sent across.

          Pardon me, but the only reason more Filipinos find it easier to understand Tagalog compared to English is because there is less emphasis in teaching and using English in the first place. And if we have to borrow English words just to explain complicated concepts because there are some words that don’t exist in Tagalog, then we’ve be better off having English as our first language. It would save the government a lot of money on text books and manpower.

      • article or rant blog says:

        No emphasis on teaching English? How many non-English speaking countries that have English as a required subject in public school do you know of?

        The problem with our education system isn’t that kids can’t read books written in English, it’s that they have no books to read! Having an environment that’s primarily English speaking won’t help them with anything other than English class. But I guess that would be enough since they would be automatically be considered “smart” for speaking straight English.

        Btw, if English becomes the national language, how do you plan to enforce that?

        • Ilda says:


          You forget that mainstream media plays a big role in teaching kids nowadays. Most shows imported from abroad are automatically dubbed in Tagalog. I don’t understand why they have to do that. Tagalog is everywhere. It’s not like it is going to die if the shows remain in English. Added to this, most local shows help make Filipinos dumber.

          You said:

          Having an environment that’s primarily English speaking won’t help them with anything other than English class.

          I say:

          That’s just nonsense. It will help level the playing field. Just imagine if the kid who went to the local public school is able to talk straight English as the kid who went to Ateneo. The result of that would be good for the one who went to public school because he will also have a good chance of being hired by multinational companies later on.

          Like what I wrote in my previous article:

          “I just want to state the facts or the reality as it is. The fact, as one of the headlines in the says, is that in the Philippines, “75% of employers reject applicants with poor English.” According to the article, there was a study that “showed 75 percent of employers had turned down jobseekers with a poor command of English, and 97 percent believed those with good English were also more productive.”

          To read more:

          Is President Noynoy’s anti-intellectual attitude turning intellectuals off the country?

      • benign0 says:

        @article_or_rant_blog: You place more emphasis on content than on medium and this makes sense, as you say when both parties are “comfortable” with the medium. I agree. But then the knowledge that proves to be useful to support our aspirations to advance in development is knowledge that lies OUTSIDE the Philippines. This knowledge — technology, modern ways of thinking, and groundbreaking ideas — are all articulated in English. We have known for so long that Filipinos don’t learn much from fellow Filipinos. We rely on foreigners for every form of capital — financial, intellectual, social, and cultural. Guess what: the medium over which this capital is negotiated, acquired, and exchanged is not Tagalog. Those who seek this capital need to be proficient in the language that it is traded in. And that language is English.

        • OnesimusUnbound says:

          I have to agree with you. Thanks to internet, I have access to diverse knowledge raging from computer, world history, economics, etc..

          And these comes in English.

      • article or blog rant says:


        An Atenean would get a better chance at getting a job because he’s from Ateneo. You’re confusing cause and effect here. A graduate of Ateneo likely speaks English well because a) he came from a rich family that’s speaks English or b)he learned to speak that way in Ateneo. Him speaking good English and getting a good education is a symptom of the same sickness. He didn’t get a good education because he spoke good English.

        And please don’t quote articles you wrote to push your argument. That’s like trying to prove God to an atheist using a bible.

      • article or blog rant says:

        @ benigno

        Let me make things clear. I have nothing against learning English. It is an important tool for us to compete globally. What ticks me off is this uniquely Filipino notion that anyone speaking in English is inherently smarter. A good (or bad) idea is a good (or bad) regardless of what language is used to convey it. From experience, I found Filipinos who put too much emphasis on English actually turn out to be the shallowest. Case in point Soriano. Try reading office email threads between foreigners (even Americans) and Filipinos. You’ll find that it’s always the Filipino that writes in perfect English but has the least ideas to put forward.

        If you’re good enough at something, it will show regardless of how good you are at English.

        • benign0 says:

          I agree where you observed that among English speakers where the Filipino among them might express her ideas using superior command over the technicalities of English composition, she is likely to still contribute the least substance. So as you said, using English well does not necessarily compensate for a low quality idea expressed in it.

          But that is precisely the point I make. Separate the issue of the general lack of inherent intellectual substance of Pinoys from the issue of what language they communicate their shallow thoughts. The earlier provides a different context to English’s place in our society – the matter of how much it should be used. The context of the latter is more around how well it us used in instances when it is used.

          The earlier is the bigger issue than the latter — that is, the Philippines is an intellectually bankrupt society and as such will be served well by prioritising the use of English which provides superior intellectual tools to its users. The latter is less of an issue because, as you pointed out, even good English speakers don’t necessarily possess better ideas. But to make good English speakers with stupid ideas speak Tagalog obviously won’t improve their lot. So the question of whether or not English is a good question in the latter is moot.

          They are two different contexts to the issue of English in Pinoy society, and you might want to re-evaluate your causal constructs as they seem to crossover those two contextual domains and result in a further meddling of the “debate”.

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