I hate it when Filipino kids CAN'T speak Filipino!

@vesuvius (1677)
Philippines
May 13, 2011 8:34pm CST
Last March, I've heard from a friend that one of her acquaintances - a teacher from an international school here in the Philippines - that one major problem with the students is that they keep on failing a subject. I found it quite normal but it sounded bad knowing that they keep on failing a subject considering the fact that international schools charge way bigger tuition than fees typical private schools. It sounded worse when my friend told what the subject was. FILIPINO. Apparently, the students CANNOT speak good Tagalog (or Cebuano, as the IS is in Cebu) - they can interpret but they can't express. I almost can't believe how illogical that sounded. A Filipino student failing Filipino???? It's forgiveable that the kid fails his English, even more forgiveable, his Spanish. But his FILIPINO??? How and why? This is a microcosm of what's beginning to be a trend. A lot of parents here in the Philippines tend to force their kids to speak in English because of the belief that making them do so would provide great benefits for the social being of their children. WRONG! SO SO WRONG! Filipino kids are supposed to learn their native language wherever they are in the country. Our diversified clustering however divided us into distinct dialects: Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Maranao and many many more, but being well-versed in at least one of these is a criterion to be a real Filipino. How could you call yourself a Filipino if you can't even manage to communicate well in a street? It's ok if you grew up in another country or in another planet, but growing within your country's sovereign territory without speaking Filipino is an insult to the struggles of our heroes for national identity. I have noticed another annoying thing in this issue. Those kids who are forced to speak English also CANNOT speak proper English. Typically, their "English" is an awkward mix of simple English, very small fragments of Tagalog and an enunciation style of an overaged teeny-bopper. Their facility of the "English" is not even conversationally presentable! I just can't imagine these kids growing with such a method of speaking and seeing this country in half a century populated by old men and women talking like... I don't know a word to describe it either. Please don't get me wrong. I have NOTHING against the English language, otherwise I wouldn't even be posting anything here. What I am so against is what some parents are doing to their children. Some parents condition their kids to believe that local dialects are inferior by what they are doing. REALLY REALLY WRONG! In truth a lot of Filipinos can speak and write English without having to sacrifice their native tongue. Kami nga, nakakapagsalita ng Tagalog, dahil Pilipino kami! [We can speak Tagalog, because we are Filipino!] Ug makasulti sad mi ug Sinebuano, tungod kay kami mga Pilipino nga nagpuyo dinhi sa Sugbu! [And we can speak Cebuano, because we are Filipinos who live here in Cebu!] I just hope this ugly trend stops. It's not good. It's non-sense. It's not acceptable.
4 people like this
21 responses
• Philippines
14 May 11
Hello Vesuvius, Sometimes I wonder, what's the point of learning the language if the attitude of that filipino is no different from a rude american or english person. there's a lot of filipinos out there who knew more than three languages of filipino dialect and yet they discriminate others who can't. for me, it's not their fault, it's either they were never taught by their parents or simply they didn't have the passion or the time to learn it. In my experience once, i felt discriminated when ever they realized i don't know the pangalatong (pangasinan) language. because my mom never taught me but only understand a few languages. there's a book but You can't afford to hate them all because they lack passion into it, it's not their fault. UNited states and other European nations are the most powerful nations in the world. their languages are mostly influencial because of the jobs offered abroad most specially to these countries. In your part, the best way is to teach your child cebuano so that he or she will have the advantage with the locals in the future.. Look at South Korea, they have a strong sense of their language because of their strong support for culture and betterment for themselves and their country. but they lack english, but we got the advantage because we learn english better and they come here and learn it from us. I am sure that Filipinos not knowing the native tongue is just a small percentage. do offer teaching them a little Visaya if by chance they don't know the language. better be productive than hating. And you can't just say it's unacceptable because it's just there. it's up to you to teach them a few words. i am sorry to say, but i don't have the passion to learn other native tongue.
1 person likes this
@jaiho2009 (39019)
• Philippines
14 May 11
dear LK, My little big brother...you know that learning English is easier than learning other dialects,like Ilocano,Visayan ..yes if you don't have the passion. But Tagalog- my dear..it's our very own mother tongue,anywhere in the PHILIPPINES- Tagalog is our universal dialect to communicate with.. Well,i just hope our own native language (TAGALOG) won't diminish like our culture and tradition (sadly disappearing in young genre)
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
In this case I hope I am not giving the impression that I am beginning to hate the kids. LOLs. It is of course the methods of the parents that I am against. You're right that some Filipinos already lack this passion for identity (or should I say, regional identity) because there is indeed discrimination just within our nation (I know very well of that because even though I am 100% Tagalog in blood, I reside here in Cebu for work - real Cebuanos do feel being soaked down into inferiority). However, I think this regionalistic point of view isn't the main point. I am sure your parents taught you Tagalog and that is great even though you can't speak good Pangalatong - at the very least your parents have been aware that there is a need for you to grow knowing at least one dialect that would make you a real Filipino. One that would make you blend well into a local society. With regards to this international advantage thing - well I do agree that has indeed become an advantage that Filipinos can speak English. So this brings me to the thinking that if this advantage is blended with a strong sense of language (which is missing in here) like that of Koreans then it would have been perfect right? If only the parents of the unfortunate kids have realized this then they wouldn't have been forcing their kids to speak their awkward English in the very first place. They should have been teaching them good Filipino (regardless of the dialect, any regional dialect IS Filipino) and send them to school to learn English. They may also speak in English at home but if they have the correct mindset on this issue, they would know that making the Filipino language their number one language would be a RULE. It's true that these ("English" parents) Filipinos are few - at this point - which is good and which means they still can be controlled. But no one knows how this could end up if it's growth is unnoticed. We should be reminded that there is extinction even in languages.
• Philippines
14 May 11
Tagalog for me is a universal combination of local tagalog and spanish. to be honest, learning Ilocano,Visaya and maranao would make me feel even more filipino than ever. i don't know maybe when i have the tiem i will study other complicated filipino languages, specially ilocano.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
15 May 11
Well, I guess it is safe to say that my cousins are not yet going to your description of children who cannot speak Filipino. Like many of the youth and young adults today, I am guilty of having more practice with a foreign language rather than my own. I guess that my first exposure to literature was English and that stuck up to this now. I am also guilty of having a hard time when it comes to my own language, especially in the writing arena. But I will gladly inform you that i can still speak Filipino fluently. I will agree on your ideal picture that a person's native language should at least with the same level with an international language. In that scenario, a person is still able to keep a sense of nationality while still able to compete and interact globally with an international language. However, I don't know how the government choose to implement that or how much progress (or the lack of it) has been made. In your discussion, you point out the parent factor. I guess they are parents who think that English is a superior language due to its use and importance of the language in the global arena. And I think they are missing out the nationality factor. I am with you in wishing that the youth today will at least acknowledge the importance of our mother tongue. If the parents and teachers don't seem to mind this phenomenon, it might backlash on the youth's identity and future.
1 person likes this
@jaiho2009 (39019)
• Philippines
14 May 11
This is really ridiculous. So it means those kids are also speaking/using English language even at home? Well,there is nothing wrong teaching small kids to speak simple English,with the right pronunciation and also intonation and not taglish (Tagalog-English) which usually taught by parents to their kids. Proper teaching must be done or else it would be useless,not because we can speak English well is enough,not all 4 years course graduates made it to call centers. But,what you've written here is very alarming as well,young kids who doesn't know how to speak our own mother tongue !!! what the... Binuang na jud ba (this is insane) have a great weekend
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Binuang jud tuod, jaiho. [insane indeed, jaiho]
• Philippines
14 May 11
I don't think it's totally insane as i see some Filipinos have given contribution to help the younger generation of Filipinos, like in the US to remind them of their history about the Philippines.there are even Filipino streets and stores in california i believed. i have watched a debate that most filipinos in the east coast are only a few that they are mostly influenced to the english language.
@jaiho2009 (39019)
• Philippines
14 May 11
LK, Dear brother..is it not insane that a Filipino cannot speaks his own dialect? Better not call yourself a Pinoy if you can not speak well any of our dialects. It is a good excuse if you cannot speak Tagalog because you are a Cebuano-yet you can speak English and Cebuano well. But...cannot speak any of our dialect and you speak English well,while you are very much living here in our country...what the !!!! I can excuse you (anyone)if that kid was born and raised in the US or any other country..that's a good excuse eh. But those ones who were born and raised here in our country and pretending (okay not pretending) cannot speak our own language...really it's insane! ugh! spare me ...
@Zer0Stats (1316)
• India
14 May 11
Here in India we are going through this same damn situation.English is a colonial language for both countries(India and Phillipines) so it has importance in education.You can travel in India without Hindi(and the Phillipines without Tagalog)and be able to communicated well enough to travel pleasurably but you will never fully understand the culture and the people if you don't speak the local language.Sometimes I feel because of these large number of people who are willing their children to learn English as a first language,native speakers are going to be a minority in their own motherland.
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Yes that is true, It was Britain that influenced India and it was the United States that influenced the Philippines. That's alarming if native speakers become the minority. That's just not right.
@Zer0Stats (1316)
• India
23 May 11
Yes it obviously not right at all.Everyone knows English gives a high-salary jobs to locals from non-English speaking countries but it doesn't mean now we should give less importance to our own mother-tongue and start using English almost everywhere in our own land.It is like an insult to country and it's language and people who do it,I'd say they are nothing but ignorant. Always "love your country and your language",because we are nothing without it.
• Philippines
14 May 11
I think it is the grammar of a language that causes students to fail, whether it be English or Filipino. One doesn’t analyze language in your daily conversation. I did not do well in Filipino myself because I could not understand or fail to memorize the rules. I am a Cebuana but I can converse in fluent Tagalog. But I agree with you in that the English language seems to have become a status symbol such that parents talk English at home and at malls. I flinch whenever I hear mothers talking to their children in Malls in English and in bad English at that. I wonder if these Filipinos who talk in English grasp the implication that in doing so they are actually imbibing a foreign culture. No wonder we are losing our culture. Sigh!
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
We are not just losing the culture. With these people around, we are losing national dignity. As I've said they are becoming an embarrassment - they are insulting the struggles of our heroes for a cheap, superficial social identity. Quite a yucky for me, really.
10 Aug 13
I agree with you that it's the grammar part of the language that is hard to understand. Ever since first grade up until college I always get poor grades in the Filipino subject even though I can speak in Tagalog and Kapampangan fluently (I live in pampanga). My son who is 5 years old, can't properly communicate in the Filipino language. He had a speech delay and only started really talking when he was 4 years old. We tried to talk to him in Tagalog when he was very small, he could understand what we are talking about, but we could barely understand him if he uses Tagalog to talk to us. When we started talking to him in English that's when he was able to communicate to us better. He's the only kid in his kindergarten class who only speaks English. I'm still trying to teach him Tagalog and we're hoping that one day he will be able to speak the language. It's not his fault or anyone else's that he can't speak the language.
@SIMPLYD (80400)
• Philippines
17 May 11
I can understand your hatred for hearing Filipino children speak English even when they do know how to , or are in the midst of Pilipino speaking children . It's ironic, that some children from abroad are trying hard to speak Pilipino, while those true Filipino children who lives here keeps on speaking English. It has already become a status symbol to have children who speaks English.
22 Jul 12
i am a philippine-born filipino american. i do not know tagalog nor any of the other dialects. i find it disappointing that when i visit the philippines i am only greeted with resentment from other filipinos simply because of the fact i don't speak tagalog. they do not care about my other qualities as a human being. they choose to judge me based solely on this fact. i love my country and i love my relatives in the philippines. they are very understanding because they do not judge on such trivial things. i do not know the tagalog language because i wasn't taught it as a kid, nor is it a common language in america. why can't filipinos be together instead of pushing others away.
@Hatley (164629)
• Garden Grove, California
14 May 11
hji vesuivius I read and reread your discussion and tried to findout howo I would feel as an American to learn children in our schools were flunking out on English. I also would be most concerned. It could only be to all Filipino children to know their own language well and also ,know English. There can only be good coming from children who become bilingual' in that they can travel and still understand most languages. I have taken Spanish and French in college but did not really use them so am not really conversant. I feel that with the electronic age bringing us closer together we all need to know more than one language.Hope your schools can help the students to learn their own language.that should really come from a sense of pride in being Filipino or in my case here being an American. good luck God bless
@Hatley (164629)
• Garden Grove, California
14 May 11
sorry left out the word advantage in " It could only be to all Filipino children's advantage tp learn their own language well" sorry too much of a hurry I guess.
• Philippines
14 May 11
I don't really hate a filipino kids who doesn't speak the very own tagalog language..I hated more and feel so irritated with those people who just went to work abroad for a couple or so many years and then when they go back to their homeland filipino they still speak english as if they're not filipino.They're all sick for me, and wishing that they're the only one doing that stupidity.
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Well it's not the kids that I hate too, prinzeshania. It's how they're being cultured by their parents that I dislike.
• Calgary, Alberta
14 May 11
Have you seen those rich kids who cant speak Tagalog while they were born and raised here. i dont know but many rich parents thinks that making their kids speak nothing but English will be a good way to show their status and you know that in our country if you can speak good english with American Accent you will be considered "Intelligent" You can also blame the television, they make the rich characters speak English. That is also a huge factor in to our society and in a way it causes some sort of identity crisis to many of the youth.
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Yeah that's a nice point. Many TV shows - not all, though - do portray English speaking as a social status symbol. Somebody should teach these guys a lesson, right? They should be aware that that is not right. I sometimes envy the Thai, Koreans and the Japanese - they have a better appreciation of their mother tongue. And that fact is so obvious when we see their entertainment media.
1 person likes this
@Metatronik (5911)
• Pasay, Philippines
14 May 11
I totally agree with your post. Though I admit that I failed Filipino not because of the native language aspect but because our teacher made it really hard for us to understand what she is teaching. Even the smarter students can't cope up easily and many students were failed so chances are we have to take summer classes during that time. But I hate it when someone told me that it is only a Filipino then you still failed it? Again ONLY? a Filipino? Sounds pathetic and obviously that how they loathe themselves to be like it. I just don't like the mentality that Filipino is just easy. If you study the subject itself there are things that it is hard to classify. Another thing that I hate here is that they are making the English language as status symbol and to please everybody. As if they could make them so hot and pretty if they are fluent in English. I understand that in business world they have to know English language since sometimes they have international clients. When I was a kid I was forced to speak in English so that I could please my cousins. Good thing about it I am not the one who will please other people as my relatives thought of it because in the first place when I was a kid my mentality was. Why should I speak in English if I am not from America and I am here in the Philippines? Why they can't speak here Tagalog since they are in the Philippines? I think I was 4 years old at that time. Great example here is the girlfriend of my bf's friend that she is considering fluency of English with right for intelligence as part of her defense mechanism of being cheap looking, ugly and the biggest loser among the girls that her bf is dating even before. Since she is a person that you can't be proud of and even her bf is not proud of her because of the looks that she has. She find it inferior to herself if she speaks in Filipino or Tagalog rather than English. She thought that being fluent in English would make her so pretty. I also hate way back school days that other teachers are forcing us to speak in English or else we will be punished like there will be putting the tag at the back that we will learn to speak in English as part of humiliation.
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Well that's unfortunate that you failed it before. I didn't remember pointing out that taking up Filipino is easy. I just thought it inappropriate that they found it much easier to pass the foreign language than our language. That really doesn't make sense to me. You're right. Status symbol it is indeed for them. They think they'll look more superior than those around them who speak native tongue
@chiyosan (30076)
• Philippines
14 May 11
i know someone parents who kept on speaking with their children in english because they thought that would benefit the kids more. they say that speaking in english would put these kids at an advantage and then i would see their kids not understanding a single tagalog, or filipino word even at the age of about 7 or eight and they would have a hard time studying filipino subjects... i don't really know about these parents, but i guess that is what they think it has to be...
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Yes I think they have that belief of giving their kids a some sort of an advantage - a fake one. What they are giving in fact is great shame!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
14 May 11
I understand and agree with you. It's really sad that most Filipinos are worse in Filipino than in English. I'm an English teacher, I'm not that perfect in Filipino but I know it very well. When I had my daughter, my husband and I decided that her first language is Filipino(tagalog) and not English. Now, at four years old, she can make grammatically correct and well structured sentences in Tagalog. She has good comprehension skills. When she was 3 and I knew she already had a good foundation in Filipino, I started teaching her English words and now, some simple English sentences. She can understand English now but she still prefers speaking tagalog. A lot of people (my former boss and some co-workers) criticize me because I'm an English teacher but my own daughter can't speak English. I tell them that she's a Filipino and she should first speak her native tongue very well before learning other languages. I'm confident that my daughter could speak and understand English very well later. I learned English when I was in elementary ... after I was well trained in Tagalog and Ilocano ... and I believe my English is good enough even if I started late.
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Real thumbs up for you purple! That's the right way to go! I hope those illogical parents begin emulating you for your way of thinking. I'm sure your kid will do just fine as you are.
@warriorx (99)
• Philippines
14 May 11
This seems like a strange situation because in other parts of Metro Manila, I see it's the other way around. Because all the kids have to do is to watch ABS-CBN and GMA 7 all day and night and they'll be good in Tagalog. My 4-year-old niece is like this. English is traditionally hard to master because no one communicates in English at home here obviously. I heard even the rich also speak in Tagalog in rich subdivisions. So you really need to be in school to learn English, and higher education is what a lot of Filipinos cannot afford. For me (during the old days), I learned English in school and Tagalog at home. I watched a lot of Hollywood films and so my English writing skills were paired with my Tagalog speaking skills.
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Well that would be good to hear. I hope you've notice that I didn't give a generalization of the situation. I always noted "some" because I know not all are like them. I opened this discussion because I have noticed that their number is increasing which is NOT good. Like you I have been educated at home when it comes to Tagalog and Cebuano, while the school provided me my English needs. That I believe is the ideal setup because I know it worked very well for all of us in our brood of 5. Thanks for your reply!
• Philippines
14 May 11
Excellent point bro. How admirable that you care so much to our mother tongue. As to reasons for the growing incompetence with tagalog, I can see two reasons. First is that there is not enough harmony in the family so there is no conversation going on. If there's no conversation speaking is limited and cement the inability as result. Second is the fact that the child lacks motivation to learn his native language and his attention is diverted to computer games and playing with friends. It even made me think laughing should be banned because laugh is not a language and most of all does not mean anything but an expression of emotion. If there is more to enjoy in life than learning a language those have to be limited first because if no time is spent how can there be any improvement learning the native language?
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Thanks cowboyofhell. Maybe we can't do much on situations. Let's just make a difference in ourselves. On the other hand, I don't think laughing should be banned at all. LOLs.
@laydee (12814)
• Philippines
14 May 11
I felt horrible with your discussion, though I never failed a subject, my weakest is Filipino. It's not because I'm not able to speak it, but rather I just get confused with the grammars and proper use of participles. Which is actually the same with most children (teens) in the US who obviously don't know how to properly use grammars for US English as well. As for them not being able to speak, well it's sad really, but it's their parents fault - perhaps the parents are just too proud about their kids seemingly smart because they can speak English rather than the national language or dialect. That's the parent's problem.
@vesuvius (1677)
• Philippines
14 May 11
Yes it is the parents' fault indeed. They shouldn't do that to their children because no universal law whatsoever tells that knowing English equals intelligence. Thanks for responding!
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
14 May 11
Ok well... I live in the US and there are dozens, hundreds, probably thousands of people who immigrate to the US and then REFUSE TO SPEAK ENGLISH. What do you think about that? That bothers me more than hearing about people in other countries who prefer to speak English and not another language. Now granted it seems odd if someone is going to STAY in the Philippines and NOT speak their own language, but if the parents are pushing for their kids to be fluent in English because they want to get ahead or move to the US, I don't fault them. Here in the US, we have all sorts of problems with even 2nd and 3rd generation people who refuse to speak English. They think they will send their kids and/or grandkids to school and the SCHOOL all by itself will teach the kids English. Guess what? NOT TRUE. Some of these kids don't even have a decent age/grade level grasp of their OWN LANGUAGE, and to have to go to school and try to learn a NEW LANGUAGE on top of it? When they go home and mom and dad and grandma and grandpa don't know any English and refuse to learn/speak it with the kids? And I'll go here too - some of these people act all offended that *I* don't speak Spanish or Filipino or whatever it is they speak. They act like they are above learning English, even though they purposely CHOSE to come live here. I find THAT very offensive.
@ebuscat (5949)
• Philippines
14 May 11
For me be accept it if the Filipino child leave in the USA then her mother is Cebuano then they don't speak Tagalog just ask your self if it is happened in you you will not understand for that case.
• China
14 May 11
And I hate it when some Chinese speak English better than their Chinese and pretend it's cool.And I'm talking about Chinese from MAINLAND.
• Philippines
14 May 11
Hi Vesuvius. I think it is the grammar of a language that causes students to fail, whether it be English or Filipino. One doesn’t analyze language in your daily conversation. I did not do well in Filipino myself because I could not understand or fail to memorize the rules. I am a Cebuana but I can converse in fluent Tagalog. But I agree with you in that the English language seems to have become a status symbol such that parents talk English at home and at malls. I flinch whenever I hear mothers talking to their children in Malls in English and in bad English at that. I wonder if these Filipinos who talk in English grasp the implication that in doing so they are actually imbibing a foreign culture. No wonder we are losing our culture. Sigh!
• Philippines
14 May 11
I agree with you Vesuvius. I am a Filipino and I live here in Cagayan de Oro City.I can speak Cebuano, Tagalog, and English. I really see to it that I practice English, especially that I'am a nurse, who knows i might be able to go abroad someday. Also when I am with my friends and I mispronounce an English word I would always say that it was the correct pronunciation because we are in Cagagayan de Oro City and we are not in the US. For me Filipino children should learn how to speak our dialect because it is their responsibility to talk in that language when they are in the locality. It is a shame that they could not speak their own language. Though it is important to learn how to speak other languages. we should not forget the language of our own country or place for that matter.