What is Philippine English?

View of Marina and high-risers off Roxas Boulevard, Manila Bay, Manila City
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Phillipine English is a variety of the English language that is used in the Philippines.

According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, English and Filipino (the standardized version of Tagalog) are the two official languages of the Philippines. In addition, several regional languages are recognized as auxiliary official languages.

See Examples and Observations, below. Also see:

Examples and Observations:

  • "[T]he latest results from a Social Weather Stations (2006) survey suggest that some 65 percent of the population [of the Philippines] claim the ability to understand spoken and written English, with 48 percent stating that they write English, but with only 32 percent reporting that they speak the language. The same report then goes on to explain that these totals indicate a marked decline in English proficiency compared to results from 1993 and 2000 . . ..

    "Ironically, this decline (perceived or real) in English proficiency has come at a time when the utility of the language and the demand for English are probably at an all-time high, as a result of the remarkable growth of the call center industry and related . . . operations."
    (Maria Lourdes S. Bautista and Kingsley Bolton, Philippine English: Linguistic and Literary Perspectives. Hong Kong Univ. Press, 2009)

    Code Switching in the Philippines

    • "In the Philippines, code switching between English and the local language is extensively used by urban Filipinos comfortable in both languages. . . .

      "The most obvious features of the Southeastern Asian varieties [of English] are the loanwords (different for each society and culture because of the differences in the realia or referents in the country, e.g., kinship titles, local food terms, indigenous values) and the loan translations, as well as the lack of mastery of idioms and of standard forms of two-word verbs or verb-plus-preposition combinations (two examples from Philippine English: based from instead of Standard English based on, and result to instead of Standard English result in, in the speech of even educated speakers)."
      (M. L. S. Bautista and A. B. Gonzalez, "Southeast Asian Englishes" in The Handbook of World Englishes, ed. by Braj B. Kachru et al. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)

      The Vocabulary of Philippine English

      • "As would be expected, the vocabulary of Philippine English derives from a range of phenomena including semantic and part-of-speech shift, loan translations, coinages and creative innovations, compounds and hybrids. . . .

        "The adoption of certain brand names to refer to the articles in general is one example of semantic shift. For example 'pampers' refers to disposable nappies in general and 'colgate' to toothpaste. . . .

        "Part-of-speech shifts can be seen in the following examples:
        'Sorry I'm late, it was so traffic'
        'Why are you so high-blood again? What's upsetting you?'"
        (Andy Kirkpatrick, World Englishes: Implications for International Communication and English Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press, 2007)

      The World's Low-Cost English Language Teacher

      • "[T]he Philippines has taken over India as a hub for call centers. Their English is better. The islands attained a score above 7 [on a scale of 1 to 10], putting them within range of a high proficiency that indicates an ability to lead business discussions and perform complex tasks. India? A low 5.57."
        (Kenneth Rapoza, "Countries With the Best Business English." Forbes, April 4, 2012)

        "The Philippines is fast becoming the world's low-cost English language teacher--with rapid increases in overseas students coming to learn English or study in English-speaking universities.

        "There might be other countries that people think about as a classic place to learn English, such as the UK, the US or Australia.

        "But there is one key reason that they are switching to the Philippines. It's much cheaper. And in the competitive market for language students, it means the Philippines is attracting people from countries such as Iran, Libya, Brazil and Russia. . . .

        "Another major advantage is the accent.

        "Filipinos speak with a clear American accent--partly because the Philippines was a US colony for five decades, and partly because so many people here have spent time working in call centres that cater to a US market."
        (Kate McGeown, "The Philippines: The World's Budget English Teacher." BBC News, November 11, 2012)

        Also Known As: Filipino English

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        Your Citation
        Nordquist, Richard. "What is Philippine English?" ThoughtCo, May. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/philippine-english-1691503. Nordquist, Richard. (2017, May 7). What is Philippine English? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/philippine-english-1691503 Nordquist, Richard. "What is Philippine English?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/philippine-english-1691503 (accessed November 23, 2017).