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How Filipinos Acquire English as Their Second Language

How Filipinos Acquire English as Their Second Language | ITTT | TEFL Blog

I am a Filipino. I was born in The Philippines and my first language is Tagalog. I remember my parents told me the first two words I ever learned or spoke were “mama” and “papa”. My parents were my very first teachers.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Gladiolus R. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Language in Childhood

When we are young we acquire our first language through our parents, relatives, or from the things we see or watch. When we start schooling we then develop these receptive skills through reading, writing, listening and speaking. Most of the parents nowadays in the Philippines want their kids to know and speak in English, so instead of talking to them in Tagalog, they speak to them in English. Sometimes they will make their kids watch English cartoons like Disney shows and movies for them to acquire English speaking along with the American accent. They will also send their kids to an international school. They believe that their kids will have a better future if their kids can speak in English.

Also Read: 7 Activities for Teaching the Simple Past for the ESL Classroom

Popularity of English

The Philippines is the third largest English speaking country in all of Asia, after Malaysia and Singapore. English is widely spoken in the Philippines. It is considered one of their official languages. Signboards, books, and newspapers are printed mostly in English. There are some TV shows, news broadcasts, advertisements and music that are also using English. I believe that these are some of the reasons that have made these Asian countries better at English communication compared to other Asian countries, aside from being colonized by a foreign country. If people would like to enhance their English, they can consult a language school which can be very helpful.

English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. English has assumed a position of the dominant language in global communication. It is used as the main medium of communication between countries. For example, The Philippine President, Duterte Rodrigo visited The Prime Miniter of Japan, Shinzō Abe and they talked and communicated with each other in English and not in their native languages for them to be able to understand one another. If you can speak English you can also become more competitive as it is very essential in the global trading business, for instance, if a businessman from China would like to trade his products into the USA. For him to be able to do that he must know how to communicate in English because English is the native language in the USA. Globalization has caused most of the people living in Asia to want to learn English and so the demand for teaching English overseas is continuously growing. Acquiring English as a 2nd language has given a huge advantage to Filipinos who want to work and teach abroad.

Also Read: Do I need a degree to teach English abroad?

Reasons to Learn Languages

Learning different languages can be fun! When I went to Thailand to work as a Garment Merchandiser, it didn’t only require me to speak in English but I also had to learn how to communicate using their native language. I needed to be able to communicate with Thai people not just at work but also in everyday life like when I went to the market to buy food, or asking someone for directions, and ordering food, etc. At first, I thought of enrolling myself in a school to learn Thai but I didn’t have much time because of my work. I learned to speak Thai through the local people and the people I knew. My work colleagues and Thai friends taught me new words every day. Little by little I learned to speak and communicate with them and that is how I acquired my 3rd language.

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