Code-switching Culture and Beyond

Speaking English well isn’t the only basis for a person’s intelligence. 

Speaking English with a resounding American accent isn’t the only basis for a person’s intelligence.

Speaking grammatically correct English is still not the only basis for a person’s intelligence.

How do we use language in our lives?

When people speak with the vernacular, does it mean that they are already displaying a lower level of intelligence?

Why do Filipinos laugh when they hear another person speaking English with a strong native accent even though it’s grammatically correct?

Even the international education sector recognizes the growing use of International Englishes. It’s not only a singular system that follows syntax, grammar, and other communication standards that are considered as the “American” English. There are a lot of interesting stories, ideas, and even research on how people learn or acquire a certain language (these two still have their own theories).

A random post. I thought of writing this a couple of days ago but I couldn’t finish. Now, I think it is more appropriate because August is almost over and the celebration of Buwan ng Wika.

I grew up using only Tagalog at home with some simple English words introduced in everyday conversations. As I grew older, I went to school and learned more about the different meanings of the words I usually heard. I studied the English alphabets and not the ABAKADA. I first associated apple to the letter A than the local term aso. 

I sang nursery rhymes from the Three Blind Mice to the poor Humpty Dumpty. I only heard of Leron, Leron Sinta or even Bahay Kubo when I started studying in elementary. The form of code-switching from Tagalog to English seemed like a common day to day scenario. Everything seemed normal, I never questioned the difference until I was old enough to study the distinct grammar rules and even read, write, and discuss in two unique forms.

There isn’t really that much of a problem in learning a new language. After all, English isn’t that foreign to us in the first place. Filipinos can easily associate words to their Tagalog, Bisaya, or other counterparts. Most of the foreign words are even combined to follow Filipino syntax and used regularly in conversations.

Language Battle: Which is better? 

This is how I see things: I learned to appreciate the variety of words, association, and even symbolic representation to objects based on a particular culture or country. I even went through long classroom sessions where I had to dissect the process of communication in various forms. Each one is unique from the other. There are elements of the communities, culture, and even personal experiences that are used in the formation of a certain language.

Each one is unique from the other. There are elements of the communities, culture, and even personal experiences that are used in the formation of a certain language. Still, there are similarities that help us relate or even understand another person even though he/she speaks in a foreign tongue. Isn’t this fascinating?

Isn’t this phenomenon fascinating? So, why do we tend to look at foreign languages (especially English) as superior? Is it because it’s considered as the international language? Perhaps. Most likely. That’s how we are taught in school. It serves as out lingua franca to connect and build relations with others.

Language is a rich, flourishing wonder that should be cultivated and not categorized in terms of the better one. Filipino, for instance, is only one of the numerous languages that help people connect, communicate, and understand one another. Learning another language despite the lack of proper pronunciation or eloquence can only be the beginning. Don’t look down on the ones who try to broaden their communication spheres by speaking a foreign language. Better yet, if you find some mistakes in their speech, politely correct them. Help one another grow to further help in the development of a language.

This isn’t a university paper or anything. I didn’t mention any particular theories. If you are interested to further explore the concept of language, communication, and learning, check the web for readings on the works of B.F. Skinner, Noam Chomsky, Claude Elwood Shannon, Warren Weaver. 

>>I might post some of my paper on language and even about the text lingo some other time. There are a lot I want to look back into from my university years. Need to practice what I’ve learned so not to forget them as the years pass by.

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