Caveat: The purpose of this series is neither to proclaim myself as a grammarian nor to despise people who are still unfamiliar with common grammar mistakes. It is to serve as a reminder that there are rules in English that refute those mistakes. I am well aware that I still have a lot to learn in English and I will not stop digging those rules to share them here. If you happen to be a guilty party, please remember that I shared these blog posts in the spirit of constructive criticism.
Four days ago, my ever divisive blog post “Masteral and Other Filipino Concoctions” received an interesting comment from a fellow blogger, Aldrin–the man behind the blog “Under Two Trees“. The comment is actually in the form of a tough question: “Where do we draw the line between a “Filipino concoction” and a dialectal difference between two varieties (in this case, Standard American English and Philippine English)?
With that, I had to revisit the entries I included in that blog post, which was posted more than a couple of years ago yet it still receives comments, not to mention copious number of shares on Facebook and Twitter. Anyway, the rush back was pivotal; it made me reconsider four of the entries therein that paved the way for my enlightenment. I am talking about the birth of this blog post, which will throw light on the question.
After ruminating on the question and acquainting myself more about Philippine English, I could say that “masteral”, “advices”, “equipments”, and “trainor” remain as perfect entries for the very subject concoctions. So this is where we can draw the line for a Filipino concoction: when a supposed English word is nowhere to be found in the English dictionaries.
That is why I cut four of those supposed Filipino concoctions from the controversial blog post to use them as entries and/or examples for our next topic, Philippine English.
Philippine English is a variety of English used by the media and vast majority of educated Filipinos in the Philippines (wikipedia,com) and the very English used by Filipinos (encyclopedia.com). It goes without saying those concoctions are within the bounds of Philippine English. One of them is found in its examples: “fill up”, which is spelled as fill–up. (Do not forget to make a note of the minuscule hyphen there.) The list of its most common words and phrases does not include the rest but the same are qualified because they are, as stated earlier, used both by the media and vast majority of educated Filipinos.
- advices for pieces of advice or some advice (Update: When I was doing my research on “Masteral and Other Filipino Concoctions”, the word “advices” did not show up in any of the online dictionaries I use. But a few months back, I already saw it on thefreedictionary.com. Its usage is not yet acknowledge by Standard English though.)
- cope up for cope with
- fill-up for fill out
- USB for flash drive
If you want to familiarize yourself with Philippine English’s various words and phrases, check this: biodata for resume, bold for nude, colgate for toothpaste…As to the four concoctions above, you will have to pay a short visit to the blog post “Masteral and Other Filipino Concoctions” to know how they made it to my list of common grammar pet peeves.
For our last topic, Standard American English (SAE), I decided to use the two words that recently fell into said list: response and requestor. SAE is the form of the English language widely accepted as the usual correct form.
Note that the Philippines follow the Standard American English in general. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is the standard reference to SAE usage. The general rules governing the SAE are all defined in docstyles.com and are discussed online at chicagomanualofstyle.com.
Let us have a sort of side trip to understand better why we have followed Standard American English and not Spanish nor Nihongo. According to the article titled “What Asia Can Learn From Philippines About English” posted on huffingtonpost.com, Filipinos have the foresight to understand the value of keeping the language imposed on them during the sometimes brutal U.S. occupation of the Philippines from 1898-1946. The US helped plant the seeds for learning English, it was the country itself that took enough interest to dedicate resources and attention to maintaining the language after the Americans left.
Back home, the response is more commonly used in verbal communication. The majority tend to use response to mean respond (the verb form) as in, “Mag-response ka naman sa mga text ko.” In English, “Please respond to my text messages.” In Taglish grammar, “mag-respond” is still considered the correct form of the word.
In the case of the word “requestor, it is generally used instead of “requester”. This particular usage is not only common in the Philippines but in the place where I currently work here in the Middle East. Based on Standard American English, through “english.stackexchange.com and englishforums.com, requester should be used when referring to someone who requests something. It also has a larger number of Google hits than requestor–which is more used in the context of law and technical senses like a part of a program.
It is true that most, if not all, of the grammar pet peeves I have presented in this humble series (i.e., Common Grammatical Errors [CGEs]) are accepted in Philippine English regardless of their grammatical quirks. In the end though, they will remain as mere parts of this English variant, Philippine English.
When it comes to the three major English proficiency exams (Test of English as a Foreign Language, International English Language Testing System, and the hot of the press Pearson Test of English, Academic), Standard English sets the record straight not the English variants. Therefore, the grammatical pet peeves on the list remain nonstandard and unaccepted.
For us Filipinos, it takes a certain amount of determination to be exceptionally good in English because it is just our second language. Learning English as a subject in school is definitely not enough. We need to treat English as a working language and a means of communication in accordance with Standard English, and should consider better ways to learn it.
Related Blog Posts
Masteral and Other Filipino Concoctions at yobynos.wordpress.com
Pluralization of Initialisms at yobynos.wordpress.com
Stock Phrase, Mail, and Emails at yobynos.wordpress.com
Stop Saying Thanks God When at yobynos.wordpress.com
Tagalog Prefixes Interfused with English Verbs at yobynos.wordpress.com
The Correct Punctuation for Salutations that Begin with Hi or Hello at yobynos.wordpress.com
The Seven Lethal Grammar Sins of Email Users in the Office at yobynos.wordpress.com
My First Lazada Philippines Shopping Experience (momonduty.com)