Yesterday, a gradeschooler went to the office to ask us to send her mom a message. After a few minutes of waiting, the girl, feeling hopeless as though a reply would never come, said something that totally irritated me — “Pwede pong i-call Mommy ko?”
You see, this kid is Indian, but she speaks fluent Filipino, so I don’t understand why she had to use i-call when she can just use the Filipino word, tawagan.
Some people think combining Filipino and English words in one sentence when clearly there is an easy-to-pronounce colloquial, even millennial, term for whatever word they choose to use is cute. Like, “get mo yung ball,” or “anong like mo here?”
Let me tell you frankly. It’s not cute. It’s not impressive. It won’t make you sound mayaman or matalino. It does not signify fluency in two languages; rather, it exhibits ignorance of both. It is verbicide — you kill your mother tongue and your second language in one shot — and there’s no glory in that.
Don’t get me wrong. I am no expert in Filipino nor in English. My vocabulary especially in Filipino is very limited, but when the need arises to express myself in either language, I do so without combining the two in one sentence, most especially if the words have direct translations. I try my best to make my point using the language I am more comfortable to speak in.
We are Filipinos; we do not even need to be soooo good at English — that’s just a bonus! English is not a standard of intelligence, and we don’t have to prove anything.
So instead of trying so hard to speak in Fil-glish, why not appreciate Filipino and English just as they are — two different languages but equally beautiful? Why not become proficient in both languages, along with their accompanying grammar rules and idioms, and eventually be able to speak with such mastery and eloquence? Wouldn’t that be soothing, even therapeutic, to your audience’s ears?