Oxford English Dictionary editor declares: Philippine English is legitimate!

Oxford English Dictionary editor declares: Philippine English is legitimate!


Filipino English is not an inferior English and can stand proud with the different varieties of the language, this according to an expert.

Philippine English is "not slang, not wrong, not carabao English, or any other derogatory word that's been used over the years," this according to Dr. Danica Salazar, world English editor for the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Dr. Salazar said, just like British, American, Australian, and Singaporean variants, Philippine English plays an important role in the historical development of the language, which OED seeks to document.

(photo credit to owner)

"What OED does is it tells the history of the English language through the development of its words, and that story is not complete if we don't tell the part that Philippine English plays," she said in a recent webinar sponsored and organized by the Philippine Embassy in Spain.

"Philippine English, just like American English or British English, or Indian English or Singapore English, are all part of the same story," she added. "We all have a role to play in this. Philippine English has as much of a place in the history in the lexicon of the English language as all these other varieties."

According to Salazar, adding Philippine English words to OED takes them months of work, but was quick to reiterate that "it's worth it."

"These words like 'bongga' or 'kilig,' you might find them silly but they do say something about our culture and they are worth spending hours and months researching," she said.


The Filipino English Accent


Filipinos have their own unique way of speaking in English, and that this is something that should be embraced, Dr. Salazar points out.

"I've been living in the UK for seven years now, and nobody's ever told me, 'I don't understand you.' And I speak with a totally Philippine English accent," she said.

"The accent and the words that we use, these are a reflection of our identity, of our culture," she explained. "And adapting languages to suit a communicative means is something that everyone does. Americans adapted British English, Australians did the same, people in New Zealand do the same. So why can't we do the same?"

Salazar went on to share that the Philippine accent is "one of the most understandable accents in the world," saying this is "one of the reasons why our call center industry is so successful."

"We don't need to sound American to speak English correctly," she stressed, adding, "We don't have to waste our time in the classroom trying to twist our students' tongues in shapes that they can't make."

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Report from ABS-CBN News



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