Special on my personal  DVD and ebook

Filipino English   -   "Say What?"


As a part of the Americans "protectorate" relationship with the Philippines during the 1st half of the 20th century, the English language was introduced to our education.  While Private Schools teach most to almost all classes in English, this is not true for Public Schools where most Filipinos attend.  So, not ALL classes are taught in English as many Westerners believe.  Usually NO English is taught until 1st grade and then only 1 or 2 classes.  

As students advance to higher grades more subjects are taught in English and normally all College courses are taught in English.  This is one reason I suggest to USA, British, Australian and Canadian gentlemen to give preference to college students and graduates as they normally speak and write English much better than Filipina not attending college.  Also, you will hear women mention taking American English classes.  I now tell you why.

Filipinos apply the peculiar sounds of our different dialects (mainly Tagalog and Bisaya) we speak at home.  Few Filipino families speak English as main language at home.   Sometimes visitors have to listen carefully to determine whether Filipinos are even speaking English.

As examples:  Few Filipinos distinguish between the short 'i' sound and the long 'e' sound; so big will sound like beeg. The mixed 'ae' sound in 'ham' will sound as hum to a Westerner.  Filipinos use vowel sounds as in the Spanish five vowel sounds without the complex and illogical phonetic variations English gives to these vowels (remember Spaniards were here much longer).

Filipina, Philipina, Philippina, Pilipina

Let me explain why there seems to be so many spellings of Filipino and Filipina used on the internet.   This is because the indigenous languages don't have the "f" sound, which is substituted by "p". That is why at first Filipino English is hard to understand until you get use to the absence of certain sounds you are use to in US, Canadian, Australian and British English.  About 20 years ago the RI Department of Education added several new "Western" letters to our alphabet.  Since then we have started spelling a number of words with a "F."  Even the name of our language was changed from Pilipino to Filipino.  By the way Filipino, Pilipino, Philipino, and Philippino are all used as same by Westerners.  We use Filipino (Filipina) or Pinoy (Pinay) here most often.  For females just use an "a" at end instead of "o" - Filipina, Philipina, Philippina and Pinay.  In fact, I, and I am sure most of younger Filipina, have never used Philipina, Philippina or Pilipina.

Filipinos that meet with tourist deal with much confusion as everyone's' English is different.  Germans speaking English sound much different plus they use some slang expressions that are very different.  Likewise, Australian English sounds quite different than Canadian, American or British English.  So, no surprise that Filipinos also have a hard time understanding different types of English.  Usually we understand visitors English better than they understand us.  Of course, we (in tourist areas) are more use to hearing different forms of English and if you spend more time in the Philippines, I am sure you would get use to our pronunciation also.

Please do not correct Filipinos on our English usage.  But discuss differences OK.  Filipino English is a dialect in its own right, just as is American English or Australian English.  If fact, the Philippines is the third most populous English speaking country in the world, after India and the United States.  So, our English IS correct here, just as Australian English is correct there!

Normally, Filipinos speak more deliberately and more clearly than Americans, whether they're speaking Tagalog or English.  Filipinos say that Americans speak 'slang', which itself has a  different meaning to Filipinos than it does to Americans.  When a Filipino says  'slang', he means 'to mumble or speak unclearly'.  Listen to Filipinos  speaking. You can define each separate syllable.  Now listen to Americans.  All of the words are run together.  Sometimes it is hard to tell where a sentence ends, and another starts.  No wonder foreigners have such a  difficult time trying to understand American English, even if they have studied  English in their own countries.  So, when in the Philippines, try to speak as  the Filipinos do.  Not baby talk, but clearly annunciated standard English, free of American colloquialisms, idioms and slang.  You will be  understood by nearly everyone when you take the time to speak carefully.  We not deaf, so don't shout at us! (why do people do that anyway?)  Remember, you are guests in our country / neighborhood / store / home.   And, unfortunately, many of us are very sensitive and get hurt feelings even if we not show it so just be the polite gentleman I know you are, OK?

Did you know that there is at least one Tagalog word in contemporary American English?  It is  "boondocks,"  derived from the Tagalog word  "bundok,"  meaning  "remote places" to Americans, and "mountain" to Filipinos. This word was apparently brought back around the turn of the century by soldiers or teachers.  Since it is current information, did you know "turn of the century" means the year 0 of each century as the new century does not technically start until year 1.  So, while Jan. 1, 2000 starts a new millennium, the new century does not start until Jan 1, 2001. (Check your dictionary and amaze your friends;-)  

One of the other peculiarities of Filipino English (from an American viewpoint) is that in some cases the same phrase can have an opposite meaning.  For example, "every now and then", which Americans use to mean "occasionally", is used by Filipinos to mean "often".

As the Philippine secretary will say, "The meeting will push through for a moment."   Say  what?


@^_^@     Other Funny Sayings     @^_^

( Have some to add?  Just email them to me Jean )

Want to learn more?

This language-learning series offers games and quizzes that make the learning process fun, relaxing, and, as such, more successful. Ideal for beginners, I have special LOW price on this Euro version of popular course. Select American or British English or from many other user languages to learn Tagalog for beginners.  $9.98


Vocabulary Builder Audio CD


FREE with Talk Now course
This 60 minute Tagalog Vocabulary builder CD will greatly increase your learning speed.   I really like it as you can play it in any CD player, like in Walkman or car to practice words & phrases. $6.98   MORE  DETAILS  

  Buy at Amazon

While this is a beginners Tagalog  course, it will take you to the same level many intermediate courses cover.  The illustrations may be childlike but the instruction is 1st class. At $30 it is a great buy. Book & audio CDs. 
     The emphasis is on conversation. First fifteen lessons provide a tutorial introduction to the language; last fifteen lessons engage reader in complete conversations.
   When you finish this course you can expect to have vocabulary of 250 top Filipino words and speak at intermediate level. The book is 384 pages and comes with 2 audio CDs.  Buy at Amazon

One of many Tagalog (Pilipino) courses offered by World Language.  They are a very reliable company so order with confidence.  Jean  PS. They also have many products in different languages - great gifts. Want a serious  course to become fluent? Or books in Tagalog. 

Many great language courses and products in many different languages are offered here World Language.

Best of the best learning systems Communicate like a Filipino

Rosetta Stone is the #1 language-learning software in the world, used successfully by millions of people in 150 countries. 

Learn on your computer or directly on-line. 

Rosetta Stone

Philippines largest rose grower delivers all over Philippines and is very inexpensive.  Jean Send 2 dozen roses for $20 less than 1 dozen sent using FTD, 1-800-Flowers, etc. 

Less than $45 total including shipping, taxes and delivery almost anywhere in The Philippines.    DETAILS






News & Updates 

Gift Ideas 

New Book Store Site Reviews


Send Money Fast with Xoom.com! Cash to the Philippines - Free Delivery
Xoom is a great way to send money to The Philippines.  The cash can be picked up at over 400 Equitable PCI Bank locations.  FREE delivery is also available in many areas. Xoom is much less than Western Union especially on small amounts like under $200 the fee is usually half that of Western Union (i.e. send $50 for only a $5 fee).  Even on larger amounts the savings are substantial and in many cases the locations are much more convenient as Equitable PCI Bank has branches in small towns and shopping areas all over The Philippines.  While you need Internet access and a bank account or credit/debit card to make a transaction, the recipient does not need either a bank account or Internet connection to get the money.  You will receive an email notification when the money has been delivered or picked up.

They have an arrangement with PayPal to actually transfer the money.  PayPal offers ease and flexibility, accepting all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express), as well as all major debit cards and direct transfers. PayPal successfully completes over 600,000 transactions per day with over 30 million accounts in 38 countries worldwide. I have used PayPal for six years without even a single problem - I highly recommend them.  And Equitable PCI Bank is very respectable Bank in Philippines so use the Xoom service with confidence.  Go Xoom    


3 Money Transfer Services Compared