So I’ll put this post in the Philippine setting, specifically in Cebu, my hometown.
In Cebu, we don’t speak the national language Filipino/Tagalog. We talk in Bisaya/Cebuano, our vernacular.
My first language is English. I’m more fluent in English than in Bisaya or Tagalog. English is my means of communication for my most of my peers are English speakers. To make things clear, I am not alien to both Bisaya and Tagalog. I can understand and speak both but once again not as fluent as English. Forgive my grammar at times. Tagalog is harder for us people from here in Cebu for we don’t normally use the language. But in my class, I am a Filipino translator in my Filipino class.
Moving on. I’ve been ridiculed, look down for being an English speaker who can’t (or let’s just say “who struggles” because I’m learning) to speak Bisaya. Excuse me, English is my first language and who are you to judge. I’ve been called, “English-paka” (If you were a Filipino, you would get that) And I’ve also been told “nosebleed.”
Never did I make fun of a person who has a very terrible English. I’ve been patient to those who can’t even speak English. I try to understand these people despite the grammar being so bad. But it is so easy for them to ridicule those who can’t speak Bisaya/ Tagalog.
English speakers who attempts to speak Tagalog/ Bisaya are called to be slang in how they speak. Like in front of the face! [P.S. I don’t get called for being slang because though I speak English, I have a Filipino accent] Please respect what accent a person speaks.
While English speakers are being looked down upon, there are non -English speakers who are looked down upon by closed minded people. They get comments like, “He/She doesn’t know English.”
Please, allow a person speak the language they are comfortable with. Be open minded to each others languages.
Look at where the closed mindedness of one’s language has brought us.
Instead of ridiculing of one’s lack of capacity in a particular language, let us learn from each other instead. I’m learning to speak in Bisaya from those who grew up with that language, while those who are having trouble speaking English can learn from me.