Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Do You Speak English With Your Kid?

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I wanted to be multilingual, but that would have to take a back seat for now because I became a mommy early. Now that I have Ella, I wanted to give her an edge in life by helping her learn how to comprehend and converse in another language...starting with English (because that's the only other language I know). I do it by talking to her in English the minute she was returned to me at the hospital where I gave birth to her.

I'm very sorry to admit that I didn't learn how to speak very good English at school. In my time, even the English teachers in private schools don't pronounce English words correctly (...except for Mrs. Chua, English and Reading teacher at the elementary school I studied in.). It was a good thing that I love to read and watch shows where English was spoken because I couldn't have learned better conversation English elsewhere.

I guess it's safe to say that I speak English well that my customers at the call center, more often than not, don't recognize that I'm offshore. But I noticed that when I'm talking to people who don't normally speak in English, I feel awkward and my English sounds differently. It sounds very Filipino. Which is not a bad thing, but you can't help collecting these looks and remarks from other people about you being "trying hard" or "feeling mayaman".

I don't get why some of our very own people react in such ways even though they know how English is such a beneficial language to learn. Such reactions make Filipinos not want to converse in English out of shyness. And if you don't practice it, you're never gonna be able to efficiently utilize it...especially during the times when you need it the most, such as an impromptu speech at school, a job interview, or answering a beauty pageant question.

Some of my American customers don't even have correct grammar but they sound good. It's as good as it sounds when we speak Filipino. And that's because they have been living with it in as much as we have been living with our language.

So I will continue speaking in English with my daughter. And if we get lucky, I'll encourage learning other languages like Mandarin and Spanish. She's gonna absorb it more when she's young compared to if she learns it later. I don't have to sound really nice or always have the correct words to say. She'll learn that in school. What I'm teaching her is the confidence to speak the language.

your every woman,


  1. I so much agree with your post. Why:
    1. at an early stage, it would be best to teach our babies the English language which is the universal language, i do that too :)
    2.while some people perceived as pa sosyal when speaking english, we think otherwise, it's not that, we just want to be globally competitive :)

  2. hurrah to mommies like us!!! :D