Philippine English is any variety of English (similar and related to English) native to the Philippines, including those used by the media and the vast majority of educated Filipinos. English is taught in schools as one of the two official languages of the country, the other being Filipino (Tagalog). Code-switching is prevalent in informal situations.
Philippine laws and court decisions, with extremely rare exceptions, are written solely in English. English is also used in higher education, religious affairs, print and broadcast media, and business. Most educated Filipinos are bilinguals and speak English as one of their languages. For highly technical subjects such as nursing, medicine, computing and calculus, English is the preferred medium for textbooks, communication, etc. Very few would prefer highly technical books in the vernacular. Movies and TV shows in English are usually not dubbed in most cable channels except a few such as Tagalized Movie Channel.
Because English is part of the curricula from primary to secondary education, many Filipinos write and speak in fluent Philippine English, although there might be differences in diction and pronunciation. Most schools in the Philippines, however, are staffed by teachers who are speakers of Philippine English and hence notable differences from the American English from which it was derived are observable.
Philippine English traditionally followed American English spelling and grammar, except when it comes to punctuation as well as date notations. For example, a comma almost never precedes the final item in an enumeration (much like the AP Stylebook and other style guides used in the English-speaking world). Except for some very fluent speakers (like news anchors), even in English-language media, dates are also often read with a cardinal instead of an ordinal number (e.g. "January one" instead of "January first") even if the written form is the same. This is mostly because educated Filipinos were taught to count English numbers cardinally, thus it carried over to their style of reading dates. In military-style (or sometimes officialese) date notation (e.g. 1 January) the American standard is mostly followed, that is "one January".
Tautologies like redundancy and pleonasm are common despite the emphasis on brevity and simplicity in making sentences; they are common to many speakers, especially among the older generations. The possible explanation is that the English language teachers who came to the Philippines were taught old-fashioned grammar, thus they spread that style to the students they served. Examples are "At this point in time" and ".. will be the one ..." (or "... will be the one who will ...") instead of "now" and "... will ..." respectively - e.g., "I will be the one who will go ...", rather than "I will go ...".
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Philippine English is a rhotic accent due to heavy American English influence, contrary to most Commonwealth English variants. Therefore, /r/ phonemes are pronounced in all positions. Native speakers and well-educated speakers may also feature flapping and vowel sounds resembling the California vowel shift due to the influence of Hollywood movies.
For non-native speakers, Philippine English phonological features are heavily dependent on the speaker's mother tongue, although foreign languages such as Spanish also influenced many Filipinos on the way of pronouncing English words. This is the main reason why approximations are very common and so are hypercorrections. The most distinguishable feature is the lack of fricative consonants, particularly /f/, /v/ and /z/. Another feature is the general absence of the schwa /ə/, and therefore pronounced by its respective full equivalent vowel.
The following consonant changes apply for most non-native speakers of the language:
Vowels in Philippine English are pronounced according to the letter they symbolize, so that ⟨a, e, i, o, u⟩ are generally pronounced as [a, ɛ, i, o, u], respectively. The schwa /ə/, which has various interpretations in English, is somewhat rare in Philippine languages and usually exists in minority languages such as Kinaray-a or the Abagatan (Southern) dialect of Ilocano.
Monolingual Filipino-language-speakers often have non-standard pronunciations; a number of other indigenous languages, employ phonemes such as [f], [v], and [z]. This form of mispronunciation, caused by the limited sound inventories of most Philippine languages compared to English (which has more than 40 phonemes), is generally frowned upon by Anglophone Filipinos, in particular, and businesses dealing with international clients.
Some examples of non-native pronunciation include:
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Philippine English has evolved tremendously from where it began decades ago. Some decades before English was officially introduced, if not arguably forced, to the Philippines, the archipelagic nation has been subject to Spanish rule and thus Spanish was the language of power and influence. However, in 1898, when the Spanish gave the United States control of the nation, the English language, although initially disfavored, became widely used in a matter of years, which was catalyzed by the coming of American teachers called ‘Thomasites’ (Bolton & Bautista, 2004). Before gaining independence, language policy makers have already started discussing formation of a common language for the Philippines — Filipino. Filipino became the national language, and English was given the status of an official language of the Philippines; English is more or less the dominant superstrate language, as it is perceived by many as a symbol of status and power, replacing Spanish. With the English language highly embedded in Philippine society, it is only a matter of time before the language is indigenized to the point that differentiates from English in the United States or the United Kingdom. This, along with the formal introduction of the World Englishes (WE) framework to English language scholars in the Philippines by renowned linguist Braj B. Kachru in a conference in Manila (Kachru, 1997), has opened the floodgates to research on this new emerging English, ever since branded as Philippine English.
The abundant supply of English speakers and competitive labor costs have enabled the Philippines to become a choice destination for foreign companies wishing to establish call centers and other outsourcing. English proficiency sustains a major call center industry, and as of 2005, America Online (AOL) has 1,000 people in what used to be the US Air Force's Clark Air Base in Angeles City answering ninety percent of their global e-mail inquiries. Citibank does its global ATM programming in the country, and Procter & Gamble has over 400 employees in Makati, a central Manila neighborhood, doing back office work for their Asian operations including finance, accounting, Human Resources and payments processing.
An influx of foreign students, principally from South Korea, has also led to growth in the number of English language learning centers, especially in Metro Manila, Baguio City, Metro Cebu and Metro Bacolod.
Recently, the Spanish Ministry for External Affairs and the Japanese government decided to hire speakers of the Philippine English as Language Assistants for their own respective nations.