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The Filipino's Most Common English Error

This is a discussion on The Filipino's Most Common English Error within the OT Archives forums, part of the Archived Threads category; okay, let me humbly weigh in on this before things get more muddled. in language, the bottom line is that ...

  1. #21
    The Pinoy Penman penmanila's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    okay, let me humbly weigh in on this before things get more muddled. in language, the bottom line is that "whatever works, works." in other words, the most important thing is communication--for A to be understood by B in exactly the way A wants to be understood. grammar helps by standardizing the way language works, reducing the chances of being misunderstood.

    "for a while" is not in and of itself wrong. usage, not grammar, is involved here. if two filipinos are talking to each other over the phone and one says, "for a while" and the other says "OK," then we don't have a problem; we have perfect communication. a problem might arise when a foreigner is involved, and can't make out what we mean when we say "for a while.

    in other words, there's a variety of english known as filipino english (as linguistics experts and teachers of english such as myself will acknowledge, in the same way that "singlish" and "chinglish" will have their own nuances"), and there's standard american english, which we filipinos use to communicate with the outside world. one is not necessarily better than the other.

    what's important is what the situation calls for. priggishly insisting on speaking perfectly standard american or british english in a community or environment where everyone else is speaking slang or the local variety of english could get you ostracized or, worse, mauled. conversely, not knowing standard english, or when to use it, could cause you to lose a business contract or a job.

    know your grammar and usage, but also remember to use whatever works best in specific situations. end of lesson
    Last edited by penmanila; 01-26-2008 at 08:52 AM.
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  2. #22
    maryannemoll's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    I agree, penmanila. I think what makes the situation less than ideal is that people don't know that the phrase is grammatically incorrect, and they use the phrase believing in their heart that they are being grammatically correct. It would be good if we can, little by little, learn the grammatically correct way of saying things, so that if we do choose to use the phrase in a not-so-grammatically-correct form, we would not do it blindly. But that's just me.

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    The Pinoy Penman penmanila's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    sorry to point this out, maryanne, but "for a while" is NOT grammatically incorrect. to filipinos, it makes perfect sense as the local equivalent of "hold on." grammar has to do with basic linguistic units and their relationships (subjects, verbs, etc.). grammar and usage are not the same thing, and it's important for the language police to know that.

    even grammar is not inflexible, but can be culturally inflected. when black americans use the double negative ("you ain't seen nuthin' yet"), it's not necessarily because they don't know grammar; it's because the double negative is a feature of the languages of west africa, where the slaves came from.

    so please, folks, before we prescribe do's and don'ts, unless we're just having fun, review your linguistics first.

    Quote Originally Posted by maryannemoll View Post
    I agree, penmanila. I think what makes the situation less than ideal is that people don't know that the phrase is grammatically incorrect, and they use the phrase believing in their heart that they are being grammatically correct. It would be good if we can, little by little, learn the grammatically correct way of saying things, so that if we do choose to use the phrase in a not-so-grammatically-correct form, we would not do it blindly. But that's just me.
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  4. #24
    maryannemoll's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    Quote Originally Posted by penmanila View Post
    sorry to point this out, maryanne, but "for a while" is NOT grammatically incorrect. to filipinos, it makes perfect sense as the local equivalent of "hold on."
    Oh! I've always thought that the use of the phrase "for a while" as an independent sentence was grammatically incorrect, so I have never used the phrase that way myself, both in speech and in my writing. However, I have used it in a story, as part of dialogue. It does make sense in Filipino usage. I'd never use it myself, though. (But then again, this is only because I have chosen to subject myself to the rules of standard English. Praktis ba. ) Thanks for the clarification, penmanila.

    This is quite an interesting thread.
    Last edited by maryannemoll; 01-26-2008 at 10:17 AM. Reason: grammatical error

  5. #25
    Mac Lover KuyaKevin's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    "For a while," is not Standard English and it is grammatically incorrect in Standard English.

    Sorry, you can explain it any way you like, but it just sounds awful to anyone outside of the Philippines.
    Last edited by KuyaKevin; 01-26-2008 at 10:13 AM.

  6. #26
    Mac Fanatic macbro's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    Probably the same as the word 'irregardless' and 'regardless', widely used and abused.
    From a dictionary...

    USAGE - Irregardless, with its illogical negative prefix, is widely heard, perhaps arising under the influence of such perfectly correct forms as : irrespective. Irregardless is avoided by careful users of English. Use regardless to mean 'without regard or consideration for' or 'nevertheless': : I go walking every day regardless of season or weather.

    Just my humble contribution.

  7. #27
    Unfrozenů soloworx's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    'For a while' may well be the least of our linguistic problems. I do see a lot of misused words or phrases - its/it's, their/there, one of many slip-ups, disagreements with auxiliary verbs (did, have), context and nuance problems - I am not a grammar teacher but I love the richness of the English language. I grew up anticipating Jean Edades's itty-bitty contribution in the daily paper and snatching up both old and new issues of Readers' Digest. Having a pretty English teacher in college helped a lot too (one of the Bosch kin).

    I know that English is dynamic and evolving and that transcultural differences have contributed to the wide variations in the way the Queen's English is spoken or written, but some basic rules should remain steadfast. For me, the growth of language should consist of adding new words and context to the lexicon (bossip, tank, brick et al). I say, ADD but not DESTROY!
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  8. #28
    Apple Genius lawrencebosox45's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    Quote Originally Posted by KuyaKevin View Post
    Sorry, you can explain it any way you like, but it just sounds awful to anyone outside of the Philippines.

    i like how you speak for everyone who doesn't live on this archipelago.

    thanks for the representation sir...
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  9. #29
    Mac Lover KuyaKevin's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    When I make mistakes in Tagalog and get corrected, I don't insist that "this is just the way Americans speak Tagalog." Instead, I do my best not to repeat the mistake.

    Namin/Natin Kami/Tayo still gives me fits because "we/us/ours" is all the same in English (inclusive or exclusive). This is something I have to practice and learn, and I may never get it right.

  10. #30
    Mac Fanatic morrissey_05's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Filipino's Most Common English Error

    we may go on and on about whether "for awhile" is correct or not. but the truth of the matter is, it is widely used and has assumed some degree of acceptance whether we like it or not. language is dynamic, it grows and in the process of its growth, what is considered technically wrong can become used widely and maybe even accepted.

    what i am more concerned about, and irritated too, is when people start saying things like "stuffs," which i see a lot in multiply and other blogs. stuff is already plural, adding an "s" is needless. its just like when police use "jewelries" and "evidences."

    to me, one of the greatest weaknesses of Filipinos is the use of the correct prepositions. that to me is more prevalent, and if I dare say more unacceptable, than "for awhile" or "stuffs."





 
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