Understand this: I. Speak. English.

24/08/2011 § Leave a comment

English is one of the most basic ways I communicate with my family, my friends, and the rest of the world. Personally, I think I’m quite accomplished in writing, reading and speaking in English because I’ve been practicing that particular language for eleven years now. If there’s one thing I can’t do very well with English, it’s reading. Almost everyone around me reads English quickly and completely understands what they’re reading. Maybe I’m slow or maybe I just reread things too much but I take a lot longer than other people to finish books. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy reading — I really do love reading. Really.

I speak only a bit of other languages and cannot really communicate perfectly with languages like Tagalog (the Filipino language), Japanese and Spanish. I try to use these other languages whenever I can; Japanese whenever I’m outside (this is Japan, after all), Tagalog at home when my parents, brothers or other Filipinos speak to me, and speaking Spanish as much as possible is required in the class I take. I know English much better than these other three languages and therefore it’s the primary tool I use to communicate with and talk to other people.

Surprisingly, English wasn’t my mother tongue when I first got to Japan. I actually spoke a lot of Tagalog and I was quite good at it, too. Soon, though, Canadian Academy and it’s elite English-speaking ways soon got to me and I was jabbering in English, and only in English.

It’s interesting, being able to speak English better than my original mother tongue, Tagalog. Whenever my family goes back to the Philippines for vacation and to visit our relatives, I find myself having to switch to Filipino mode (or something) to be able to communicate with my relatives. English is out of the picture unless I’m speaking to my brothers. The funny thing is, once back in Japan, I find myself having a hard time switching back to International mode (or whatever) and I actually speak more Tagalog than English. It’s kind of a surreal experience every time I have vacation in the Philippines but it’s fun to go through, nonetheless.

As for studying English in Japan, I feel that it will give me a lot of advantages in the future compared to people who aren’t able to speak English as fluently as I do. Of course, seeing as I live in Japan, speaking English on a daily basis gets in the way of learning to speak the Japanese language. More than twice, I’ve had people say to me, “You’ve lived in Japan for more than ten years and you still don’t speak their language fluently!?” and it gets rather embarrassing (but I’ve gotten used to it). I’m glad I speak English well though, because now I have a lot more opportunities than I would have had if I didn’t speak English.

Which leads me to my final point: if I didn’t speak, understand, read, write or know any English, then I’d still be in the Philippines with limited college-choices, jobs and opportunities. Because I understand English though, I have an innumerable amount of opportunities to choose from located all around the world. I’m thankful for my skills in English. Although it can be improved in many ways (in the reading and the writing, especially, and in the thinking-before-speaking, of course, but that’s universal), English is an advantageous skill to have and we in CA are lucky to be so fluent in it.

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