Speak Up: Dealing with Students’ Twisted-tongue

Lourdes P Mendoza

At an early age, we already trained our children to speak using English language. As much as many of us are addicted to Western and Kdrama series, we wanted our children to sounds like native American when they are communicating using that desired language. In fact, those who deemed to speak English eloquently have the higher chance to excel. Somehow, it becomes a standard of intelligence without even knowing that learning language should preserve the social, political, and cultural identity of the speaker.

However, we encountered students who have problem with their diction and enunciation or to simply put in Filipino “pilipit ang dila”. It is normal that we have our native variations as it preserves our socio-cultural background.

In educational settings, students are expected to deliver speeches with proper diction and enunciation. However, we are also dealing with students who have “ pilipit ang dila”. Their way of speaking is also normal as it avoids the culture of inferiority, social isolationism, and inferiority among our learners. Students are becoming more confident and allowing their identity be revealed as they are speaking the language.

Students nowadays must realize that all of the sounds variations of English language are acceptable. The way that the Waray, Batangueno, Ilokanos, and Cebuano speak the language is not funny at all but should be acceptable. In this way, it does not steal the social and cultural identity of the person instead it preserves and nurtures our individuality.

With the plight of Filipino English teachers abroad, it is an indicator that we really good at that language. However, speaking such should not create a notion of privileges. It is not only limited for the educated and elite ones. Many are trying to exaggerate the pronunciation as it reflects some economical status in life. And if we asked our students in class why they did not respond in English language, most of them admitted that they want to sound like native and afraid that they might mispronounced the English word.

Hence, the Filipino English is already acceptable variations of English, however, we are still caught up with the idea of sounding like an American citizen. We blended the sounds we produced and even use expressions in the context of American or British culture.

Students are so used following the standards given to us not appreciating the variations of our own. This is the time now to start accepting their own voice and sounds. The way of their thinking may be corrected by starting to teach them to accept our Filipino sounds. In that way, they would not feel inferior when someone speaks English in different pronunciation of their own because we already imparted to them that their own sounds are acceptable. This is the time now to set aside the standards for them to realize that they do not need to feel intimidated with others who are using the language with exaggeration and following the previous standard.

The end game must be communicative competence as stated in the curriculum we have. We should start loving our own sounds and disregard the idea that we have to sound like an American or British citizen.

After all, what is important is for our learners to appreciate the language and to try to learn the language through the guidance of the teachers.Modelling on how to pronounce words correctly would help a lot for the learners to come up with the right pronunciation of word. Drills and exercises should also be provided using videotapes, recorded sounds and others to help those with twisted – tongues.