Over my years of living in the Philippines, I have come to realize that the way Filipinos use the English language has come from many different sources. A few days ago, I came to realize something about it that I had never realized before.
Most people would think that the way the Filipinos use the English language would be American. This would be the common thought because the Philippines was a Colony of the United States for about a half of a decade. So, naturally, a person would think that those 5 decades or so of American rule over the Philippines would have greatly influenced the use of the English language in the Philippines. Really, there is a lot of truth to this, but not to the extent that I expected.
When I first moved to the Philippines, I started noticing that there was actually a lot of British influence in the use of English in the Philippines. Mostly, the spelling of words is often the British spelling rather than the American spelling. Words like “Color” have an extra letter, “u”, as in Colour, the way the British spell it. I find that in cases where British English and American English differ, the Philippines almost always uses the language in the British way. I never noticed this when I was just visiting here, I only came to realize it after I was living here. I found this surprising.
One of the reasons that this surprised me was because I never realized that the British actually controlled the Philippines for a short time. You always here the old saying that the Philippines was controlled by Spain for 400 years and by Hollywood for 50 years. Truth is, though, for 2 years, from 1762 until 1764, the British controlled the Philippines and occupied Manila. Although it is said that Spain controlled the Philippines for 400 years (nearly), the truth is that Spanish rule was interrupted for those 2 years that the British controlled the region.
I would imagine that this is the period when the British use of the English became predominant here. The British controlled the Philippines for only roughly 1/25th the amount of time that the Americans controlled the region, but I imagine that because the British use of the English language was already ingrained in the Philippine psyche, and it did not change during American rule.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, a few days ago, I came to realize something new, though. I was watching a TV show from Australia, and I quickly discovered something.
Over the years, I have noticed that while watching things like the news in the Philippines, some words are pronounced in ways that I was not expecting. Mostly, I am talking about words with an “s” in them, but the word is pronounced like an “sh” instead of an “s”. On this particular Australian show, they kept talking about a “time capsule” but they pronounced it like “time capSHule”” and after hearing that over and over again, I realized that this is how they do it in the Philippines!
I thought about how Australia would have influenced the language, because I am not aware of any time when the Aussies had control over the Philippines, but as I thought about it, I realized that Australia is probably the nearest predominantly English speaking country to the Philippines. There are always a LOT of Aussie tourists here. Being fairly “nearby” I would imagine that for hundreds of years, many Aussies would come to the Philippines, and I can only guess that because of this, they had influence over the Philippine use of the English language.
Anyway, this article is not of great significance, it is just something that came to mind as I was watching TV the other day. There are differences between British and American use of English. Differences between both countries and Australia. The Philippines seems to be a unique mix of English speaking countries peddling influence over the usage of English here!