Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Eat, Pray, Love English
Elizabeth Gilbert had it right - the best place to learn Italian is in Italy. The gelato is a nice consolation prize, should you prove to be a troublesome student.
Therein lies the difficulty in learning a foreign language - not everyone can leave their life behind and move to Italy at the drop of a hat. To learn a foreign language you need to speak the foreign language. There are plenty of good Italian restaurants in the Philippines, but you'll be hard pressed to find Italian-speaking study buddies.
Which brings us to English. Most everyone in the Philippines can speak English, so does that make it a good place to learn English? The answer is: yes and no.
Desperation is an excellent motivator. If you find yourself stuck in a foreign land where everybody speaks a language you don't understand, that is a problem that you will want to solve. You are almost guaranteed to want to learn Italian, if only to ask at opportune times: mi scusi, dov'e il bagno?
If you are a Filipino, there is no such incentive. You can always fall back on whatever local dialect you are comfortable with. If you are Korean, then yes, the Philippines is a much better place to learn English than Korea.
Of course, there are many Filipinos with excellent command of the English language. It is these people that you should seek out if you wish to improve your skills. You must learn English not just from someone who speaks English but from someone who speaks English well.