Monday, June 15, 2009

How to be English-ly Eloquent

How to be English-ly Eloquent

A lot of people nowadays find eloquence in the English language a very good advantage. In fact, one of the biggest reasons why I landed a job I wanted so much is my mastery of the English language.

With call centers sprouting like crazy and more ESL centers expanding, learning how to communicate in English (both oral and written) becomes one of the country’s leading concerns. In fact, there is more pressure for us Filipinos to up the ante because we are considered as one of the best English speakers in the world. If you feel left out because you can’t even put your is’s and are’s properly, here are a few tips on how to get chummy with the English language.

1. Learn the basics. Nothing beats learning the basics. Re-learn what nouns, pronouns, verbs. adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections are. (They are called eight parts of speech, by the way.) I’m sure you remember encountering these words when you were in your elementary years. Rekindle your memories with them and vow to never forget their worth. Thank me later.

2. Read, read, read! Read everything you can get your hands on. I am a very industrious reader; I’d read anything, from the Bible to the back of a shampoo bottle, to an eight-page celebrity magazine expose. This helps me get used to English, and my brain also gets used to processing things in English. Hence, when I start forming and opinion or an idea, I do so in English already…instinctively. If you are not a very industrious reader, I recommend reading “easy” materials like magazines or preteen novels. In this way, the learning becomes light and at the same time enjoyable. You can move on to reading Ayn Rand and Tom Clancy and John Locke later.

3. Actually speak English. Now this is the tricky part. In the Philippines, where people are taught to be humble, speaking English comes off as cocky to a lot of people because it is not our native language. However, there is no better practice than actually speaking English (I don’t care who you speak English to!) because it is where you can apply everything you’ve learned—the basics and the advanced ones. If you find this difficult, you can start singing in English (hehe!) and move on to speaking whenever you’re more comfortable.

4. Appreciate English. English is home to a lot of very good artistry—talk about Nobel prize winners, the local Palanca and Pablo Neruda. There are so many things to appreciate in the English language. I recommend reading poetry, since they’re short and oftentimes very moving. They’re compacted emotions, and beautiful symphonies arrested in flight. There are poems which haunt you to sleep and poems which make you shiver, fall in love, timetravel... No, poems are not 4D, but they’re good tools to help you appreciate the English language in a jiffy. My personal favorites include John Donne, Sylvia Plath and our very own Edith Tiempo.

5. Surround yourself with English. Now this is a habit; and this must not stop. Listen to English songs, read English literature, watch movies in English (switch the subtitles on for better comprehension!) and most importantly, talk to people in English. You’ll be an expert in no time. And don’t forget your basics.

Congratulations, you can now call yourself a Filipino. Oops! Just kidding.

Let’s try your English out, email me IN ENGLISH---


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Anonymous said...


I'm in need of a great book. well, not that great, but whatever you can recommend.

btw, i moved back to WP

Anonymous said...

WP = WordPress. hehe