Philippines: Linguistic Divide

Howie Severino talks about the linguistic divide in the Philippines between Tagalog a.k.a. Filipino (the language spoken in and around the capital Manila) and English (the widely-used colonial lingua franca). “…a foreign correspondent once noted that our presidents use Filipino only when they want to tell jokes or be folksy. When it’s time to explain something serious like foreign policy or economics, it’s always in English, as if it’s beyond the unwashed natives to know about it. Or perhaps language is the unspoken wall in the Philippine version of apartheid.”

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