In a message dated 9/1/03 5:59:46 PM, kzgafas@...
> Is it true that English is the native language in South Africa and
> Philippines? I have seen this information in a reputable source.
South Africa yes (their accent sounds more or less Australian, because the
countries were settled at about the same time).
The Philippines, NO! There English has the status of a colonial language,
more or less as in India and in some African countries. It may be co-official
there; I'm not sure. However, a lot of Filipinos receive their education in
English, and while they don't speak English with exactly native fluency, they
claim not to have a good command of their native language because of it. In
that regard they're like many French-educated Lebanese who claim to be very
bad at speaking Arabic.
At one place where I teach, the ESL students have to fill out an information
sheet about themselves, and one of the question is what their first language
is. Many people from Africa and other places will write the name of their
country's colonial language, English, French or Portugese, rather than their real
native language. When asked about it, they say, "That's the first language
I learned in school." When you press them further, you find out that they
think their native language, Twi, Yoruba, or whatever, is not a language.
> It is my understanding that there are countries (icluding the two
> cases above) where English is deeply rooted because of historical
> reasons, etc. (also India, etc.) - with high penetration among
> population. Is it OK to list the two countries above among countries
> with English as native language?
With South Africa, I'd say yes. With the Philippines I'd say no. There
are still other countries where the official language is English, but the native
language of the "English" speakers is really a creole. English is supposed
to be the language of Liberia, for example, but when Liberians enter American
universities, most of them have to take ESL.
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