Thursday, April 10, 2008

What's Your Excuse?

"English is my second language" had probably been my subconscious excuse. Time may have played a certain role in the blurring of my memory as to the actual way I've learned English. In the Philippines, there really was no standard demarcation line when a child should learn English. It's location, location, location!

Like the real estate mantra in selling the house--the closer you are to the bigger cities [Location 1], the better your chances are to get proper exposure to the language. Having access to a household [Location 2] with more educated or affluent family, the earlier you will get introduced to it. But of course, you can't blame it all to the outside forces; you [Location 3] --and only you--have the ultimate power to make the actual learning happen.

Consequently, English had been integrated into the lives of Filipinos at different points and we never had a subject called ESL (now?); we still have English as a part of our curriculum [EPC?] the moment we start our educational journey through life. --I never heard the word ESL until I made my way to California and had landed my first teaching post as an ESL teacher to adult learners. Before then, I was simply an English teacher!

As an ESL teacher, it came naturally to me to use the acronym with a twist--evolving to having this blog so aptly named as English is not my mother tongue. Again, my Google curiosity peaked; what could be better than google my title? Everytime I embark on this silly world wide web travel, I never know what I expect to find, but googling as my new-found entertainment guide has never failed to amaze...and amuse me. That's when...yahooooo! I found 'English is my second language' a seemingly standard excuse when one wants something done or answered:

Please help me with my grammar, English is my second language.

Why is it so hard for me to learn? English is my second language....

Can you correct my English? English is not my first language.

English is my second language, my writing and speaking is too....

English is my second language, and I don't care what people say!

How about in this age of incredible technology? Are you learning yet another language? I need a revised version of Mr. Webster's dictionary, and I would not even dare venture into the [teen-ager's] world of texting. If Digital is my Second Language course, let me just fail it! The only DSL I need is my internet connection.


Did you ask Mr. Webster if demarcation should be spelled demarkation? How about embark? Can you add the same [-tion] suffix? What would be the right spelling? What else did you find out?

*Originally posted @