As most of you know, I live in Manila, which is the capital of the Philippines. It just occurred to me that maybe some of you wonder why we don’t have Filipino editions of books. I mean you’ve probably seen several foreign editions of your favorite books – French, German, Brazilian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. but you’ve probably never seen a Filipino edition. This is mostly because English is the medium of instruction in schools around here, which is the effect of the American colonization way back in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Americans came to the Philippines and established public schools and they sent Americans to educate Filipinos. We still have those public schools but the education isn’t as good as the ones provided by private schools. From grade school to high school to college, most of our subjects are taught in English except for a handful such as Filipino and certain history classes. So for those of you who wonder, English books are widely distributed over here and foreign books aren’t translated to Filipino. I never gave much thought to not having Filipino editions of certain books. I wonder if there’s a market for it though?
My cousins from the States tell me that my English is different from theirs in the sense that it’s more formal. I guess that’s because I’m used to speaking and writing English in class. Although most Filipinos nowadays speak a mix of English and Filipino in their daily lives. It’s hard for me to speak in straight English but it’s also hard for me to speak in straight Filipino. I guess that’s the effect of growing up with two languages. If you follow me on Twitter, you would’ve probably noticed that I speak a mix of these two languages when I talk to my friends.
What about you, is English your first language? To the international book bloggers, do you read in English or are books translated into your local language?