Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bad English in Philippine Newspapers?

By Jose Carillo
Like several of my acquaintances, I always expect the Education, Arts, and Culture sections of the major Metro Manila broadsheets to make themselves proud showcases for excellent English. I have this notion that their education stories will be nothing less than exemplars of good writing as befits the aspirational majesty of education as a subject, and that their arts and culture features will always be told in an aesthetically pleasing, intellectually satisfying, and editorially tasteful manner. Every so often, however, I get so disappointed when these sections fall short of even the minimum standards of language and editorial quality. Indeed, one of the major broadsheets did such a shoddy writing and editing job recently for the stories in its Education and Culture section, so I felt obliged to critique them extensively in this week's edition of My Media English Watch.

This week I also decided to post in Jose Carillo's English Forum "The Grammar of Clerics and Preachers," an essay I wrote in 2003 after listening to a priest bungle his English grammar so badly in his homily. That experience had set me thinking: In their efforts at evangelization, should the major organized religions just rely on the momentum and stickiness of their age-old belief systems? Or should they make a purposive, continuing effort to be better communicators and defenders of the faith, whether in English or whatever language? My essay sought to answer these questions.