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Old 04-07-2014, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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While I haven't been to the Philippines, I find it hard to believe the standard of spoken and written (especially written) English among the whole population, all 90+ million including all the poor people in slums and villages, is higher than Malaysia as a whole...

Yes, Malaysia has regressed in it's standard of English: since the 1970s education has been in Malay, more signs etc are in Malay, yet English is still kind of resilient. I notice in some places Chinese is also more spoken than English. Still, at least as a second language, most Malaysians seem decently fluently, even if maybe a minority are totally 'native' sounding. I'd say about 25-30% of Malaysians (not foreigners) speak it as their first or main language too.

Especially if you compared KL to Manila...Malaysia has it's British colonial history/cultural influence, but the Philippines has had English imposed upon it by the United States.

For those who have spent significant time in both what would you say?

 
Old 04-07-2014, 09:12 PM
 
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Malay is the only official language in Malaysia, while English is also very common in Malaysia.
Malaysia is less influenced by the West than the RP, Malaysia is a Muslim, Chinese and Hindu country with Muslim having a dominant role in shaping its culture.
 
Old 04-07-2014, 09:17 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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probably the philippines, though it isn't hard to find fluent english speakers in malaysia, especially in KL.
 
Old 04-07-2014, 09:32 PM
 
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
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Certain parts of malaysia seems to have low english speakers, state like kelantan, terenganu and kedah, mainly the malays.
 
Old 04-07-2014, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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There aren't any reliable stats on English in Malaysia, but definitely almost all middle and upper class Malaysians (of all ancestries) can speak pretty good English. For native born Malaysians most can speak English. If I went to some village in the Philippines would random people be able to converse fluently?
 
Old 04-07-2014, 11:12 PM
 
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The Philippines. English is an official language of the Philippines, and it is still the main language of law and commerce. The official version of the Philippine Constitution and most laws in the Philippines are in English (in case of dispute with the Filipino version, it is the English version that will prevail). Birth certificates, driver's licenses and other government documents (with the odd exception of the Philippine passport which is bilingual) are written only in English. Bank documents, restaurant menus and product labels are only in English. In fact, one magazine article said that the Philippines has the best business English. Spoken English is not as prevalent, but everyone pretty much can understand simple English.

Odd thing in Malaysia is there seems to be aversion among the Malaysian Chinese to speak Malay, while there's an aversion among the Malays to speak other languages. In my last visit, I met a Malaysian Chinese who spoke very good English, but he himself said that only people his age (he is around 56 years old) speak like that due to the change in Malaysian education policies and he has to send his children to study in Australia to speak better English. I noticed it is quite common to hear Malaysian Chinese speak English to each other especially in KL, but the use of Mandarin is also increasing. In the Philippines, most people speak the local vernacular with each other (regardless of ethnicity), but more people under the age of 20 are starting to talk to each other exclusively in English. It seems to be the reverse in Malaysia. There's also no problem with saying a lot of common phrases in English in the Philippines. "Thank you" is as common as or even more common than "Salamat". When I asked a Malay lady inside one of the stores in Malaysia in English, she replied "ada", but did not make any more effort to help me out. I thought "ada" meant no, but discovered later in my hotel room that "ada" actually meant they have it in the store. I don't know why she didn't even just utter "yes" or "no" when asked in English, but has to revert to Malay.
 
Old 04-07-2014, 11:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
I find it hard to believe the standard of spoken and written (especially written) English among the whole population, all 90+ million including all the poor people in slums and villages, is higher than Malaysia as a whole...
If the Philippines didn't have a high standard of English, why are more and more South Korean students coming to PI to study English instead of other parts in Asia?

Quote:
Yes, Malaysia has regressed in it's standard of English
Meanwhile, Philippines' standard of English has not regressed over time. In fact, English is encroaching on Tagalog and creating "Taglish," a somewhat controversial code-switching language that is prevalent in the metro parts of PI.

Quote:
Especially if you compared KL to Manila...Malaysia has it's British colonial history/cultural influence
Aesthetic-wise, British/Australians/New Zealanders would probably prefer Malaysians speaking English (instead of Filipinos speaking English) because it is more British-influenced unlike the "rhotic" American-influenced English that Filipinos speak.

Quote:
but the Philippines has had English imposed upon it by the United States.
Sure, the initial relationship between the U.S. and PI was that of a colonial nature but currently these two sovereign nations are strong allies. As such, the Philippines has imported a lot of American secular culture that has made its impression on Filipino youth (and even some adults). An international alliance with the U.S. along with the importing of American secular culture have played huge factors in the Philippines having a high standard of English.

I don't know if UK-Malaysia relations are just as strong...
 
Old 04-07-2014, 11:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
There aren't any reliable stats on English in Malaysia, but definitely almost all middle and upper class Malaysians (of all ancestries) can speak pretty good English. For native born Malaysians most can speak English. If I went to some village in the Philippines would random people be able to converse fluently?
Yes, everyone pretty much can understand English in the Philippines, although some lack the confidence to speak English. Anyone who has finished high school, even in some random village, should be able to talk to you in English although many are not exactly fluent. A lot of things are still written in English even in the villages. Most products don't have any written in Filipino. The two products that more often has some Filipino written are cheap phone cards and laundry detergent.
 
Old 04-07-2014, 11:52 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
The Philippines. English is an official language of the Philippines, and it is still the main language of law and commerce. The official version of the Philippine Constitution and most laws in the Philippines are in English (in case of dispute with the Filipino version, it is the English version that will prevail). Birth certificates, driver's licenses and other government documents (with the odd exception of the Philippine passport which is bilingual) are written only in English. Bank documents, restaurant menus and product labels are only in English. In fact, one magazine article said that the Philippines has the best business English. Spoken English is not as prevalent, but everyone pretty much can understand simple English.

Odd thing in Malaysia is there seems to be aversion among the Malaysian Chinese to speak Malay, while there's an aversion among the Malays to speak other languages. In my last visit, I met a Malaysian Chinese who spoke very good English, but he himself said that only people his age (he is around 56 years old) speak like that due to the change in Malaysian education policies and he has to send his children to study in Australia to speak better English. I noticed it is quite common to hear Malaysian Chinese speak English to each other especially in KL, but the use of Mandarin is also increasing. In the Philippines, most people speak the local vernacular with each other (regardless of ethnicity), but more people under the age of 20 are starting to talk to each other exclusively in English. It seems to be the reverse in Malaysia. There's also no problem with saying a lot of common phrases in English in the Philippines. "Thank you" is as common as or even more common than "Salamat". When I asked a Malay lady inside one of the stores in Malaysia in English, she replied "ada", but did not make any more effort to help me out. I thought "ada" meant no, but discovered later in my hotel room that "ada" actually meant they have it in the store. I don't know why she didn't even just utter "yes" or "no" when asked in English, but has to revert to Malay.
Only English? So what role does Tagalog play? So you're telling me there are very few people who can't read English?

Well I think part of the aversion stems from the fact they feel Malay is imposed on them. I can understand the Malaysian government wanting to make Malay the main language, but they go further than that and favour the Bumiputra (sons of the soil) mostly Malay in other regards. Yeah in Ipoh or something I actually met some Malaysian Chinese who seemed to barely speak much English! It was quite a shock, as most of the people I know seem good English. I'd say it's still the Malays who have the worst command of English, but it's still much much better than Thailand of course. Maybe the Philippines might be overtaking Malaysia after all with English as a second language, due to the active encouragement of English, but Malaysia has a lot of people who exclusively speak to each other or mostly in English. I would find it strange if Filipinos are starting to speak to each other exclusively in English. As it is, though, Malaysia and Singapore are the only two countries with sizeable percentages who speak English natively.
 
Old 04-07-2014, 11:53 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,238,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
Yes, everyone pretty much can understand English in the Philippines, although some lack the confidence to speak English. Anyone who has finished high school, even in some random village, should be able to talk to you in English although many are not exactly fluent. A lot of things are still written in English even in the villages. Most products don't have any written in Filipino. The two products that more often has some Filipino written are cheap phone cards and laundry detergent.
Interesting. I am keen to see for myself how true this is. It's true that in my experience Filipino maids can usually converse in English fluently while Indonesian maids cannot.
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