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Do Filipinos Speak English?

Impact Do Filipinos Speak English

Communication is vital in forming good working relationships across borders, and English literacy has effectively broken down language barriers. It comes as no surprise that English competency is a highly sought after skill when it comes to international business.

In April 2012, the Philippines topped the list of 75 countries in the Business English Index (BEI) 2012 prepared by GlobalEnglish Corp., a US-based company that aims to advance Enterprise Fluency™ among global organizations. The Philippines received a score of 7.0 on a scale of 1-10, a ranking of the business English competency of employees from beginner to advanced, attaining a “level within range of a high proficiency that indicates an ability to take an active role in business discussions and perform relatively complex tasks,” according to GlobalEnglish.

The average BEI score was 4.15, a low score that does not meet the current demands of the global economy. A score of 1.00 indicates an ability to read and communicate using simple questions and statements, while a score of 10.00 represents the ability to proficiently communicate and collaborate in English in the workplace. United Kingdom (UK) received a BEI score of 5.26; US, a score of 5.09; and Australia, a score of 6.17.

The Philippines is even considered as one of the best places to learn the language. According to the Bureau of Immigration, over 40,000 foreigners applied for study permits last year. With a relatively lower cost of English education and an easy-to-understand, even slightly American accent, the Philippines is fast becoming the destination to learn the language as opposed to studying in the US, the UK and Australia.

With a century-long history of having been exposed to western practices, particularly American culture, the Philippines has an advantage among its Asian counterparts in communicating effectively in the English language. Widely spoken in the country, English is used both as a business language as well as a medium of instruction in schools and universities.

Official government documents are written in English. Western music is just as popular as the local music, nearly half of which are recorded in English. Even signages and billboard advertisements are in English. Cinemas are often filled with Hollywood films, as television is with English-language programming, both without the need for Filipino subtitles.

The Filipino’s grasp of the language and ability to adapt to foreign cultures make the Philippines an ideal location for contracting virtual work. Working with a virtual assistant from the Philippines is often preferred not only for the cost and amiable demeanor but also for ease of communication.

The Philippines’ information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry has also flourished, ranking the nation as the number one destination for voice services, servicing many US, UK and Australian companies. In short, yes, Filipinos do speak English. Quite fluently, for that matter.

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