Relearning The Primary Language
Let’s just say I had the experience of working with Shakespeare the web copy writer. I hate being the grammar police because I am also a fugitive myself hiding behind the comfort of the internet and the desktop, but this case is just so hard to let it slide. If you are applying for a writer position, at least make things cohesive on what you are saying. I could forgive the tons of subject verb agreement violations, and the misused articles you precede almost every noun in each of the sentences; but writing wordy sentences that lack the direction and sense is already something atrocious that I could never pardon.
I played grammar police with one of the new writers in the office today. I know that there is a drought of writing machines recently in the office and we badly need some hands. But if you are mixing old English with a conversational tone written mostly on “American” English, you just can’t help but to scratch your head with all the “ought” and the incoherent sentences that came after.
I never had the fervor of writing Pulitzer worthy prose materials. What I do is what any other sensible copy writer does and that is to produce a copy that is capable of transcending to the readers despite the unavoidable grammar mishaps here and there.
I do not believe that we Filipinos in general could master the use of English in a proficient manner mainly because our first language has been bastardized. Socialites love to use the mix of Filipino and English on a regular manner that you are definitely not making positive strides for both. According to linguistics experts, mastery of the first language is a must in order to be proficient for both written and verbal to the second language.
When writing or speaking the target language (L2), second language learners tend to rely on their native language (L1) structures to produce a response. (Dechert, 1983 and Ellis, 1997).
The text means that second language speakers tend to still rely on their primary language in order to compose a thought, thus; if you do not have the mastery of your primary language, how do you even expect to rely from it? I remember the time when I first had my taste of cash from writing, one of the very first things I bought was the Cultural Revolution propaganda material from eBay for the sake of having a memorabilia. According to the guy who sold it to me, it says “ China Down to Countryside Movement Periodicals Magazine”. By looking at it, it seems to me that the periodical was published during height of reeducation campaigns for the Chinese middle class. Not only did it bring the Chinese kids of that time closer to the harsh realities of post civil war China, they were also made to teach the illiterates how to both read and write.
If we could only teach the basics the right way, we could’ve been doing complex things the right way too. Though it is bullshit to say that you need a second language in order to be an industrialized country, in my opinion, I just find it a crime to make use of secondary language as your source of bread and butter if you are already being blatantly atrocious on using it.
The hybrid Shakespearean/American conversational tone turned into text was probably one of the worst copies I ever read. I really do not know if it’s the effect of the late night shift plus the shitty computers in the office but come to think of it, what do we really expect if we couldn’t even converse on our own language?