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Philippine English Words - Filipino vs American vs British English

Eric is a writer and an educator who is a bookworm and a logophile. He loves to read and write about various topics.

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The Philippines is recognized globally as one of the largest English-speaking nations with the majority of its population having at least some degree of fluency in the language. English is taught in schools as one of the two official languages of the country, the other being Filipino.

The abundant supply of English speakers and competitive labor costs have enabled the Philippines to become a choice destination for foreign companies wishing to establish call centers and other outsourcing. An influx of foreign students, principally from South Korea and Japan, has also led to growth in the number of English Language Learning centers. Because of this, it named the world’s best country in business English proficiency, even beating the United States.

Besides American and British English, there are many varieties of English spoken in the world, one of them is Philippine English. Philippine English is native to the country and it is based on American English, most of the vocabulary and spelling are the same - with a few exceptions.

Words from British English That Use in Philippine English

American BritishPhilippine

ameba

amoeba

amoeba

drape

curtain

curtain

cookie

biscuit

biscuit

starter

appetizer

appetizer

broil

grill

grill

mitt

glove

glove

acetaminophen

paracetamol

paracetamol

muffler (car)

silencer

silencer

scallion

spring onion

spring onion

Terms Differ From American and British English but Use Both in Philippine English

American British Philippine

line (human)

queue

line/queue

fall

autumn

fall/autumn

soccer

football

soccer/football

tie (score)

draw

tie/draw

zip code

postal code

zip code / postal code

coffee with cream

white coffee

coffee with cream / white coffee

railroad

railway

railroad/railway

Words Neither from British nor American English but Filipino Have Their Own Terms for Them

AmericanBritish Philippine

bathroom

loo

comfort room

soda

fizzy drink

soft drink

sneakers

trainers

rubber shoes

gasoline

petrol

gas

closet

wardrobe

cabinet

drugstore

chemist

pharmacy

wading pool

paddling pool

swimming pool

refrigerator

fridge

ref/frigidaire

main office

headquarter

main branch

Words That From American or British English but Have Totally Different Meaning in Philippine English

Legend: © - Meaning in Standard English ∆ - Meaning in Philippine English


advanced

© - far on or ahead in development or progress.

- of a clock ahead of standard time

commute

© - travel some distance between one's home and place of work on a regular basis.

- to travel by public transportation

entertain

© - provide (someone) with amusement or enjoyment

- to help or assist e.g. "Please entertain the visitors." for "Please assist the visitors."

napkin

© - a small piece of cloth or paper, usually square, for use in wiping the lips and fingers and to protect the clothes while eating.

∆ - sanitary towel or sanitary pad

plastic

© - polymeric material that has the capability of being molded or shaped

∆ - a fake friend; a friend who pretends to be nice on you but in reality, she/he spread rumors or bad things about you behind your back (also called "toxic" or "pollution")

high blood

© - hypertension

- extremely angry

gimmick

© - a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business.

- an unplanned night out with friends

hostess

© - a female host; a woman employed at a restaurant to welcome and seat customers

∆ - a prostitute

middle name

© - a person's name (typically a personal name) placed after the first name and before the surname

- maternal surname /last name or maiden name

rotunda

© - round building or room, especially one with a dome.

- roundabout; a traffic circle

Words Peculiar to Philippine English

  • nosebleed - to have serious difficulty conversing in English with a fluent or native English speaker. It can also refer to anxiety brought on by a stressful event such as an examination, job interview or being afraid to be judged by others for not using proper grammar
  • washday - the day where an employee or student can wear casual clothes
  • flying kiss - air kiss
  • batchmate - It is/was the person's classmates and the people who are studying/studied in the same school and will graduate/graduated in the same year. It can also refer to co-workers who applied, got hired, and started their work in the same company at the same time.
  • ambush interview - refers to an unscheduled interview that occurs because someone has forced or tricked another into on-the-spot participation
  • remembrance - souvenir
  • nursery school - a school for children between 3 to 6 years old
  • hold-departure order - criminal travel injunction
  • sando - a shirt manufactured without sleeves or whose sleeves have been cut off.
  • green-minded - means dirty-minded or having sexual thoughts
  • kikay kit - a container where a woman's make-up and toiletries are kept

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Eric Caunca

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