Having been working in Europe for more than 4 years, I´m always asked where I got my proficiency in English and if most Filipinos have the same facility in the language as me. The answer to the first question is straightforward: I learned English in school.
The second question is a little tricky. There are better English speakers than me and there are those who I believe like to learn English but have no capability to do so. I then explain that English in the Philippines is a path for upward mobility as education is anchored on one´s proficiency in the language. Learning maths or sciences can be a pain if one doesn´t have a little mastery of English.
In her recent paper, I.P. Martin argues that the “Three Circles Model of Kachru might be re-examined in the context of the Philippines, in order to better capture the sociolinguistic realities of Outer Circle speakers of English .”
She says that the Philippine English, an Outer Circle country, can be thought of as a circle with many circles.
The Filipinos in the inner Philippine English circle have embraced the English language and they actively promote it even as a language variety in schools.
The Filipinos in the outer Philippine English circle know that a Philippine variety exists “but fall short of promoting the variety, owing to a sense of powerlessness they have in counteracting the dominance of American English.”
And finally, the Filipinos in the expanding circle see the “status of the Philippine English is a non-issue.” This means that there is little talk about it. Although, the proficiency in the language is a requisite for upward mobility.
I hope that the boundaries of these inner circles are permeable.
The author says she used “the Three Circles model in order to provide a more nuanced description of English in the Philippines and in this way present a number of insights into issues relating to the acceptability of Philippine English within Philippine society.”
Now, if I can only explain it this way to my colleagues.
PEFIANCO MARTIN, I. (2014). Philippine English revisited World Englishes, 33 (1), 50-59 DOI: 10.1111/weng.12054