Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has long maintained his countrys cultural affinity for the English language.
And yet, it is also apparent that he is learning the art of Filipino language learning and use, a process that, in turn, has helped him shape the way he communicates.
The Filipino language, native to the islands of Mindanao and Palawan, has evolved in a way that makes it both easier and more flexible for Duterte to convey information and ideas.
“The language is like a mirror, it can be broken into two parts, the upper part is written, the lower part is spoken, but it’s not written as if it’s a piece of paper,” said Mariam Dusenberry, an associate professor at the University of the Philippines at Manila.
“It’s just like writing, it’s always written in English, but I can make it in Filipino.
It can be written in Japanese, it might be written as a Japanese sentence, it could be written like an English sentence.”
Duterte, the 45th president of the world’s most populous nation, has become a master of Filipino English in a country where few native speakers are fluent in the language.
His mastery of the language is a key component of his “people power” campaign that has sought to shift the countrys perception of itself as a democracy, while also encouraging Filipinos to adopt English.
The President, who has frequently referred to himself as a “nationalist,” has become the first Philippine leader in decades to hold a full-time job as an English teacher.
Dusenberries work as a translator for the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or DFAAT, which translates Filipino official documents into English.
The work was started with a $1.5 million donation by the Philippine Embassy in London, which has since grown to include the hiring of Filipino interpreters for Duterte’s speeches and meetings.
But while she said she’s always been interested in the languages spoken by the Filipino people, Dusensberds work is changing.
“I started to realize that it was my language,” Dusenburg said.
“I used to think that I am only learning English because I am a Filipino, but now I’m finding that I can learn English just because I have a native language.”
A native speaker, Dauphin Dusenchner, a Filipino-American woman, is an interpreter for the President.
Her mother, Mariah Dusenfors, is a Filipino language teacher.
“When I first started out, I had the sense that I was just going to learn the language, but this has changed.
It has made me see that it’s an instrument that I have, that I’m learning and it’s something that I should use,” Dauprisnner said.
Dausenberry has had a hard time making ends meet in her native Philippines, where she earns about $500 a month as a foreign exchange student.
“My parents always thought it would be difficult because I was working, but my husband and I have always been very supportive,” she said.
“If I didn’t have a job, it would not have been possible for me to continue to learn English, so it was a challenge for me,” Dausenbery said.
Her mother, who is fluent in English and Japanese, taught her about the Philippines and the language in the Philippines when she was younger, but she was also taught English at a Filipino school in Japan.
“She was always the first person to talk about the Philippine language,” said Dusencys mother, a retired professor of education.
Dauprisfs mother, in her late 50s, also has been a Filipino linguist for 20 years.
Her father, who taught her English and was fluent in Japanese at the same time, taught English in Japan, Dauserns mother said.
Dausencys father, a former diplomat, was also a translator in the 1960s and 70s, helping Filipinos in Manila who were unable to find jobs in the United States.
Duchess Diana, a Filipina who now lives in the U.S., also has a strong Filipino background, and she is also an English language teacher at a school in Maryland.
She was a translator at a Japanese school in the 1980s and 90s.
“You learn a lot about the people and the cultures that you are in.
I think it’s very hard to do, because we all have different languages, but we can learn together, and that’s really important,” Duchess said.
A Filipino-born woman, Duches was raised in the Filipino diaspora in Japan and came to the United State with her family when she went to college.
She got a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University at Albany in 1984 and a master’s degree from the UCL in 1997.
Dosenberry is currently teaching English to