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At the start of the year, Inner Magic Club introduced an English Night every first-Wednesday meeting of the month.

During English Nights, members are required to speak exclusively in English. Those who speak another language (say, Tagalog) are to be penalized P50 per word.

PhotobucketNot surprisingly, every first Wednesday night, most members fall silent, adopting the old Chinese saying, “No talk, no mistake”. As a result, it seems Johnny English has attended the meeting and put a gun on everyone’s head demanding silence and order in the room.

It happened that one English Night, Prof. Al Leonidas attended the meeting, unaware of the language rule of the night. The following day, he sent this message by email:

Hi Sir Leo,
When I arrived (7:30 pm) at the club I was surprised there were only three people. I wonder where everybody had gone. I was surprised I was inserted into the English night!  The Club got my P100 for speaking Tagalog…!


I wish the board members will review their position.  As to the penalty thing, definitely it will not work out.  It has to come from one’s motivation.
I was not briefed on the objectives of the said portion of the month on the English night, thus I will assume that it is based on the following:
1. To have a venue where members can express themselves in the English language.
2.  To be abreast on using English as a second language.
This is speculative but I will hazard an opinion.
I was kind of surprised about the English Night, but I enjoyed it. However, I suggest that the board should review its policy on this matter.
In my observation of the English Night, many members had the difficulty to express themselves in English. I understand that fully well, because their mother tongue is in the vernacular (Tagalog). Thus, the period was spent as a joking time, which could be a waste of time in tackling vital agenda.  
To tackle a vital agenda a free flow of expressed ideas will come not from English but from the vernacular in which English is added.  Thus, this will be vernacular + English.  Our educational system by law recognizes the English and Filipino combination of teaching. 
Statistically, most of the members grew up with the native vernacular as their native tongue, thus they can express their communicative competence in Tagalog.
In a theory of communication, one express well a particular meaning or message via the lingua franca, that is what is used as a custom, Tagalog.
Definitely, the English night will not be able to meet its goal expectation, rather it can only retard the communicative competence of the members since most of them use the vernacular which is Tagalog.
The tendency of the English night is to dissuade people from attending the said night.
This night I observed that when the English night was lifted, member participation in the discussion became alive and it increased.  


My suggestion here is that abolish the said policy and place a learning process on English. Thus, you can invite resource person to teach English as a mode of communication.  I think most of the members should be given training on vocabulary, sentence construction, pronunciation, listening and writing in English.  If the Club is going to embark on this training, then it will be for the benefit of the Club members.
As the members learn slowly then they will be able to use English as second language.
Having a penalty is a dis-incentive for members to participate on a communicative process.  Thus, this policy should be reviewed.  Instead of a penalty in-place, a learning environment should be provided.  A penalty is always a threat, thus, members are not going to attend a particular session. You can check the attendance for an empirical study.
Hooray when you learn English, but the best route to learn English is our knowledge of the vernacular.  


Anybody can learn English as a second language, but it takes constant study and usage of the said language.
This is my expressed opinion.
Thank you for your time.
Prof. AL Leonidas

In the next post, I will respond to Prof. Al’s concerns.

Stay tuned and magical,