When In Rome

There’s a saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. I suppose that means speaking in the Roman language, which is Latin (so it would be:  si fueris R?mae, R?m?n? v?vit? m?re; si fueris alib?, v?vit? sicut ibi). It does make sense and I wholeheartedly agree. No sense getting into a miscommunication and getting yourself sold off to slavery or, worse, getting the wrong end of a gladius. Besides, it’s the perfect opportunity to practice your Latin.

So I was in Davao over the weekend and I had the opportunity to talk with people and practice my not-to-often-used Cebuano. What struck me is that the ostensibly more upscale workers (salesladies, receptionists, clerks, etc) would talk to me in Tagalog even though I was initiating the conversation in Cebuano. I don’t know if they are taking pity on my Cebuano or they’re practicing Tagalog. Personally, I don’t think my Cebuano is that bad. Nor do I think they need to practice their perfect Tagalog.

But if they indeed are practicing another language, they might as well be practicing English. Tagalog offers no competitive advantage. English at least is our global competitive advantage. Other countries are trying hard to improve their English skills. Everybody should continue honing their English. And more importantly, I get to do so, too.