Every so often I would wonder what has caused the diminishing skills of a vast majority of our youth in speaking and writing the English language.

For the longest time I have believed that American English, as it is spoken in various BPOs and contact centers, who focus on teaching their practitioners to mimic the sound of the English language, neglect the fact that language is not only intonation and pronunciation, but primarily idiom.

American idiom cannot be truly understood unless one has developed a solid footing in American literature and, consequently, American living. One does not have to live in the US, or even experience living in the US to acquire this. One does not even have to speak Americanized English to know American idiom. We learned it in school during our time, backed up with Voyages in English text books, and readers published by Ginn and Company.

I recently had a short-lived argument–more like an argument that never was–with a fellow Facebook user. Not a friend, but someone who, same as I, had commented on a page whose administrator kept advising its users to “keep posted” for promised updates. “Keep posted,” it said, over and over again, to anyone who had asked for updates on an event that had been apparently postponed.

Miffed as I was both with the postponement and the horrible English, I pointed out their mistake on the same thread. “We’ll keep you posted,” I said, “or We will post updates soon, or we will keep you posted on this. NOT “keep posted.” There has to be something in between the keep and the posted. Keep me posted. I’ll keep you posted. We’ll keep everyone posted. NOT “keep posted.”

After I said that, this user wrote in defense of the page’s admins, saying that “keep posted” was idiomatically correct.

DB: oh, mali yung “keep posted”? it’s an idiom, dude. it’s the same with keep yourself posted.

And further down the line again …

DB: hi, bambit, it’s okay. i just wanted you to know that SM was grammatically correct with “keep posted”

So I looked up who this person might be, which was as easy as clicking on the About link in his/her profile. I think she intentionally left it public for fussy people like me.

English teacher. English Club moderator. Academic Consultant for English. Academic Writer for the International Writers Guild.

Wow.

No, I was not impressed with her credentials. On the contrary, if this is the calibre of the current crop of English teachers, then I should no longer wonder why our kids no longer speak English as well as we used to.

I did not argue with her, not because I knew what she did for a living. I did not argue with her because she was quite secure in her belief that “keep posted” was indeed correct idiom, despite the fact that another user had pointed out the mistake in more emphatic terms.

JDS: ‘dre tama kasi yung “we’ll keep you posted”. kahit kanino ka pa makipag-argue na marunong sa english. hindi ako nang-aaway ah, sinasabi ko lang din.

Which futher proves my point. You don’t even have to be a native English speaker, dude. You just have to know what’s correct.

If it’s not idiomatic, it’s idiotic.

If it’s not idiomatic

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