FYI, ‘carnap’ is real English because Philippine English is valid


Just like American and British English, there’s such a thing as Philippine English.

So using the word “carnap” for a vehicle thief is totally valid.

For some context, the whole discussion about whether or not the way the terms are used correctly came up after one Twitter user said that “kidnap” and “carnap” are “local inventions” and are “not real English.”

But as a Filipino sociolinguist pointed out, Philippine English is real English.

“[Philippine English] is a variety of the English language that exists in the Philippines. There is such a thing as World Englishes,” Jecon Dreisbach, who’s taking up a PhD on Critical Sociolinguistics, wrote on Twitter.

He also said that the “Standard” American and British Englishes have been evolving, taking in other terms used by the language’s other varieties.

What in the world is Philippine English?

Since the Philippines was colonized by the Americans, we inherited English from them. As the language was woven into our culture—and even became one of our official languages—a Filipino variety of English evolved.

The Oxford English Dictionary characterized Philippine English by how it borrows words from Filipino as well as Spanish—thus we have words like “balikbayan box,” “despedida party,” and “kikay kit.”

Philippine English translates words directly from other languages and changes its functions. Sometimes it also maintains terms that American English no longer uses. For instance, “carnapper” is widely used in the country while it’s not something you hear in the US or UK. Filipinos also use the word “salvage” to mean “executing without trial” instead of its original English meaning of “to rescue.”

In August 2020, Dr. Danica Salazar, world editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, said that Philippine English is acceptable.

“[It’s] not slang. It is not wrong. It is not carabao English, or any other derogatory word that’s been used over the years,” she said.

“Philippine English has as much of a place in the history in the lexicon of the English language as all these other varieties.”

So there’s no point in shaming people for using Philippine English over the “standard” American one. Besides, having everyone in the world just speak the same kind of English because it’s “easier” to understand reeks of colonialism.

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