Sometime in 2003, I wrote a father-and-son conversation in this column about the obtuse, imprecise English of some Philippine educators in scholarly articles that were being serialized in the op-ed page of a major national newspaper. That column, entitled “When Educators Befuddle,” quoted (among several others) this particularly nebulous statement from one of the articles: “Basically, globalization indicates a qualitative deepening of the internationalization process, strengthening the functional and weakening the territorial dimension of development.”

The son, a high school junior who fancied himself good in English, found the statement “very impressive” but told his father that he couldn’t seem to understand what it was saying. The father, after quickly going over the article, said the educator probably meant to say that “Globalization is a deeper form of internationalization, one where a nation’s drive for development becomes more important than its territorial size,” or, in even simpler English, that “A nation can be small but it can become a major world economic power.”

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