Do you already live in the Philippines? If not, are you really planning to live here? If the answer is yes to either question, then I have a tip for you. Learn the language. Yes, I’ve written about this many times, and yes, I am writing about it again. In my opinion, this is one of the best things that you can do to improve the lifestyle that you will have when you live here. Being able to easily communicate with the local people will make you life easier, less isolated, and just more fun, in my opinion. My opinion is based on the fact that I lived here for for more than 7 years wihtout knowing the language. I started studying with a language teacher at that point, and I can see and fee the difference in the life that I live today compared to before I started learning.
So, if you are not a regular reader, I am sure that you are thinking that I started studying Tagalog. Sorry, if you think that, you are incorrect. Actually, I am learning how to speak Bisaya (also known as Cebuano, although there are other varients of Bisaya too). Bisaya is the most common language spoken in the Visayas region and also in Mindanao, where I live. There are two national languages of the Philippines, English and Pilipino (based on Tagalog). Tagalog is mostly spoken widely on the island of Luzon, and I don’t go up there often (it’s been almost 5 years!), so I chose to study Bisaya, so that I can communicate with the local people where I live. Now, whether you choose Tagalog, Bisaya, or any of the 80+ languages spoken in the Philippines, that’s up to you. In today’s article, though, I want to give you a little tip on an easy way to learn some words that will come in handy for you.
One of the first things you can do, no matter where you live, is to start learning some vocabulary! Learn the names of things that are all around you in your daily life! Actually, I’m going to tell you a way to make this a very simple thing to do! Get some index cards, or small pieces of paper, and write down the names of things around your house. Write down the Bisaya (or whatever language you want or need to learn) for door (pultahan) and tape this paper to the door in your house. Write down lamesa and put it on your table. Write down telebisyon and put it on the TV set. Do this for all of the things around your house. Every day, as you walk around the house, pay attention to all the little signs that you have taped up all over the place! Before you know it, you will start remembering these new words!
One thing that you need to be careful of is the proper pronunciation of the words. If you are married to somebody from the Philippines, ask them to clearly tell you how to pronounce the words, or find somebody else at work, or somewhere else who can help you with that.
Just a year or two after we moved to the Philippines, I started doing this, and I did learn a lot of words this way. As I said earlier in this article, I did not learn how to speak the language until much later, but learning some words helped me a lot too. And, later, when I seriously started learning to speak the language, having some basis in vocabulary proved to be very helpful to me.
Of course, learning words and learning to speak a language or totally different. You must do one in order to do the other, though. Knowing words alone will not enable you to make phrases and sentances properly, but then again, if you don’t know the words you certainly can’t speak at all, can you?
Good luck to you, and give it your best to learn the language! You won’t ever regret it!