Thursday, June 29, 2017

Teaching Filipino or Learning Tagalog Chronicle #1

I think the best way to approach learning a language is to learn it by the things you're interested in. My son Matt happens to play the drums and I personally love OPM or Original Pilipino Music that is played by Pinoy rock bands. So I found a way to make teaching/learning Tagalog/Filipino a little less painful.

By the way, the official national language of the Philippines is "Filipino." But because of the Manila-centric government and history of the Philippines, it is controversial how Filipino, which is based on the Tagalog dialect, was chosen as a national language. For instance, the Visayans would prefer the national language to be Bisaya. People from places like Davao would probably agree.
But, for better or worse, Tagalog or Filipino is the national language. I just like referring to it as Tagalog to place importance that it is the Tagalog dialect and that there are a whole lot of other dialects we have in the Philippines.

So, anyway, on to the lesson.

Matt is enrolled in the School of Rock in Greenhills and one of his jam sessions was to play the Eraserheads' song "El Bimbo." 


So I took the time to play the song for him. My husband AR and I sang along to it while Matt listened. Then I found a lyrics only video and translated the song line by line.


P. S. Since Matt is 13, I told him about the "adult jokes" within the song, such as the line "Tumitigas ang aking... katawan" and the line "Dahan-dahang dumudulas ang aking kamay sa makinis mong braso." 

If you are teaching a smaller child Filipino/Tagalog, I suggest to go with the nursery songs, such as "Paa, Tuhod, Balikat, Ulo", "Ako ay May Lobo", etc.

Then I proceeded with two lessons on basic pronunciation of Filipino letters and sounds. Some of these he knew already so I skipped the basic pronunciations of the consonants and the vowels. I just paused to emphasize that we pronounce "ll" as "ly", such as in Villegas (Vilyegas). Some vowels have a different sound when pronouncing, such as when "lalaki" is pronounced as "lalake."



We took a break at this point, had dinner, then I proceeded to show him two YouTube videos.


Since Matt already knows the basics of the greetings, I skipped forward a lot through the video and just paused to emphasize that when speaking to an older person or as a show of respect, we add "po" and "opo" and rather than use "ikaw" or "you" (informal), we use "kayo" or "you" (plural, or, formally, when showing respect to an older person or person of authority).

I also paused the video to let him listen to why "naman" was used in a sentence. In the context, "Mabuti po naman," it means "I am fine too." So, here, "naman" is translated into "too." But Matt and I quickly agreed that there really isn't any literal translation to "naman."

The last video was this one:


Although of course, we prefer Matt to speak in straight Tagalog, it doesn't hurt for him to use a quick Taglish phrase when needed. 

Hopefully, we will be able to continue this pace and he will feel comfortable enough to actually speak Filipino at the end of these chronicles. I guess he really won't have any choice once he starts going to high school.

Oh and while eating dinner, we watched a telenovela on TV. And, to close, we watched this video for fun, since it's on the Top 10 MYX OPM Countdown.


To God be the glory!

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