I know that many of you may be holding back from learning Tagalog because you’re afraid it will consist of long hours of focusing on boring grammar rules. And you may be afraid that it won’t be useful for a long time, because there’s so much to learn. Well don’t worry, that’s not how it has to be.
Filipino language and Tagalog are at least for the purpose of this blog interchangeable And since my teaching process is the same, regardless of what term you want to use, I will be using both terms in this blog as well.
Many teachers focus on grammar rules. And while I realize that some grammar rules are important, I find it’s much better for my students if they learn conversational Tagalog.
This is why I focus on Filipino lessons that will prepare my student to go out and use their new language in the real world. It’s a lot more fun. And a lot more useful. The whole goal of your learning is to help you have a better life, not memorize things you may never use. And there are so many ways Filipino language lessons can help you and improve your life.
Most Filipinos are friendly and kind, and they will often go out of their way to help a foreigner. They typifically have a great sense of humor too. Which is often referred to as being jolly. And while most Filipinos speak at least some English (it is after all, an official language of the Philippines) it is always appreciated when a foreigner speaks to them in the native language of the Philippines.
I know everyone has their own reasons for wanting to learn to speak Filipino. Some of my students want to be closer to a loved one. And I can tell you from my own experience that there are not many ways to show your girlfriend, wife, boyfriend or husband that you care about them more, than to make the effort to learn how to talk to them in their native tongue. I have actually had students take months of lessons in secret, and then surprise their girlfriend by talking to them in Filipino. What a wonderful surprise it was! And an amazing reason to learn Filipino!
Other students wish to learn Tagalog because they are moving to the Philippines, and they realize knowing the language will help them in their day to day life. As mentioned, English is widely spoken in the Philippines, but it can still sometimes be difficult to communicate without knowing Filipino.
If you are in Manila, it’s easier to get by speaking only English, but if you go into the more rural areas (we refer to these areas of the Philippines as the Province) it will be significantly harder to communicate if you don’t know how to speak Tagalog.
Also, as you can probably imagine, there’s a strong correlation between level of education and English proficiency. In other words, you shouldn’t have a hard time communicating with your doctor or dentist in English. But you might have a problem telling your taxicab driver how to get to the doctor’s office. It will also make it much easier in situations as negotiating prices in street markets or the fare with a tricycle driver, if you know how to speak Tagalog.
And if my student wishes to learn about the culture of the Philippines, I’m more than happy to help them with that as well. Because I believe that fitting in isn’t just about learning Tagalog. It’s about understanding the local culture. What is considered polite. And what is considered impolite. And understanding Tagalog slang and idioms. And knowing what’s important to Filipinos. And what is important to know if you are in the Philippines.
In summary, I believe it’s much more important to teach my students what they need to best function in day to day situations. And how to speak and understand Tagalog as quickly as possible. In my career I’ve had the privilege of teaching students from over two dozen different countries. This experience has helped me become a better language teacher. And give me the confidence in knowing that if you wish to learn to speak Filipino, I can help you too.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, or to schedule a free 30 minute introductory lesson.