Philippine languages..

Discussion in 'General' started by Sabre, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. Sabre

    Sabre New Member

    Hi all -

    Please forgive me if I did not post this in the correct section. I am interested in learning some basics of Filipino language. But like many (I believe) non Filipinos, I am a bit confused on what would be the best to learn. From my visits many years ago to PI, I believe Tagalog should be my area of focus. But I have also heard that in Cebu they speak something else and that even in Manila they speak something else entirely. I would like to learn some basics as I feel it is a form of respect to my teachers and to the art I study.

    Can someone please advise an old bald dumb guy(that's me) :)
  2. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    As some one who has been involved with the Filipino martial culture and married to a filipina for more than 30 yrs, I would suggest that you learn some tagalog.

    When I first got to the Philippines, we were told that there are 3 major ways that even filipinos would speak to other filipinos..

    The first one would be in their own dialect.
    The second would be in Tagalog
    The third would be in English as a last resort. (you have to remember that at one time the Philippines was the second largest american english speaking country outside of the US).

    My trips to the Philippines have been pretty much of an annual pilgrimage.

    I would suggest that you learn some tagalog until you get the chance to find out what dialect your instructors speak and then you can pick up the appropriate phases to get your conversation across.

    Defensive Tactics Systems
  3. Sheldon Bedell

    Sheldon Bedell New Member

    Would a person only speaking English be able to get along and make themslefs understood until thery learned Tagalog?
    I ask as one who speaks only english
  4. Sabre

    Sabre New Member

    Hi Bill -

    Thank you for the info and your insight. This is exactly what I was looking for. Time to begin my studies :D

    Thanks again,
  5. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    For the most part, you can get by with speaking english. But if you get away from the major cities, you might run into a problem as english is not as prevelant in it's use as it was back in the 70s.. But, you can get your point across with the people as english is still spoken and taught in the schools..

    If you go to the Philippines, take your time and get the feel of the people, treat them as you would want to be treated and you will not have any problems.. The Filipino hospitality is top notch and will give you an experience of a life time.. Take the time and go to visit some of the historical aspects of the islands and learn as much as you can because
    the Filipino/American/Spanish ties are still remarkably intact and you can see the different phases of the history by doing a little sight seeing to any of the cities..

    This is why I classify the Philippines as my second home and when I retire in 4 yrs, my new homestead is going to be in the Pampanga region of central Luzon..

    With this central location, I am an hour or two from Manila, 4 hrs from Cebu and a few other other places of importance in the history of the Filipino Martial Culture.

    Defensive Tactics
  6. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Is Tagalog the main language of instruction in the schools, or does it vary by region?
  7. citom

    citom New Member

    The official languages of instruction at the primary and secondary level are Filipino (de fact standardized Tagalog) and English. Some schools have instruction in the local dialect.

    Article XIV, Section 7 of the Philippine Constitution of 1987 states that: "Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system." and: "The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein."
  8. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I've had the difference between Filipino and Tagalog explained to me before, but to be honest I don't fully get it! It sounds like in practice they're quite similar.
  9. citom

    citom New Member

    Yes in practice they're quite similar. Filipino is Tagalog Based even if the 1987 constitution does not acknowledge it. However, the name itself shows that it differs (albeit slightly) from traditional Tagalog, as the Tagalog alphabet does not contain the letter F.
    From wikipedia
    Traditional Tagalog (as spoken in provinces like Bulacan, Batangas, Laguna and Quezon) can be different from the nationally accepted Filipino. Just as an example, the small lemon like fruit known as calamansi all over the PH, is called sintones in Laguna.

    So in answer to the original posters query, it will probably be dependent on which area of the country he will stay in. For example, in Cebu, the first language of most people there would be Cebuano, but most, if not all, would be able to to understand Filipino (ie de facto Tagalog), because of school.

    Since I was born and grew up in Metro Manila, I speak Tagalog and English.. my wife, who hails from Iligan City in Mindanao, speaks Tagalog, Cebuano and English. My father, who was born in Pangasinan, speaks Pangasinense, English and Tagalog.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2007
  10. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Ah yes, the F should have been the giveaway! Thanks for the details.
    I am fortunate that so many Filipinos speak English--I would have had great trouble otherwise.
  11. citom

    citom New Member

    English is an official language and a medium of instruction in primary, secondary and tertiary education in the Philippines. In fact, in the private schools, one might say English is the main medium of instruction. That's probably one of legacies of the American Occupation of the Philippines.
    We have many teachers from the Philippines now migrating to the US to teach at the primary and secondary level. They are the second biggest group of professionals going to the US, the first being the nurses.
  12. viejo

    viejo New Member

    There are many foreigner going actually to the PH to learn English, specially fro Korea....In UP Los Banios (Laguna) u will see and found not a lot but groups of them learning english and they have a contract with UP los banios for mor than 2 years if Im not wrong to rent almost all the houses in the campus while the stay there....
  13. viejo

    viejo New Member


    But seems English in the new generations isnt as good as it was in the old ones and I hope they ill do something to avoid that since English is one of the reason so many foreigners going there to study that language and so many OFW (english and the good preparation ath school):
    English is an official language here, along with the native Tagalog. Yet the U.S. State Department, in its "2007 Investment Climate Statement," released this month, concluded: "English-language proficiency, while still better than in other Southeast Asian nations, is declining in the Philippines."

    you can read all here:
  14. young blade

    young blade New Member

    Philippines is an archipelago. Almost every island has its own dialect. That's what made it a bit confusing
  15. seobeglobal

    seobeglobal New Member

    i worked with some Filipinos and all of them spoke tagalog, and it was similar to spanish, at least few words. is it right?
  16. viejo

    viejo New Member

    Yes there are many words in Tagalog that are loanwords from spanish, some from Mexico (Aztecas) (they were brought to the PH as slaves by the spaniards) and also some from malay.....a normal interaction in my opinion.....
  17. citom

    citom New Member
  18. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Officially the medium of instruction is Tagalog and English, but in practice that isn't always the case. Tagalog, Social Studies and I think the Home Ec/Tech Ed classes were all supposed to be taught in Tagalog, regardless of region. As a Peace Corps volunteer I taught in a provincial high school in Cebu. Classes were taught in a mixture of english, tagalog and cebuano. Generally they fell back on cebuano a lot because the students weren't very proficient in english or tagalog. In other areas it gets even more complicated because of Regional and Local dialects on top of the english and tagalog.

  19. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

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