The Philippine economy has been growing stronger over the last few years, attracting a number of international companies to invest and set up shop in the country. As a result, more and more expats are relocating to the Philippines for work. Although English is widely spoken throughout the Philippines, it may still be a good idea for foreigners to learn Filipino, the local language, especially for those who plan to stay in the Philippines.
Fortunately, learning Filipino is easier than it sounds. This is mostly because the language uses the Roman alphabet, which means you don’t have to learn a brand new alphabet. On top of this, the language has no silent letters, which means words will often be read exactly as they are spelled. These two are among the many reasons why learning how to speak, read, and write in Tagalog is relatively simple compared to some other languages.
Still, there are a few ways you can make learning Filipino even easier. If you are interested in learning Filipino, here are a few tips you can try:
Enroll in Filipino Classes for Foreigners
Many language centers, like The Study, will offer Tagalog 101 classes or Filipino classes for foreigners. Tagalog is one of the main dialects of the Filipino language and is the dialect taught in schools throughout the country, which is why most Filipino classes will focus on this dialect. An introductory short course is often enough to help you learn how to hold simple conversations in relatively fluent Tagalog with locals.
Keep a Small Notebook Filled with Words
Keep a small notebook that you can keep in your pocket or in your bag at all times. Fill it with a few lessons from your classes, as well as several words that you want to add to your vocabulary. You can then use this notebook to review during your free time, such as during the ride from your residence to your office or during your lunch break.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Locals The Meaning of Certain Words
Filipinos are some of the friendliest people in the world and are genuinely happy to see foreigners making the effort to learn Tagalog. As you continue to socialize with your local co-workers and friends, you’ll inevitably hear them talking in Filipino. Try to keep up and don’t be afraid to pause a group conversation if you don’t understand what a particular word or expression means. Not all Filipino words and expressions translate well into English and your friends would be more than happy to teach you the meaning of words you’re struggling with.
Listen to Local Radio or Podcasts
There are times when the exact pronunciation of Tagalog words can be difficult to determine just by reading words off of a textbook. To help you with this, try listening to local radio stations or podcasts to hear the pronunciation of certain words. This is a great way to learn vocabulary as well since many of the top radio stations and podcasts speak in “Taglish” or a mix of both Tagalog and English. This is helpful since you can use context clues to understand the meaning of some words you may not be familiar with. Overall, listening to local radio and podcasts also helps you get used to how fast the language is spoken.