Should an Expat Living In The Philippines Learn Filipino

Well that depends on what the expat wants to get from his stay.  For me, it is obvious, the answer is yes.  Humans are social animals.  True some of us are much more social than others. I’m probably near the low end of the need to socialize.  Yet, there is so much I’m missing because I can’t understand the language around me.  Sometimes I can’t communicate with people in shops.  This is less true in the big malls.  Even there communication is limited.  If I go beyond the basics, I get a blank stare.  My English doesn’t sound quite like theirs.  They speak in Filipino accent and I speak southern.  In my opinion the best form of English ever spoken but many don’t understand it or see it my way.  😎

I’m going to carry that southern accent into my learning of Cebuano, still, I’m going to do the best I can.  The people will respect you more if you can speak the language.  You’ll never fully understand the culture of the people unless you speak their language.   The better you understand the language, the more you will understand.

If there are words that don’t even exist in one language or the other, that will tell you much.  Last night, on National Geographic I learned that a group of islanders called Europeans by the same word they used for venereal disease because there was no venereal disease until the Europeans showed up!  Maybe not be a favorable side of the culture but none the less, that is clearly insight into a couple of cultures.

If you don’t care anything about the people or the land in which you live, then no, don’t bother but I just can’t understand why someone would want to live in a land where they don’t care about the people.  I’m sure there are other reasons not to learn, some may not have time, others may care but not have the energy to learn.  Heck I could fall into that group myself but I hope I don’t let that be the case with me.  I really want to learn.

Since my budget doesn’t allow me to hire a tutor at this time and I can’t find one close by, I will learn the best way I can.  See my article on this site about how to learn Cebuano or Tagalog.

Finally, Filipino may be the wrong language.  Filipino is one of the National Languages in the Philippines.  Many will say it is Tagalog but the OFFICIAL language is Filipino which is a government approved version of the language.


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Filed under: Expats in the PhilippinesExpats Living in Cebu

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