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New Language Mission: Speak Tagalog (Filipino) in 2 months

| 91 comments | Category: mission

It’s time for the first language mission of 2011!

I am actually hoping to work on four new languages by September, so this is going to be one hell of a year, and I hope you’ll subscribe and read along to get some tips for your own language missions :)

So, in a few short hours I’ll be flying to the Philippines. I’ve never been there before, and as always in my travels, I’m being as spontaneous as possible in plans for what I’ll be doing while in the country.

My vague plan is to spend a few days in Manila and then figure out when there where I’d like to spend the rest of my time to best see how to get to know the Philippines, and Filipinos themselves, in my own way.

Conversational Tagalog

And of course, while there I will be learning Tagalog (a.k.a. Filipino) as the official first language mission of 2011!

Right now everything I know about the language is what I have read in its Wikipedia entry, but by the end of February I am hoping to be able to reach a conversational level of the language.

“Conversational” (as opposed to fluent) is quite hard to define, so I will simply say that I’m aiming for the same kind of level that I reached in Hungarian in two months, which you can hear me speak (with subtitles) here. This basically means that I want to be able to spontaneously and comfortably converse with natives about non-complicated subjects, but I’ll still hesitate when speaking and perhaps need them to speak slowly for me.

Why only 2 months?

Yes, I know this doesn’t agree with the blog title, but I already have a different language mission that may be even more interesting planned for March.

This will be a good chance to “dip my toes” into the language and culture and decide if I want to come back later to continue improving my level.

What made you choose Tagalog?

As explained in the site FAQ, I don’t travel to learn languages. I learn languages to travel, i.e. to greatly improve my travel experience.

My decision was only location/culture based and not influenced even slightly by linguistics. I have met many very friendly Filipinos and heard fantastic things about the country so I’d like to discover it first hand, in immersion style as I usually like in my travels.

The fact that it is an Asian rather than European language, hard grammar points or easy other aspects of Tagalog/Filipino compared to other languages are very poor reasons to “pick” a language in my opinion. If you don’t have other solid motivation to passionately learn a language, then unless you are a language nerd (nothing wrong with that!) I can’t see how you could make useful progress quickly.

The best reason to learn a language is because you intend to use it.

My motivation to learn Tagalog will be entirely for the purposes of enhancing my experience communicating with Filipinos.

Language Hacking Guide update (including Tagalog)

There are many things I do to rapidly progress in my abilities to communicate in a language. Most of it is of course speaking from day one, the many ways I do so being the theme of the Language Hacking Guide. A non-spoken aspect of this involves reading in the target language, so I of course had the guide translated to Tagalog :)

Since I wrote the book, I obviously know what it says pretty well, so I’ll be applying the Stone of Rosetta concept of using the native written form of a target language for a particular text and knowing its English translation, to help me progress. I know a few readers do this with other books available in multiple languages, like Harry Potter and The Little Prince, and I’m glad to see them doing it with my book too!

As well as Tagalog, this week I’ve included several new full translations of the contents of the Language Hacking Guide (provided as PDFs, ePUB for iPad/iPod etc., mobi for the Kindle (when the language’s script is supported) & printable versions) that I’m adding to the set, bringing the total translations of the entire guide to 19 now. All written by natives of course. The ones in bold are the new ones as of today:

English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Dutch, Irish, Czech, Vietnamese, Arabic, Hindi, Romanian & Tagalog.

I’ve also confirmed that the Japanese translation will be in the next update in a few weeks. The Japanese translator was recommended to me by Khatzumoto from alljapaneseallthetime.com

I was hoping to include the Russian one in this update, but its inclusion has been delayed until the next update too. All updates are free to those who already bought it of course!

So if you’ve got a New Year’s Resolution to learn a language, then now may be the best time to get your copy of the Language Hacking Guide! :) Maybe like me you’ll be trying to read it in your target language (using the English or other as a reference) to get you into the feeling of immersion quicker ;)

Theme for next weeks: Skepticism

As always, I’ll end the mission with a video of me speaking the language. If possible, I’ll try to make videos earlier to show how I’m making the transition and progressing, and I’ll be writing regular updates on twitter and Facebook from the country about my travels as always.

I hope the transparency of these missions shows you that yes, I really am learning the language! ;) It will indeed be a struggle, but my focus on optimism will help me progress faster, so you can bet I’ll be sharing that with everyone from the perspective of this new language!

Those who have been reading the blog for a while will know that I tend to have themes for the posts. Last year for example during the German C2 exam mission I brought attention to the inefficiency of study-based learning, and during the Hungarian mission I wanted to get rid of this silly idea of hardest language.

These next weeks, among other things, I’ll be talking about the importance of being skeptical towards promises given by so many courses or strange learning methods, and will answer typical questions I get about what I talk about on this blog, since some things I say also require skepticism before acceptance.

As an engineer, I have to look at things practically and logically and I feel this really gives me a huge edge in learning languages, travelling efficiently and generally getting the most I can out of life!

So read along, join me while learning your own new language and share your thoughts in the comments below or show this post to your friends on Facebook!

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If you enjoyed this post, you will love my TEDx talk! You can get much better details of how I recommend learning a language if you watch it here.

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  • http://twitter.com/tincruz Kristine Cruz

    I’m sure you can learn Tagalog in 2 months! :) I’m a Filipino, but I learned Polish in about 2-3 months :P and I swear to you – Tagalog is waaaay easier than other European languages :P All the best! :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      There are aspects that make languages harder than they should be, and I’m glad to see that you are demonstrating one of the most important things: that native speakers will be encouraging ;)

      Whether grammar & vocabulary aspects are harder or easier relative to other languages is less important to me than this :D Thanks for confirming!!

      • http://twitter.com/tincruz Kristine Cruz

        I’ve always encouraged other people to learn some new language, like Tagalog when I was in Poland. It’s fun to see them really get into it! :) Cheers! I hope you’ll have a blast while you stay in my country :P

        Here’s a little inspiration for you – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZf00xELwKo

        • http://twitter.com/hrhenry Rick Henry

          Entertaining video. “Dude, this job is, like, hard”.

          I bet they learned a couple valuable lessons that day. :-)

        • http://twitter.com/hrhenry Rick Henry

          Entertaining video. “Dude, this job is, like, hard”.

          I bet they learned a couple valuable lessons that day. :-)

        • http://twitter.com/hrhenry Rick Henry

          Entertaining video. “Dude, this job is, like, hard”.

          I bet they learned a couple valuable lessons that day. :-)

        • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

          Haha funny video :)

          Just arrived, already enjoying it!

          • http://twitter.com/tincruz Kristine Cruz

            Glad to hear it. If you need help or want some crash course, my friend (he knows a bit of French and Dutch) and I are willing to help you out ;P

      • http://twitter.com/tincruz Kristine Cruz

        I’ve always encouraged other people to learn some new language, like Tagalog when I was in Poland. It’s fun to see them really get into it! :) Cheers! I hope you’ll have a blast while you stay in my country :P

        Here’s a little inspiration for you – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZf00xELwKo

      • http://twitter.com/tincruz Kristine Cruz

        I’ve always encouraged other people to learn some new language, like Tagalog when I was in Poland. It’s fun to see them really get into it! :) Cheers! I hope you’ll have a blast while you stay in my country :P

        Here’s a little inspiration for you – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZf00xELwKo

    • http://tomfrompoland.com Tom from Poland

      Hello Kristine :-)

      Polish in about 2-3 months :-) Very impressive. I’m Polish native and I know how hard are some of aspect of my language in comparison to for example other European languages like English. But positive attitude make case for “the hardest” language doesn’t exist! It difference to learn language from other family, with other structure but it isn’t impossible.

      • http://twitter.com/tincruz Kristine Cruz

        Cześć. Dziękuję za miłe słowa :P

        Hell yeah. Quite hard. But I’ve always believed that when you want to learn a language, your willingness fills up its hardness. I’ve known people who was in Poland for 10 months, like me, and they cannot communicate as well as I do, because they do not want to learn. :) so Benny’s willingness makes it easy for him to actually know the language. :P

    • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

      Oh awesome, how convenient, I was just mentioning in my previous comment to Benny how I’m curious about this, so you can maybe answer this for me: I’m almost certainly going to learn Tagalog at some point, and I understand that it borrows heavily from both English and Spanish so I was wondering: if you already speak English and Spanish (I do), will that help when learning Tagalog?

      Also, do most people in the Philippines speak Tagalog fluently, because I noticed on the wikipedia page that there are about the same number of Cebuano speakers as there are Tagalog speakers–do people in Cebu also speak Tagalog fluently or would I have to also learn Cebuano if I wanted to spend some time in Cebu and be able to converse with people?

      Thanks in advance for your help.

      Cheers,
      Andrew

      P.S. I tried to check out your site via your Twitter profile and it seems to not exist (?).

      • http://twitter.com/tincruz Kristine Cruz

        Hmm. Let’s put it this way: I’ve known English and Tagalog since I was born, and it made me learn Spanish really easier. A lot of Tagalog words are from Spanish descent, so I believe it would be pretty easy. Personally, whenever I read or hear Spanish, I can sort of understand the meaning, although not each word. So I bet you’d learn it quite easy, as well. :)

        As for Cebuano or Tagalog, I believe (and I think a lot of people will agree with me) that a lot of Cebuano speakers also know Tagalog quite well. Cebuano’s mostly spoken in Cebu alone, but if you know Tagalog, you can pretty much survive in almost anywhere in the country, be it up north or down south.

        And about my site, it has already been cancelled :p will update it to my other blogs instead.

        Cheers!

        • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

          Thank you, Kristine, that was very useful (especially the bit about Cebuano), I look forward to visiting your country :)

          Cheers,
          Andrew

          • Gildonbosco

            Hi Andrew,

            I am Pinoy (Filipino). Let’s put it this way. A Tagalog (from the Tagalog speaking provinces) in all probability won’t be able to understand much less speak Cebuano but a Cebuano will be able to speak or at least understand Tagalog. Tagalog is the national language and as such, education is based on it and the English language. That’s the reason why Filipinos even in other parts of the country will be able to understand and more likely speak Tagalog and English.

            Cheers,
            Gil

          • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

            Ok, cool, I just was worried that they wouldn’t speak Tagalog in Cebu but that doesn’t appear to be the case: everyone speaks Tagalog, most speak English, and certain other groups also speak a local dialect. Which is awesome because it makes my job that much easier (I already speak English and learning Tagalog will really make sure I’m completely covered).

            Thanks for your help. I really do look forward to visiting your country eventually.

            Cheers,
            Andrew

        • GeraldSA

          Hi Kristine/Andrew,

          I am a Cebuano and know how to speak Tagalog(commonly mistaken for Filipino but they are pretty much alike), Cebuano(Bisaya) and English… and Kristine is right in saying that most Cebuanos will understand Tagalog – but may not necessarily speak it well. (It’s easier to undertand than speak it because we do watch tagalog movies or tv shows).

          Also, Cebuano is the dialect for the Cebu island/area but Bisaya is the language of the visayas and most of Mindanao areas which comprises about 2/3rds of the Philippine land area. Cebuano and Bisaya are pretty much the same except for some words/phrases and are mostly interchangeable.

          Guess what I am saying is that if you know Tagalog, most of the country will understand you but people who speak Bisaya will have a harder time talking with you. If you know Bisaya too, then you can converse with more people in a lot of areas south of Luzon. In addition, most people who know Tagalog from Luzon probably don’t know much Bisaya because they aren’t exposed to it as much.

          Hope this helps you out!

        • GeraldSA

          Hi Kristine/Andrew,

          I am a Cebuano and know how to speak Tagalog(commonly mistaken for Filipino but they are pretty much alike), Cebuano(Bisaya) and English… and Kristine is right in saying that most Cebuanos will understand Tagalog – but may not necessarily speak it well. (It’s easier to undertand than speak it because we do watch tagalog movies or tv shows).

          Also, Cebuano is the dialect for the Cebu island/area but Bisaya is the language of the visayas and most of Mindanao areas which comprises about 2/3rds of the Philippine land area. Cebuano and Bisaya are pretty much the same except for some words/phrases and are mostly interchangeable.

          Guess what I am saying is that if you know Tagalog, most of the country will understand you but people who speak Bisaya will have a harder time talking with you. If you know Bisaya too, then you can converse with more people in a lot of areas south of Luzon. In addition, most people who know Tagalog from Luzon probably don’t know much Bisaya because they aren’t exposed to it as much.

          Hope this helps you out!

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcdragon Marc Dragon

    Hi Benny! I found out about this site from Khatzumoto and one of the main reasons why I was so interested in your site and bought your LHG was because of the mention of Tagalog. I was pleasantly suprised to see it included in the list of languages! I’m part filipino myself but I haven’t learnt the language yet (apparantly I spoke it fluently as a toddler but forgot it all as I grew older!) I’d really like to pick it up again and your post has spurred that on. I actually went to the Phillipines during the summer just gone by. We spent 7 weeks there and went all over the place. It helped that we had a lot of family there as some of the places are quite remote!

    We of course spent some time in Manila but we also travelled to my mother’s hometown of Pagadian City (the airport is TINY!), Osamis (a small city in the middle of a jungle), Bohol and Dumaguete. All these places are in the south of Philippines though and there they speak a different dialect (Visayan). For Tagalog-speaking areas you’re looking at the general area around Manila.

    Make sure to visit Tagaytay while you’re in Manila to see Taal Volcano. It’s supposedly the smallest volcano in the world! We were very lucky to see it when we went as it had been really foggy and rainy all day but when we got to the ridge to see the volcano the scenery had cleared up and we had a great view of the volcano :)

    If you don’t mind visiting areas in the Phillipines that don’t primarily speak Tagalog then I thoroughly recommend Bohol. It has so many beautiful things to see, experience and visit and the people there are really friendly and welcoming! They have the beautiful Chocolate Hills (and they really will look like chocolate hills during these summer months (it’s summer in the Philippines now, right?). You really need to be there to truely see how amazing they are! Also they have tarsiers (tiny monkeys with huge eyes, you’d recognise them if you see them) which are so cute! You can have lunch on the loboc river on a floating restaurant with live music and a waterfall at the end. The beaches are gorgeous white sand and blue seas, Panglao Island is the best place for them (just a short tricycle ride from bohol’s capital, Tagbilaran City). There’s tons more there but I’ve rambled on enough! I hope you have a great time in the Philippines and hope to join you on your quest for learning Tagalog in the near future!

  • Lasingmao

    Hi
    I’m a english speaker who is married to a filipina. I have spent a lot of time in the Philippines over the last 20 yers and even here in the UK I am in daily contact with Filipinos and hear the language spoken all the time.

    I don’t speak or understand more than a little Tagalog. I can use a few phrases and bluff my way occasionaly, and just understand enough to get (usualy) the wrong end of the stick.
    Tagalog looks easy: it is in a familier script and and you say it as you read it.

    I will be following your adventures with interest.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Thanks! Hopefully my attempts will encourage others to try too, especially those for whom its long overdue ;)

  • Zsolt

    Wikipedia says Tagalog and Filipino language are not the same: Tagalog is the base of Filipino.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      The Wikipedia entry on Filipino is mostly political, while its mostly linguistic on Tagalog. I’ll find out more very soon, but as far as I can see they are different names for pretty much the same thing.

      • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

        To the best of my knowledge this is correct, “Filipino” essentially is Tagalog.

  • Yuzhou

    Here is what I commented on your blog on December 16th:

    “Asian languages: Let’s see, certainly not Chinese, not Japanese, not Korean (Tokyo and Seoul are really expensive, Pyongyang is not I guess but has other issues…), Arabic? don’t think so. Thai? Already done that. My guess would be Tagalog (Phillipines), Vietnamese or Hindi… ”

    I guess I am better at predicting your missions than at picking good stocks (LOL)! Maybe you have read your fellow blogger Randy’s thoughts on learning Tagalog in his September 2010 post. He concluded: “For anyone looking for an easy and fun language to really get you interested in learning a new language, you can’t really go wrong with Tagalog.”

  • Yuzhou

    Here is what I commented on your blog on December 16th:

    “Asian languages: Let’s see, certainly not Chinese, not Japanese, not Korean (Tokyo and Seoul are really expensive, Pyongyang is not I guess but has other issues…), Arabic? don’t think so. Thai? Already done that. My guess would be Tagalog (Phillipines), Vietnamese or Hindi… ”

    I guess I am better at predicting your missions than at picking good stocks (LOL)! Maybe you have read your fellow blogger Randy’s thoughts on learning Tagalog in his September 2010 post. He concluded: “For anyone looking for an easy and fun language to really get you interested in learning a new language, you can’t really go wrong with Tagalog.”

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Saying 3 languages in your guess doesn’t make it much of a precise prediction ;) But good logic nonetheless ;)

      Yes, Randy does like Tagalog – I’m sure I will too :)

  • Yuzhou

    Here is what I commented on your blog on December 16th:

    “Asian languages: Let’s see, certainly not Chinese, not Japanese, not Korean (Tokyo and Seoul are really expensive, Pyongyang is not I guess but has other issues…), Arabic? don’t think so. Thai? Already done that. My guess would be Tagalog (Phillipines), Vietnamese or Hindi… ”

    I guess I am better at predicting your missions than at picking good stocks (LOL)! Maybe you have read your fellow blogger Randy’s thoughts on learning Tagalog in his September 2010 post. He concluded: “For anyone looking for an easy and fun language to really get you interested in learning a new language, you can’t really go wrong with Tagalog.”

  • Yuzhou

    Here is what I commented on your blog on December 16th:

    “Asian languages: Let’s see, certainly not Chinese, not Japanese, not Korean (Tokyo and Seoul are really expensive, Pyongyang is not I guess but has other issues…), Arabic? don’t think so. Thai? Already done that. My guess would be Tagalog (Phillipines), Vietnamese or Hindi… ”

    I guess I am better at predicting your missions than at picking good stocks (LOL)! Maybe you have read your fellow blogger Randy’s thoughts on learning Tagalog in his September 2010 post. He concluded: “For anyone looking for an easy and fun language to really get you interested in learning a new language, you can’t really go wrong with Tagalog.”

  • fellow Tagalog learner

    Awesome, Benny! I’m a Kano and inspired by your blog, began studying Tagalog a few weeks ago. The great crutch — a good thing, at least for me — is that Filipinos speak English, so it’s easy to speak as much as you can in Tagalog and revert to English when you run aground. This is not impure if you’re trying your best. Pinoys are very accommodating, too, and go out of their way to help! Good luck!

    James

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      That can sometimes help, although don’t make it too much of a crutch! The temptation is to have most of the conversation in English with the occasional word in the target language and you will progress very slowly that way! ;)

  • Jostefani

    I AM SO HAPPY YOU’RE LEARNING A SOUTH-EAST ASIAN LANGUAGE (darn, my Indonesian missed by about a mark I suppose … so close!). Good luck with it Benny, and have a safe flight to the Phillipines. Manila is absolutely amazing and the Filipinos are amazing too!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Thanks :) Indonesian might come later, don’t worry – I’ve got plenty of live in me :D
      Can’t wait to check out Philippines ;)

  • Jack

    Haha, good luck with conjugating! I dropped tagalog when I learned about “infixes”… and emphasizing differences in words, I don’t think its easier than “european languages”, just different. You have a great chance, though, since you focus on conversation over grammar. Have fun!!!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Yes, grammar isn’t something I lose much sleep over. If there’s a rule I’ll learn it and not worry about if it’s hard or easy compared to other languages that are quite irrelevant to me at that time! :)

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ GlobalButterfly

    How freaking exciting!!! I’ve always dreamed of going to the Philipines! I can’t wait to see your posts from there. Buen viaje y buena suerte y prospero ano nuevo!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Thanks! :) I leave my dreams for nighttime and siesta time. Any other desires are usually not as far off as people tend to think they are. This one was a few hundred euro to get a flight, that’s all that’s holding you back really ;)

  • Demian

    Go get ‘em, Benny. I’m thinking of diving into Tagalog in the next year. First, I’m getting up to speed in Turkish, and heading to Istanbul.
    One of the great things about living in Los Angeles is that its a polyglot’s dream. It is very possible to immerse yourself entirely in the language as we have more native speakers of various languages than even live in those countries outside of their capital city. The obvious is Spanish. (I’m always amazed at those people who give me the old “Ah…(sigh)…I wish I could speak Spanish.” And I say, “Well, then why don’t you…you’ve got more native speakers of Spanish than any city outside of Mexico City.”)
    We have a large Filipino community in LA and Orange Co — along with Persian, Armenian, Israeli, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Russian, and Korean community. So large that its possible to do a good “immersion” — reading the local newspapers in that language, local television and radio, along with a gazillion restaurants of whatever culture you’re looking for.
    I spent so much time with the local Brazilian community — basically doing a “Benny” — that when I finally DID go to Brazil, people thought I was a Brazilian who’d come back home. No one asked, “So where did you learn Portuguese?” Rather, they asked, “So, how long have you lived away from Brazil?” Twas a rush, indeed, to hear such comments. (ANYTHING but be pegged as a Gringo.”)
    As for your “Two” and “Three months” to fluency, I support your premise entirely and do know its possible. You merely confirmed what I had intuited myself long ago. Its such a pleasure to find, now via the Internet, that someone — a world and generation apart — discovered much the same “hacks.’ And that there is a community of like minded people having a ball with language learning.
    Eagerly await more “dispatches” from “Benny — The Thrilla in Manila.”
    Demian

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Wow, that’s pretty impressive :D I’ll hopefully have a mission to learn a language not spoken at all in the city to prove stories like yours are true to everyone ;) I did that with my Portuguese in Paris for example.
      I don’t think anything I talk about is so weird really. I’m trying to voice what genuinely works for people thanks to immersion and communicative-based learning, and encouraging others to try what has worked for centuries for many other mere mortals :)
      Thanks for the comment!

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    Pretty sure I’m going to be doing Tagalog and Thai at some point, so I’m definitely looking forward to this. Are you going to go back to Thai at some point, I know you weren’t really able to give it a proper go the first time around that you messed with it?

    I’m curious to know just how much speaking English and Spanish will help you with learning Tagalog since it borrows heavily from both those languages and you speak both of them (as do I, which is why I want to know that).

    Looking forward to the updates.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Not sure about Thai right now. I only vaguely have an idea of the next mission at any time, and focus on the current one ;)

      Just arrived – updates coming soon enough!

  • http://twitter.com/ckchua Christopher K W Chua

    Holy crap. This is awesome!!! Go Tagalog.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Thanks :)

  • http://twitter.com/ckchua Christopher K W Chua

    Holy crap. This is awesome!!! Go Tagalog.

  • Anonymous

    Learning so quickly is obviously really cool, but I think the coolest thing about all this is that you’re so self confident!
    As so as I can I want to do exactly what you’re doing: go to other countries, but in my case yes, it’s to learn the language.
    Hope you achieve this goal (but obviously you will! ;p)!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    I’m a big fan of Tim & love both of his books (just about to finish 4HB) and his blog. However I can’t say I find very useful tips in his language learning advice, even though his skills in languages are definitely impressive.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    Danke Katja :) Bin gerade angekommen. Ich erkläre auf meinem Blog wie es läuft :D
    Tschüssi!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    Danke Katja :) Bin gerade angekommen. Ich erkläre auf meinem Blog wie es läuft :D
    Tschüssi!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    Definitely go for it!! I can relate to how you feel: I went to the northwest of Ireland a few years ago and met a Japanese man, a Russian teenager and a Belgian who all spoke excellent Irish (Gaeilge). That kicked some sense into me to get into speaking my own language too ;) And it wasn’t that bad, go for it!!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    Definitely go for it!! I can relate to how you feel: I went to the northwest of Ireland a few years ago and met a Japanese man, a Russian teenager and a Belgian who all spoke excellent Irish (Gaeilge). That kicked some sense into me to get into speaking my own language too ;) And it wasn’t that bad, go for it!!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    Thanks Demian! :) To answer your question
    There IS a good hack to get books on your Kindle! I wrote about it here: http://www.fluentin3months.com/convert-pdfs
    However, you don’t need to do that in my case :) All purchases of the LHG automatically come with the Kindle-specific mobi file that you simply drag into the documents folder and enjoy, so go for it :D
    Thanks for sending people my way! I plan to keep up the enthusiasm injections ;)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    Thanks! I’m glad to see the general interest among readers in Tagalog :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    Great job Alex! :) Definitely more fun to speak!!
    Just arrived – am going out to investigate now :)

  • Anonymous

    Looking forward to hearing your progress as usual Benny. Best of luck for all your missions in 2011. I’ve made the new years resolution to learn Japanese (figures as I’ve always had an interest in Japanese stuff and am living here for the next 10 months).

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Best of luck with that! I’ll have more to say on resolutions soon enough ;)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YCINJXODIKMDMME47X447A3XC4 S.D.I.

    I laughed a little to myself when I read this title. :) After all that fuss about you mostly speaking Romance languages, you go with the Asian language with the most Romance influence! Maybe you should have went to Zamboanga instead and learned Filipino Creole Spanish?

    I’m also curious as to your next language learning voyage. Perhaps Romanian? Astur-Leonese? Sicilian? Occitan? Maybe you could learn something *almost* not a Romance language, like Haitian. ;P

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Please go look up anything in Tagalog (try to read a Wikipedia entry for example) and tell me what it means. A few splatterings of some Spanish vocabulary does not make it “almost” a Romance language for pete’s sake! Even one familiar word out of every 20 or 30 is not enough to understand what’s going on “from the context”.

      By that logic, with the amount of English vocabulary recently accepted by most languages in technology and other fields, every language in the world is Germanic!

      As I said in the post this is about travelling to a country I want to get to know. I don’t care about the features of the language in making a decision, only when I’m actually learning it. I look at a map of the world or at how interesting people I’ve met are when deciding what to do next, I don’t consult linguists…

      If I limited myself to languages with the “least” European influence then I’d only be learning African tribal languages! ;)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YCINJXODIKMDMME47X447A3XC4 S.D.I.

        I was joking (I even almost added a disclaimer at the end saying as much, but I thought it was clear – the dangers of text-based communication, huh? ;)). Tagalog is as much a Romance language as English is (perhaps less). I called it the “Asian language with the most Romance influence”; it was in fact *Haitian* that I called “almost NOT a Romance language” due to its West African-derived grammar.

        It’s not mine or anyone else’s role to tell you which languages to learn. I myself have experienced this sort of unsolicited ‘advice’ – a friend asked me “why? you shouldn’t bother” when I told him I wanted to learn to speak Serbo-Croatian (which I’ve spoken since I could speak, but am only speak with intermediate fluency) at a near-native level. Needless to say, I was a bit irritated.

        Even if you were for some inexplicable reason extremely turned on by speaking Romance languages I would shrug and say “Why not?”. ;)

        • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

          OK, sorry then. I do get e-mails from people telling me I’m “lazy” though. Most of them are linguists rather than language learners, so it tends to annoy me a lot that they don’t really know what they are talking about from experience.
          Thanks!

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YCINJXODIKMDMME47X447A3XC4 S.D.I.

            Haha I can see how you got confused, since it was intended to be somewhat of a satire of suggestions of your laziness (I did read your FAQ). I myself am an aspiring linguist (or some sort of social scientist, things can change – I’m only 16), but I certainly don’t consider your learning of multiple Romance languages lazy ;).

            I honestly think your blog and all your language missions are inspiring and has probably helped countless frustrated people in language learning. I’ve given my frustrated French-learning mother (she’s already bilingual but even she’s having trouble benefiting from traditional study methods) heaps of advice from this site and I’ll also give her a link in the future. Good luck with Tagalog. :)

  • http://twitter.com/lauracabochan Laura Cabochan

    Kamusta, Benny? Natutuwa akong gusto mong matutuhan ang Tagalog. Sana maging masaya ang pagbisita mo dito sa aming bansa. Nasa Maynila ka pa ba? Kung nais mong makarinig ng mas malalim na Pananagalog, mainam bisitahin ang Bulacan. Sa Maynila kasi (pero posibleng nagkakamali ako), mas madalas Taglish ang aming pananalita kaysa purong Tagalog.

    Okay, writing that took some time, hahah. I have to admit a lot of Filipinos here in Manila (and Cebu too, I think) are better in English than in Filipino. When writing, at least. I’m not even sure if my grammar above is absolutely correct! Anyway, best of luck learning Tagalog! I hope you’re enjoying your trip!

  • http://twitter.com/lauracabochan Laura Cabochan

    Kamusta, Benny? Natutuwa akong gusto mong matutuhan ang Tagalog. Sana maging masaya ang pagbisita mo dito sa aming bansa. Nasa Maynila ka pa ba? Kung nais mong makarinig ng mas malalim na Pananagalog, mainam bisitahin ang Bulacan. Sa Maynila kasi (pero posibleng nagkakamali ako), mas madalas Taglish ang aming pananalita kaysa purong Tagalog.

    Okay, writing that took some time, hahah. I have to admit a lot of Filipinos here in Manila (and Cebu too, I think) are better in English than in Filipino. When writing, at least. I’m not even sure if my grammar above is absolutely correct! Anyway, best of luck learning Tagalog! I hope you’re enjoying your trip!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Yes, I’m seeing quite a lot of English! And almost no Tagalog writing in signs apart from taglines in advertisements (menus etc. are all in English). I’ll have to find a way around this if I want to progress quickly ;)
      Thanks for the Tagalog comment :P

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Yes, I’m seeing quite a lot of English! And almost no Tagalog writing in signs apart from taglines in advertisements (menus etc. are all in English). I’ll have to find a way around this if I want to progress quickly ;)
      Thanks for the Tagalog comment :P

      • GeraldSA

        Don’t know if you noticed the word “Taglish” in there.. that’s a term for mixing tagalog and english in the same sentence to get some point across if you don’t really know the tagalog word. :). It will probably make your life easier when talking with Filipinos.

        i.e. “Nasaan ba ang bathroom ninyo?” or “pwede tawad ng ten pesos”? or “ang mahal naman ng socks mo! Mas mura if you go to the tiangge”

        This kind of mix was actually used by rich college girls before that used to mix tagalog and english to sound more “sophisticated”… it is pretty much in use now everywhere though by everyone.
        :) :)

        • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

          I noticed “Taglish” as the only alternative to English on ATM machines! And I was out speaking my first Tagalog last night and was assured of the importance of aiming for Taglish if I want authentic rather than “pure” language.
          Interesting to hear it’s history, but yes, I can confirm that there is a LOT of random English words thrown in from the little I’ve heard so far!

        • http://twitter.com/lauracabochan Laura Cabochan

          “This kind of mix was actually used by rich college girls before that used to mix tagalog and english to sound more “sophisticated”… it is pretty much in use now everywhere though by everyone.”

          This made me laugh!

          This isn’t anything academic, but there are two variations to Taglish in my opinion. One is acceptable Taglish: there are some English words that can’t be translated or even if they can be, you end up sounding quite antiquated or long-winded. The other is called “conyo.” I think this is where the ‘rich, college girls’ come into the picture. I think it’s more English-badly-laced-with-Filipino. For example (and this one’s always used), “Let’s go make tusok-tusok the fish ball*!”

          You could find ‘purer’ Tagalog up north, Benny, in places like Bulacan. But yeah, even there, you’d hear English mixed in as well.

          Hope you’re enjoying your trip!

          * Fish ball is a common street food here in Manila, usually found in front of schools. Sometimes they serve it on a paper plate and you just spear the pieces with a stick.

          • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

            Not interested in “purer” Tagalog. Hinted to this in my travel update today and am writing a whole post about it next week ;)

            If everyone speaks like rich college girls, so be it. When in Rome… ;)

            BTW, I heard “conyo” explained to me the other night. I raised my eyebrows wondering if it was inspired by the Spanish word coño, which means something very different!!

          • http://twitter.com/bryanargie Argie Cariño Argonza

            I believe that conyo was originally a slang for the elite Spaniards or mestizos during the colony days, not sure though if it’s connected with the Spanish word coño.

          • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

            Cool. Might be a Tagalog word originally then and only coincidentally sound similar.

          • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

            Not interested in “purer” Tagalog. Hinted to this in my travel update today and am writing a whole post about it next week ;)

            If everyone speaks like rich college girls, so be it. When in Rome… ;)

            BTW, I heard “conyo” explained to me the other night. I raised my eyebrows wondering if it was inspired by the Spanish word coño, which means something very different!!

  • http://twitter.com/letstalkcars Lets Talk Cars

    Good luck ! I have been trying to learn French for 6 months and feell like i am getting nowhere.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Stop trying to learn it and just speak it then ;) You can “try to learn” forever, and I know many people that do!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yes, I’ll travel outside of Luzon and I’m sure I’ll meet people who can understand but not necessarily speak Tagalog! Thanks for the comment ;)

  • http://www.colorkiddies.com Carlo Vergara

    Magandang gabi, Benny. I hope your stay in the Philippines has been fruitful so far.

    Yes, karamihan sa mga signs sa Pilipinas are in English. Bihira ang Filipino, which is why madali para sa mga foreigners to get around, especially kung nasa cities ka. And you’ll notice also na ang mga major newspapers namin ay gamit ang Inggles. Mga pelikulang Hollywood at mga American shows sa tibi ay wala ring subtitles.

    And it’s true, you can start learning Filipino kung magta-Taglish ka muna. It’s actually medyo weird kung pure Filipino ang gagamitin mo all the time.

    My personal estimate is that 5 to 15 percent ng conversational Filipino ay gumagamit ng salitang Inggles. Of course, the English words would be spoken with the Filipino accent.

    Good luck and have fun! And may I add, what you’re doing is really “astig!” :-D

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Taglish!! :D I’ll have something to say about this shortly ;)

  • http://findalanguageteacher.com Tom

    I was wondering how many languages can one successfully learn? Or, when is the time when you are still able to learn one more language, but you don’t have enough time to practice the ones you already know?

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      I practise all my languages (that I have decided to maintain) – I detailed how in posts on the blog in November/December.

  • http://findalanguageteacher.com Tom

    I was wondering how many languages can one successfully learn? Or, when is the time when you are still able to learn one more language, but you don’t have enough time to practice the ones you already know?

  • http://findalanguageteacher.com Tom

    I was wondering how many languages can one successfully learn? Or, when is the time when you are still able to learn one more language, but you don’t have enough time to practice the ones you already know?

  • Razz_down

    Hi I just stumbled on this site about learning a language in as short as 2 months. I am just searching the internet for tips when I got to your site from a link I can’t remember and knowing that you here in the Philippines. Trying to be fluent in a short span of 2 months. Right now I am going to tackle the German Language and hope to be as good as you in Tagalog. ( Wishful Thinking ) Last year I have tried to study Spanish, for necessity because I am going to travel to Spain. And it has taken me 4 mos to be in a conversational level.

    Anyway welcome here in the Philippines. As a side note, I found out that there is really no pure tagalog now. A lot of it is a combination of English, Spanish and of course Tagalog. You cannot speak or converse in a few sentences now without the other two languages. And I found out that only here in the Philippines that we are so adept in constructing sentences in combination with other languages. I have yet to find other foriegn languages that have so many mix of languages in a sentence. And the Tagalog language is always evolving. Very fast. Because of the easy adoption of the other languages. The good thing with the Tagalog language is that it is soo easy to infused a foreign language between the sentences… so good luck in studying Tagalog!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      You should look through the archives of the site starting on this post:
      http://www.fluentin3months.com/german-mission/
      I was learning German over several months last year :)
      Thanks for the welcome – yes Tagalog is turning out to be lots of fun!!

  • http://twitter.com/joshywashington Joshua Johnson

    You omniligual ninja. Good luck with Tagalog!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks Josh!

  • Eusebio

    Hi Benny I’m glad you are learning Tagalog. It’s a beautiful language especially in its purest form. Interestingly, I speak Tagalog but have been learning it for over 20 years. I may need to learn some tips from you. You are probably in Cebu now, my hometown. You probably know that if you speak Tagalog in Cebu, your response will be in English or Bisaya!!! Maybe a mix of Tagalog and Bisaya.lol!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Yes, I had fun in Cebu – amazing city, but I won’t be learning much Tagalog here! Going back north in a few hours ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kayem-Calimoso/1299205659 Kayem Calimoso

    Marunong ka na bang mag Tagalog, kuya? : )

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      See the karaoke post to hear me sing in Tagalog! :) I had a fun mission, but decided not to maintain it as I was learning new languages immediately after.