Possible to learn Tagalog without going to the Philippines?

Discussion in 'Tagalog and Filipino Languages' started by romelako, Oct 3, 2011.

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  1. romelako Member

    Castaic, CA
    American English
    Hello, everyone. I used to post on these forums way back when I used to study Tagalog extensively. I kind of stopped due to many reasons, one of them being the lack of resources to learn from. I've studied the basic and intermediate grammar, and I feel like I can speak the language at a basic level. One of the things that holds me back is my inability to say certain expressions in English that I can't directly translate to Tagalog (as with any language.) I feel like at my level, I just need to be exposed to more and more content so I can learn more vocabulary and speak the language more comfortably.

    Of course, this isn't easy for me because I feel like I'm at the level where I can understand BASIC Tagalog (i.e. "Kumain ako" -- I ate) but when there are more complicated sentences, I'm stuck because I do not know the words (and at that point, I'm using a dictionary). I've been told to watch TFC, and I have tried to watch it, but the speakers speak too fast for me to understand, even though I'm 100% Filipino and hear the language almost every day. I don't have enough vocabulary to be able to derive words I don't know from context. I tried to read articles in Tagalog, but they were old articles, and used vocabulary that my mother and father couldn't even understand (they speak the language fluently and speak it colloquially). I felt that these articles wouldn't be a good source of learning as I would be speaking like an older person.So, my question is, how do I get over this plateau in my learning? I can hold a basic conversation if I incorporate English into my Tagalog, but I want to take my knowledge further than this. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advanced!
  2. Inglip Senior Member

    Dubai, UAE
    English - UK
    I also struggle for resources. I am not at the level where I can understand conversations on TV yet. I pick up a lot of words, but not good enough to get the sentence out of context and the words I know.

    But, I have been studying a few months, and have found lots of FREE ONLINE resources, that I use often.

    There are a couple online places to read children's and young person books in tagalog. www.childrenslibrary.org and www.childrensbooksonline.org. They don't have a large database, but they do add to it. But it is still a decent place to read at more a beginner/intermediate level.

    Try googlebooks feature. They feature several books you can read online. Some stories, some grammar books. They have a very good one called 'Tagalog Reference Grammar' it is a bit old fashioned in the words, but certinaly great in the grammar. A bit hard going unless you know the basics.

    Another thing to try is wikipedia. Swap it to tagalog mode, then read articles about things you already know. For exmple, I switch it to tagalog, then read about things I already know about, so I can get the context well.

    There are a number of online websites that will help you find other language learners. For example, www.livemocha.com. This website will pair you up with learners and you can exchange language. Find a filipino willing to help you out, there are plenty. You will exchange email and messages. Although they are not teachers, they can correct your grammar for you, and show you how to say a sentence as they would, but not 100% be able to explain why it is that way. But it points you in the right direction and shows you what area to study.

    Hmm, sorry for not knowing the name. But there a few websites designed for helping you find tagalog speakers in your area. Google search it. But you say what languages you know and what you want to learn and it will point you to people in your area. You'll be surprised who you find. Then you could arrange to chat with them, maybe meet for a coffee and talk tagalog with them.

    I suggest you speak to your parents pure tagalog. At first it will be a big struggle, but you will QUICKLY pick it up as long as they only speak tagalog to you, and you to them. Just go through house hold chores with them in tagalog. Or ask questions in tagalog and only get tagalog answers. Don't let them speak English. I have a filipina maid, and when she comes, I speak only tagalog to her. Every other word I must ask what it means, but I feel I improve with every short conversation I have with her whilst she is working.

    Check out Filipino forums and make some friends. Search for a filipino forum that is broad maybe like www.pinoyexchange.com. Just makes some posts there and make a few friends. Or find a filipino forum about a hobby of yours. For example, I like to play xbox, so I found a pinoy xbox forum, and asked for some players to play with. Then sometimes I play with them and only speak tagalog to them. It is slow, but again, I feel smarter with every session of gaming.

    The best advice I could give is to completely drop yourself in the language, and supplement it with casual grammar study. So use these resources, find some people to talk with, some things to watch and to listen to, and don't use English, as little as possible!! At first, you will struggle, a lot. Conversations will be limited to what you ate last night, but you will pick it up so quickly.
    I always relate learning a language to learning to swim. You can read as many swimming techniques books as you wish, but at the end of the day, you just need to jump in. In learning tagalog, you can speak as much time as you want reading grammar books, and yes they will help, but unless you just jump in, you will never be fluent. The biggest obstacle in learning a language is getting the 'confidence' to talk it. Just go for it! I speak to my friends, and I tell them to please not speak English to me unless they must. So our conversations are slow, and I must stop to ask what every 2nd word means, and I ask them a lot to help me construct my own sentences. But they are patient, speak slowly and clearly and I feel I am learning very quickly.

    Oh an ALWAYS attempt to say something you don't know how. For example, I can hold fair conversations at the moment, I could spontaneously make small talk about my life, and introduce myself and talk about day to day things. But I always push myself to attempt something new. For example, I try and say the same thing in different ways, or talk about 'technical things' example, cooking. Which would use lots of words and phrases (Like slicing, chopping, frying etc) that you wouldn't come across everyday, and a lot of new nouns you wouldn't use everyday.

    I am going on a bit, in basic, just go for it, drop in completely, and supplement it with study of grammar structure and a few new words here and there. Tagalog is hard to find online resources sometimes, but there are ALOT out there, just give a google search. Anything I search online now, I filter the search to tagalog/filipino, just to read it. I may not understand it all, well I never do, but I do pick up words and sentences a lot.
  3. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    It is possible! Many Pilipinos are learning it online or just by listening in Tagalog news/issues/movies.
  4. rempress Member

    Try to join Philippine chatroom in YM. I'm sure you will meet native speakers there and it will be a lot of fun for them too.
  5. turkjey5 Senior Member

    English - USA
    The problem with Tagolog is there is very little of it translated into English so you're always groping in the dark, feeling like you sort of understand what's written, but never confident. It's a difficult, complex language and the resources are pretty lame. To get past your plateau you would probably have to read alot and listen to alot of tv shows even if you don't understand them. It's a monumental task.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  6. sangrecaliente.sanchaud New Member

    I actually learned all the language I speak without living in areas where they are actually spoken.
    However, i can tell you that FACEBOOK is a very good tool. Start chatting in Tagalog. The people will understand that you may have some grammatical faults. Tell them that you are a learner and Tagalogs will be more than happy to teach you.

    Another thing that I did was listen to songs. Songs are short and unchanging. So we can easily pick the vocabulary. Then, try to apply the words.
  7. romelako Member

    Castaic, CA
    American English
    I think watching TV shows are going to be the only way I can increase my vocabulary and break from my plateau. Even that is going to be challenging because my level of comprehension isn't very high so deriving words from context is going to be much more difficult. I don't think there are any other ways, besides that.
  8. iggyca Member

    I completely agree with Inglip when he says you must completely drop yourself in the language. Watch tv shows, movies, TFC. Listen to tagalog songs in the car, when you go to the gym or when doing chores.

    I have been using this https://learningtagalog.com/grammar/index.html website for the past 2 years. It has a list of different affixes for nouns, verbs and adjectives. Basic grammer and other useful information. This and a dictionary is primarily what I use.

    I read Pinoyexchange almost daily. When I first started it took me around 20-40 mins to get through one page on the forums, depending on the topic. Now I can breeze through fairly quick. IMO this is the best way to learn. I dont actually post but its nice to be able to read Tagalog that is used daily. Like you said, reading articles is much different than day to day tagalog. It's also great because you can go back, study how words were conjugated, look up words in the dictionary etc.
  9. iggyca Member

  10. ang_kokpun New Member

    [h=1]Yes, it's possible to learn Tagalog without going to the Philippines.[/h]
    If you really desire to learn the language, nothing is impossible.
    Choose a subject which you are interested in and then read books that are written in tagalog.

    Kaya mo, kung gusto mo talaga!
    You can, if you really want to learn!

    I can speak simple english even if I have not gone to united states or other countries.
    I read a lot of books on topics I am interested like inspirational books, biographies, alternative medicine.

    By the way, why are you interested to learn tagalog?
  11. karmllean New Member

    I feel happy reading this thread. I find it flattering that there are people who actually strive to learn Filipino. Wish you all the best! Filipino is a fairly simple language but there are constructions that don't have direct translations to and from English and that are pecualiar to the language, so I think immersion is the best way to speak it fluently - and that is conducting spoken conversations with a native on a regular basis. Filipinos don't really care about grammar in terms of everyday communication, as long as it's idiomatic/colloquial.
  12. sugarglidernames Banned

    thank for all of this clear information. it keeps me updated.
  13. Sounders New Member

    Hi, I have been learning Korean and Japanese online at youlearntoo.
    I noticed that you can also learn Filipino on there too. With native Filipinos. I learn my languages through Skype. I have 3 lessons per week and I find it very convenient because I don't have to travel anywhere for the lessons.
  14. acq000 New Member

    wow. pag walang tiyaga , walang nilaga. !!!
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