"Mama, what’s church in Tagalog?"


My daughter speaks Tagalog with an American accent.

She was born and raised in the Philippines but I admit, I have been remiss in teaching her our own dialect.  Instead, she is completely fluent in English and knows more Fookien than Tagalog.

I’m sure I am not alone in this regard.  All the kids in my children’s preschool speak purely in English.  I admit that English, being the most used language for communication is very important because the world is getting smaller and the need to be able to effectively communicate in a global setting is priceless.

It is a little embarrassing though, as a nation, if our own children is learning the national language like it is a foreign dialect.

Needless to say, my daughter is having difficulty with her Filipino class.

If I’m not mistaken, I think Filipino kids in general, are expected to learn so many dialects that it’s difficult for parents to prioritize and teach our kids all the languages we want them to learn.  Something is bound to fall by the wayside.  Unfortunately, Tagalog has been the victim.

In my time, schools were forced to be strict in enforcing the use of English in school because our primary language of conversation was Tagalog (or, in provinces, the local dialect).  It is not the same case today.  Children in both of my kid’s schools use English as a primary language of conversation.

Given this, I realized we need to put more effort into teaching our kids the Filipino Language.  I had the luck to be able to speak to my daughter’s Filipino teacher and she gave me a sound piece of advice.  LET HER READ stories in Filipino on a daily basis.  For practice.  She advised me not to use long stories because that will only frustrate her.  After the meeting, I took out her school books for Grade 1 and 2 and any book she may have in Filipino and I ask her to read at least 1 short story or paragraph everyday.

She doesn’t need to be an expert.  All I want is for her to be comfortable with the language.

Filipino, as a subject, was difficult enough for me when I was growing up despite the fact that I used it on a daily basis.  I can’t imagine how bewildering it must be for her.

On another note, I also asked our yayas to teach her Bisaya as I am a poor tutor, having difficulty with it myself.  But that’s a different story.

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