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tuanj

Any fluent expats?

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tuanj

I'm curious to learn from members who are fluent in Visaya, how long did it take them to achieve fluency? Info might include nationality, length of time in Philippines and techniques for honing your skills. I've actually found that chatting online with my "gf" has allowed me to slowly introduce the few words and phrases I'm learning on my own. And most recently, by "spying" on the "Filipino language only" forum here, to see what looks like fairly basic chat. My guess is it's easier to learn in the provinces where less english is spoken, rather than the big city, where one could get by with english alone? More exigency for learning faster I'm guessing. Anyone?

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Art

Well I'm not fluent and not an expat so take what I say as one mans limited experience. I had been learning Cebuano slowly from Angie for a year online in Australia 2009 to 2010and I spent 3 months in the Visayas last April, May and June. I found that once I was in the Philippines and forced to speak only Bisaya I started to improve. Some observations. There were many people I couldn't understand because their speech was one long babble sometimes I could pick out a word but I was too slow to get the gist. Many times I picked up on what they were saying only to lose the meaning because a key word was lost in hearing.

 

I'm old, I forget things, I don't learn as fast as I used to and my hearing is decaying with aqe. I'm of the opinion that only being fully immersed in the language is the fastest and best way to learn, the problem is even in the provinces they have TV with English movies or programs and students will talk to you in ENGLISH.

 

I read in a book on the plasticity of the brain that people are born with the ability to hear every sound and as they grow in a culture they start to lose the sounds not part of their language which is why learning languages is better when the kids are really young. The book said that it takes about 6 weeks being completely immersed in another language before you start to lose the dominance of your native language and can start hearing and speaking the new language.

 

Every one is different and have different learning styles. Because English is so prevalent it would be hard to learn fast if you are a native English speaker, the temptation to speak English is born out of frustration in communicating. In the province and city I found people who couldn't speak English and it was hard to communicate with them because I didnt get what they were saying sometimes they didnt understand me because of my "slang". Even with what I knew the hearing of Cebuano was difficult and my favorite saying was "unsa gani to?" loosely means "come again?"

 

I did catch taxis and have the whole conversation in Cebuano because the driver had limited or no English that was cool. When I came back home I began to lose what I had learnt because there was no one to keep practicing thinking and speaking Cebuano with. You have to have a high motivation to learn because the ease of using English is a big distraction. Next time I go back I will lose myself somewhere where I have to only speak Cebuano and see what happens.

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samatm

Seems the Mormons learn it quite well quite fast!

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billten

Living here 6 years now and been trying to learn for about 3. A can readily understand most conversations and can interject a comment or two occasionally. There are times when i completely lose the thread and i'm back to 'whaaaa?', but mostly i learned by just talking to people and having Krissy tell me the right words.

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lazydays

I think a lot depends on your age and your ability to learn foreign languages.I would suspect the older you get,the longer it would take.

I do know 2 expats who are reasonably fluent,they had one lesson a week,for two years,by a proffessional teacher,before they felt comfortably fluent in speech,reading and writing.

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SkyMan

It's more difficult as you're older and particularly as your hearing fades. What? But I think the biggest factor is your desire to learn it.

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elBradford

Seems the Mormons learn it quite well quite fast!

 

Just immerse yourself in it. It sucks at first, but it will come, doesn't matter how old you are (imo).

 

There's some resources on this forum, some PDFs you can download that will give you some basic grammar. Learn that, learn how the words form, how verbs are conjugated, and most importantly, how they're shortened in day-to-day speech.

 

When you learn something, go out and use it with native speakers. They'll laugh at you - don't get frustrated, you probably sound like an idiot to them. But they will love you for trying. Use what you learn over and over and over again, until you can't forget it. A noun, a verb, a conjugation. It will all start to build on itself.

 

Learn how to ask simple questions in the language. "What is ________ in Visaya?" Then, write it down in a small notebook you carry around with you.

 

Then, when you speak the words, try to imitate the tone in which they're said. Don't say them with an American accent, change how the words leave your mouth.

 

If you do this consistently you'll be able to get by, and after a few years you'll be fluent. Just like the Mormons.

 

By the way, an awesome side effect is people will try much less to rip you off when you speak their language.

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Mrs Bundy

I agree with skyman once you get older it's starting a bit hard for you to memorize and learn a new language.

But that is depending also on how are you willing to learn.

 

When my husband first come to visit me and meet my family , I was surprise because he speaks bit and pieces of cebuano words.

So I asked him where he learn it from? He said he buy a cebuano dictionary and learned most of it also from the internet.

We were so impress with it knowing that he is interested of our language.

 

Since then, I started to teach him, the words that we commonly used or the words that he always heard of.

Actually he was on his mid 40 when we were married so now I can say, after 8 years he is not very fluent yet but he can already make a sentence

in cebuano and know lots of cebuano words already.

When I teach him I see to it that he pronouce the words properly in cebuano way, until I know that it is right.

He can already talk to my Mum in cebuano , as well as our neighbors and to some people we meet.

You can learn gradually but you need someone also to try and correct you the intonation that it is properly pronounce in cebuano.

Good Luck

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Yvette Cebu888

Practice conversing is the key...

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Ricky

Met a few expats involved in charity work who've been here 10-20 years, and speak 110% fluent!

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Stranded Shipscook

Very interesting topic, i myself spoke fluent taglish in the 80ties, maybe because tagalog has an easier grammar and there were more 'aid" available. When i decided to move to Cebu, i was with my second wife and spoke exclusvivle German, and she blocked any attempt by me to learn it.

 

Since 1 year more or less i try to learn to speak (understanding is ok already) but i get by as a natie wit some 'comman style" accent free sentences thrown in bargaining and further pretending to follow the salespeoples communication.

 

I have always been active in Civic clubs, but the standard method of communication there is english, so learning was a bit difficult.

 

Now, if there would be any written aids i could make it easier, but after purchasing 6 dictionaries and phrasebook and coming to the avail, that they do not help at all except getting pityful smiles, i still look for something really usefull.

 

In the end i learn a few sentences per week and probably will end in speaking it fluent.

 

Note; i am not language 'handicapped". I learned spanish in no time, because i HAD too..here in the Phil's I guess i went the usual 'tropo" way and simply got too lazy.

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Angie

Being a teacher teaching the Cebuano language to expats, I have observed different factors that affect the learner's pace of learning.

 

1. Attitude - if they're really passionate about learning the language, they will embrace the lesson and not question the teacher's competence. Some students get too skeptical because their girlfriends or wives told them something else.

 

2. Intelligence - If they're naturally intelligent, they'll absorb the learning as if they're sponges.

 

3. Nationality - I have observed that Norwegians can easily pronounce the Cebuano words. However, I am not saying that other nationalities couldn't do the same. Some are just slow learners (caused by other factors) and others are just naturally gifted with the ability to learn a different language easily.

 

4. Age = this is what people usually give as a reason but I don't believe it because most of my students are already in their 50's and some are in their 60's but when I discuss things with them, they understand it right away and can give their own examples.

I guess they attribute the problem to their age when they begin to forget the lesson.

 

5. Immersion - they can study all they want but not having the opportunity to practice the newly-acquired learning with a local won't help. You need to go out and put that new learning into application. My Irish student is sending emails to his local friends in Cebuano!

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drogon

Interesting thread.

 

I am not an expat nor am I fluent in Tagalog or Cebuano.

I speak fluently 4 languages (same level as my English) and in addition I have a medium-high level (depending on the situation and subject) in 2 others and a basic level (food-drinks-travel-everyday life stuff) in a few others. I have no special merits as, since I was born I have been living in one country or another and now for quite a few years I have been working in various countries and always surrounded by colleagues from various nationalities.

 

Tagalog or Cebuano: I realized, learning a bit with my mapapangasawa that they sound easy for me to learn, I have no problems reading since, using my English and my Spanish + Portuguese I am usually able to understand the general meaning on a sentence.

 

I do believe, that if I spend 6 months-one year in the Philippines I would become fluent quite easily, after all I took 2 years to learn Spanish with a level high enough to pass interviews in Spanish and work with Spanish colleagues.

 

But, I realized in Cebu something dreaful, that, due to my Spanish I am getting confused between Cebuano and Tagalog when it comes to words with a Spanish origin.

 

Just my 2 cents

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Davolives

'Angie' timestamp='1300506133' post='295800']

Being a teacher teaching the Cebuano language to expats, I have observed different factors that affect the learner's pace of learning.

 

1. Attitude - if they're really passionate about learning the language, they will embrace the lesson and not question the teacher's competence. Some students get too skeptical because their girlfriends or wives told them something else.

 

2. Intelligence - If they're naturally intelligent, they'll absorb the learning as if they're sponges.

 

3. Nationality - I have observed that Norwegians can easily pronounce the Cebuano words. However, I am not saying that other nationalities couldn't do the same. Some are just slow learners (caused by other factors) and others are just naturally gifted with the ability to learn a different language easily.

 

4. Age = this is what people usually give as a reason but I don't believe it because most of my students are already in their 50's and some are in their 60's but when I discuss things with them, they understand it right away and can give their own examples.

I guess they attribute the problem to their age when they begin to forget the lesson.

 

5. Immersion - they can study all they want but not having the opportunity to practice the newly-acquired learning with a local won't help. You need to go out and put that new learning into application. My Irish student is sending emails to his local friends in Cebuan

 

I find it hard to decide which teacher/doctor/lawyer etc to use without questioning their competence . As to attributing the problem to their age when they forget the lesson- gosh- most of the time i cant even remember the question, nevermind the answer ! I'm guessing you have never been 60 years old ??

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sperry

Being a teacher teaching the Cebuano language to expats, I have observed different factors that affect the learner's pace of learning.

 

1. Attitude - if they're really passionate about learning the language, they will embrace the lesson and not question the teacher's competence. Some students get too skeptical because their girlfriends or wives told them something else.

 

2. Intelligence - If they're naturally intelligent, they'll absorb the learning as if they're sponges.

 

3. Nationality - I have observed that Norwegians can easily pronounce the Cebuano words. However, I am not saying that other nationalities couldn't do the same. Some are just slow learners (caused by other factors) and others are just naturally gifted with the ability to learn a different language easily.

 

4. Age = this is what people usually give as a reason but I don't believe it because most of my students are already in their 50's and some are in their 60's but when I discuss things with them, they understand it right away and can give their own examples.

I guess they attribute the problem to their age when they begin to forget the lesson.

 

5. Immersion - they can study all they want but not having the opportunity to practice the newly-acquired learning with a local won't help. You need to go out and put that new learning into application. My Irish student is sending emails to his local friends in Cebuano!

 

Angie - simple question. Do you find that females learn faster than men? I think the answer will be yes, but it would be interesting to have your opinion.

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