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tambok

Should you even bother learning Cebuano or Tagalog?

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Monsoon

I think there is a big difference between knowing a few cute phrases and being fluent in the language. I have been shown a lot of respect for being fluent not only in language but the culture as well. If I attend parties at Filipono friend's homes they will often converse with me in Tagalog.

 

 

 

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk

 

 

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Sonny

Of course____learn a little Cebuano if you reside in the Visayas.  Although most of your interactions will be in English, it exhibits a respect for the culture  and most locals will appreciate the gesture. Fluency is neither necessary nor expected.

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wacobay

I have been in and out of the Philippines for the past 24 years and lived for three years in my wife's hometown in Leyte. I found one of the negatives of living and retiring in Leyte was the isolation that came from not being able to understand or participate in the conversations taking place. So I would definitely encourage learning Bisayan or Tagalog or whatever regional language is used where one lives.

 

I learned to put some simple sentences together and I found the Filipinos and especially my wife's family were appreciative that I was trying to learn Bisayan, though I'm sure to them my Bisayan sounded "cute" like a four year old. :angel: I also found that, though I could speak a little Bisayan, I could never keep up with the conversation because I was thinking in English and by the time I had done my translating to Bisayan, they were two or sentences on down the road. Thanks for reading. 

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musicman666

I feel like I'm living out the Bill Murray's experience in lost in translation.....I use a local English speaker who has this long conversation with the cebano on a simple yes or no question....even my wife can't get to the bottom of what is trying to be conveyed...I would have to say for me ignorance of the local language is pure bliss....if I could understand the gist of the conversation it would surely drive me nuts.

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4thDan

Putting my 25 centavos in,  my wife's co workers  (all teachers like her) have avoided speaking to me (I'm from the USA) for the last 4 years, I'm told because they don't feel confident in their English. Which incidentally they had at least 12 years of in school.  Ok...so I endeavored to learn some Cebuano to talk to them.  When I try to talk to them in Cebuano, they smile, answer in English, then have a fast and loud conversations amongst themselves, which includes nods and glances in my direction.   I don't think i'm being over sensitive, I just think they are displaying a rudeness which seems to be part of the custom in Cebu.  I have found that a mix of 95% English and 5% Cebuano has worked well.  Enough of theirs that they know I am serious about NOT being a tourist seems to work ok.

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I <3 Cebu

Im trying. Just want to fit in.. okay, mainly want to bust people talking about me :-)

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glucoseface

Im trying. Just want to fit in.. okay, mainly want to bust people talking about me :-)

Hahaha then tell them in vernacular that you understand them.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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rainymike

I have a mostly don't give a shit attitude. I'm not here to earn anyone's respect for being able to speak this or that. Or look this way or that way. Or whatever.

 

I don't think its a white vs non-white issue though. I think it is more of a class issue. I'm not a white guy and most locals think I'm pinoy if I don't open my yap. But something about how I dress, my manner, or attitude suggests an 'upper class' person and that's how most respond to me. In fact, my ability to speak English (or inability to speak any pinoy language) may even contribute to this perspective.

 

But one suggestion. If someone gives you attitude, I generally just move on rather than engaging in any conversation that could grow increasingly hostile. No need to wonder or debate about who's right or wrong. I frankly don't care. Have more important fish to fry. And I have enough friends - no need to be chummy with everyone.

 

If you're worrying about what people say behind your back, my question is why? Hang out with those that don't. 

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thebob

I've noticed that Luzonians, Tagalogs included, are not friendly, but polite, but many Visayans, Cebuanos included, are friendly, but often very impolite.

 

 

 

There is a cultural component to manners. It sounds like you feel more comfortable with politeness that is consistent with what you are used to.

 

"Speaking" a language is more than being able to express an idea in different words. Appropriateness doesn't cross over from one culture to another.

 

 

Recently, a very unpleasant incident happened to me-- I almost got into a fight, even. I was in front of the KFC on Osmena circle, and I asked the man standing by the side of the store if it was open.  I asked in Visaya. He glared at me and went "Whaaaaaaat?" I asked him why he was not speaking in Visaya, he turned very angry and started yelling ( in English) "Why must I speak in Visaya to you? Are you a Filipino? "

 

 

In this interchange, you initiated contact, and so you have asked for a favor. That favor is information. When you asked him why he wasn't speaking in Visaya, you challenged him. He has no reason to justify which language he speaks in, you were the one who initiated conversation. You made him lose face by questioning his decision to use English.

 

From his perspective, it may appear that you considered him to be incapable of conversing in English.

 

Politeness here would indicate that your opening statement should be some kind of greeting or throw away statement. This would help both of you to "negotiate" how the conversation will proceed.

 

As you state you are a linguist, I suggest - Politeness, Brown and Levinson 1987, for more insight on this phenomena.

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contraman

Putting my 25 centavos in,  my wife's co workers  (all teachers like her) have avoided speaking to me (I'm from the USA) for the last 4 years, I'm told because they don't feel confident in their English. Which incidentally they had at least 12 years of in school.  Ok...so I endeavored to learn some Cebuano to talk to them.  When I try to talk to them in Cebuano, they smile, answer in English, then have a fast and loud conversations amongst themselves, which includes nods and glances in my direction.   I don't think i'm being over sensitive, I just think they are displaying a rudeness which seems to be part of the custom in Cebu.  I have found that a mix of 95% English and 5% Cebuano has worked well.  Enough of theirs that they know I am serious about NOT being a tourist seems to work ok.

I totally agree and this has been my finding, not just in Cebu but throughout the whole Pacific Rim

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Monsoon

 

 

Fluency is neither necessary nor expected.

 

Of course it isn't expected. But it sure as hell goes a long way. 

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tambok

I totally agree and this has been my finding, not just in Cebu but throughout the whole Pacific Rim

Spread of English in the "Oriental" Asia contributed to increased "muteness" on part of the local population when it comes to talking to or associating with white people many of whom now are not even English speakers. In other words, people don't want to associate with white people, sit far away from them on buses, turn their faces away from them and just ignore or ostracize them. Often taxi drivers won't even stop for you.

 

This looks like racial discrimination-- and in part it is-- but is stems from a very common concept which the East/SE Asians all carry- they will lose face by making mistakes in English and appear stupid, therefore, they will avoid that white person and any contact with him/her lest they appear stupid. Sometimes when they sit next to a white person, you can see their face assume an expression similar to that of someone who has serious constipation but who is trying vainly to defecate.

 

Never mind that it's their country and it's the white person who needs to adjust-- they just don't have that concept, and never mind that most white people on earth are not English speakers. This is not how Oriental people see it. " White= British/American, only an English speaker- my English is not perfect- I will make a mistake- he will laugh at me and I will lose face, so I will avoid him."

 

The same often happens in Japan- you stop people on the street to ask directions in Japanese, some just say-" I don't speak English" and move on.

 

People who know you will accept you and treat you well, but dealing with strangers, you will always have to contend with " constipated" faces, tense bodies and people answering in English when you speak the local language. Or people avoiding you. This is an unintended consequence of colonization and happens only when dealing with Oriental peoples. West Asians do not have this problem- such as Arabs for one- no complex- they are not afraid of losing face and many speak broken English and it's just fine.

 

This may change over decades as mental decolonization takes place and white people actually realize that they are not colonialists anymore and that they need to start integrating and speak the local language. I've noticed something like this in Japan on my recent trips- such incidents are fewer and more and more Japanese talk in Japanese to you and expect you to speak Japanese. They should- the occupation ended in the 1950ies, the country is Japan and foreigners are now more and more expected to speak Japanese in Japan ( duh).

 

The Philippines and India may probably always live in linguistic confusion vis-a-vis a white person because English is an official language there.

 

Anyway, I am planning my next trip to Latin America where they speak Spanish to all humans regardless of their race.

Edited by tambok
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I <3 Cebu

I have a mostly don't give a shit attitude. I'm not here to earn anyone's respect for being able to speak this or that. Or look this way or that way. Or whatever.

 

I don't think its a white vs non-white issue though. I think it is more of a class issue. I'm not a white guy and most locals think I'm pinoy if I don't open my yap. But something about how I dress, my manner, or attitude suggests an 'upper class' person and that's how most respond to me. In fact, my ability to speak English (or inability to speak any pinoy language) may even contribute to this perspective.

 

But one suggestion. If someone gives you attitude, I generally just move on rather than engaging in any conversation that could grow increasingly hostile. No need to wonder or debate about who's right or wrong. I frankly don't care. Have more important fish to fry. And I have enough friends - no need to be chummy with everyone.

 

If you're worrying about what people say behind your back, my question is why? Hang out with those that don't. 

 

 

I have a mostly don't give a shit attitude. I'm not here to earn anyone's respect for being able to speak this or that. Or look this way or that way. Or whatever.

 

I don't think its a white vs non-white issue though. I think it is more of a class issue. I'm not a white guy and most locals think I'm pinoy if I don't open my yap. But something about how I dress, my manner, or attitude suggests an 'upper class' person and that's how most respond to me. In fact, my ability to speak English (or inability to speak any pinoy language) may even contribute to this perspective.

 

But one suggestion. If someone gives you attitude, I generally just move on rather than engaging in any conversation that could grow increasingly hostile. No need to wonder or debate about who's right or wrong. I frankly don't care. Have more important fish to fry. And I have enough friends - no need to be chummy with everyone.

 

If you're worrying about what people say behind your back, my question is why? Hang out with those that don't. 

Im quite layed back myself too..but not snobby either, i like chatting to people & the language barrier makes it very hard as many only know little english.

Im not worried about what people are saying, more curious than anything & dont hang with anyone other than my mrs & her family/freinds... never stepped foot into a girly bar or mingled with bad people nor ever intend to

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sugbu777

Spread of English in the "Oriental" Asia contributed to increased "muteness" on part of the local population when it comes to talking to or associating with white people many of whom now are not even English speakers. In other words, people don't want to associate with white people, sit far away from them on buses, turn their faces away from them and just ignore or ostracize them. Often taxi drivers won't even stop for you.

 

This looks like racial discrimination-- and in part it is-- but is stems from a very common concept which the East/SE Asians all carry- they will lose face by making mistakes in English and appear stupid, therefore, they will avoid that white person and any contact with him/her lest they appear stupid. Sometimes when they sit next to a white person, you can see their face assume an expression similar to that of someone who has serious constipation but who is trying vainly to defecate.

 

Never mind that it's their country and it's the white person who needs to adjust-- they just don't have that concept, and never mind that most white people on earth are not English speakers. This is not how Oriental people see it. " White= British/American, only an English speaker- my English is not perfect- I will make a mistake- he will laugh at me and I will lose face, so I will avoid him."

 

The same often happens in Japan- you stop people on the street to ask directions in Japanese, some just say-" I don't speak English" and move on.

 

People who know you will accept you and treat you well, but dealing with strangers, you will always have to contend with " constipated" faces, tense bodies and people answering in English when you speak the local language. Or people avoiding you. This is an unintended consequence of colonization and happens only when dealing with Oriental peoples. West Asians do not have this problem- such as Arabs for one- no complex- they are not afraid of losing face and many speak broken English and it's just fine.

 

This may change over decades as mental decolonization takes place and white people actually realize that they are not colonialists anymore and that they need to start integrating and speak the local language. I've noticed something like this in Japan on my recent trips- such incidents are fewer and more and more Japanese talk in Japanese to you and expect you to speak Japanese. They should- the occupation ended in the 1950ies, the country is Japan and foreigners are now more and more expected to speak Japanese in Japan ( duh).

 

The Philippines and India may probably always live in linguistic confusion vis-a-vis a white person because English is an official language there.

 

Anyway, I am planning my next trip to Latin America where they speak Spanish to all humans regardless of their race.

Good post!

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Foreststag

I find the English spoken by most Cebuano's difficult to understand. They use many words incorrectly which can be very confusing. They use take when they mean bring and vice versa for example. Poor pronunciation with an American accent also confuses me, but is sometimes amusing. I am steadily picking up the language but not really making a great

effort. My pronunciation of some of their words amuses them too. Most of them try to help me if I get it wrong, but I

think secretly they would rather I didn't try.

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