Know the great things about learning Tagalog and why you should start learning it now.
So, we talked about why Tagalog is an easy language to study. Now, we’ll talk about why you should learn Tagalog a.k.a Filipino a.k.a The National Language of the Philippines.
1) Tagalog is a lingua franca, in and out of the Philippines
Photo by Kevin Curtis on Unsplash
While the Philippines is home to several languages, one of the lingua francas (the language common to most people) is Tagalog. The other regions may speak different languages such as Bisaya, Ilocano, Kapampangan, etc but Tagalog, as the national language, is required and taught in every school across the islands.
In addition to that, with almost 24 million speakers in the Philippines, Canada, Guam, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and being the 3rd most widely spoken foreign language in US homes, Tagalog is a rising global language, distribution-wise. In fact, Tagalog-speaking Filipinos are present just about anywhere across the world. Speaking Tagalog is like unlocking the quickest way to have new friends in any country in the world.
2) It will make it much easier to learn the other Philippine languages
The Philippine Languages
If you plan to learn more than one Philippine languages, Tagalog is a good place to start! Not only it’s a common language across the Philippines, but it’s also the most documented one. It is easier to find resources, materials, and teachers of Tagalog. And once you learn its grammar, it’s a great foundation for learning another Philippine language.
Imagine Philippine languages grouped as a family. These languages have similarities in their structure and grammar rules. So, by familiarizing yourself with one, you’ll get an idea on the features the other Philippine languages. Sort of like how it’s relatively easy for you to learn Italian if you already know Spanish and vice versa since they have a few similarities.
This doesn’t mean that by being able to speak Tagalog you can speak the rest of the Philippine languages. Rather, by learning Tagalog, it will then be relatively easier to learn the other Philippine languages.
3) You will gain a new perspective or point of view
Learning a new language is learning a new perspective.
As Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, “If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world”. Learning a new language on its own is a great asset. A language is embedded with centuries of shared experiences, tradition, and culture unique to its speakers. Tapping into a new language is like tapping into a whole new world of experiences and perspective you won’t get by just speaking one language.
4) It’ll help you become smarter and stay smarter for longer
Learning a language is good for your noggin’.
Learning a new language hard-wires your brain to think better and more efficiently. It can help you become more creative and better at multitasking. Recent researches also showed that these improved cognitive functions may help you stave off Alzheimer’s and may slow dementia.
5) You don’t have to speak slow and loud English to make Filipinos understand you
It doesn’t work that way. No.
More often than not, TV and the big screen show “a person attempting to overcome a Language Barrier by simply speaking loudly and slowly or even shouting, believing that it will somehow work. As if the other person had bad hearing or is deaf, and wasn’t someone who actually doesn’t know the language”. It is so prevalent that TVTropes.org has a page dedicated to it, hence the quote.
First of all, the language barrier doesn’t work like that. Second, it’s extremely rude. You wouldn’t want a stranger belting you a foreign language to your face, would you?
6) Learning Tagalog will help you build great rapport
Let’s face it, in just about any country, native speakers of a language are generally happy when you make an effort to learn their language. The Philippines is no different. Usually, an attempt by foreigners to learn Tagalog is generally met with smiles and encouragements.
One great example of this is our boss, Phil. It’s hard to mistake him for anything but a foreigner here in the Philippines. With his fair complexion, Brit accent, and tall as a tree stature, he stands out against just about everyone
Yeah, we’re all jealous.
You wouldn’t guess that the man knows how to speak Tagalog as well as he does. Every time he speaks Tagalog, people around him are generally surprised but happy. You may even learn a few new words as Filipinos, are often than not, enthusiastic about teaching a foreigner a few things about our language.
So, instead of asking the “why”, ask “why not?”. Try learning Tagalog, the language of the friendly people, and see the world from a whole new perspective.
- Bouchard-Côté A, Hall D, Griffiths TL, & Klein D (2013). Automated reconstruction of ancient languages using probabilistic models of sound change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (11), 4224-9 PMID: 23401532
- Dell’Amore, C. (2011, February 18). To Stave Off Alzheimer’s, Learn a Language? Retrieved from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/100218-bilingual-brains-alzheimers-dementia-science-aging/
- Languages of the World. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/
- Merritt, A. (2013, June 19). Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/10126883/Why-learn-a-foreign-language-Benefits-of-bilingualism.html
- Nath. (2013, October 27). Philippine language relations in a map. Retrieved from https://imphscience.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/philippine-language-relations-in-a-map/?blogsub=confirming#blog_subscription-3
- Santos, M. (2014, October 7). Tagalog 3rd most widely spoken foreign language in US homes-study. Retrieved from http://globalnation.inquirer.net/112154/tagalog-3rd-most-widely-spoken-foreign-language-in-us-homes-study#ixzz5LrQLiwh4