Kumusta! Anong balita?
In my last post, I talked about how it’s going to take 15 weeks for the results of my German-to-English translation test to get back to me.
Well, I’m going to use this time wisely and try to cross off something on my language bucket list while I wait:
I’m going to learn Tagalog!
If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know how important this is to me. I’m half-Filipino, half-American, and I’m very proud of both sides of my heritage. But since I speak English and a little bit of Spanish, I’ve got the American side covered. It’s time to reach out to my Pacific side. And after having seriously studied Arabic, Spanish, and German, I’m looking forward to learning my first Asian language.Right now, I don’t speak a lick of Tagalog. Like all kids who have a parent who speaks another language, I know some important household terms and, of course, swear words. But other than that, nothing.
My specific goal is to reach an advanced beginner level, approximately A2 on the CEFR scale, by the end of 15 weeks. According to Wikipedia, this means I’ll be able to do stuff like the following:
<begin quoted text>
- Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
- Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
- Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
<end quoted text>
Don’t let the “beginner” label fool you. If you reach A2, you’re speaking a language. You’ll have some difficulty and will only be able to discuss or understand limited topics, but authentic communication is happening.
And reaching A2 still requires significant work. Radio station and language course publisher Deutsche Welle estimates it takes 75 hours of classroom instruction to reach A1 (in German). If you’re looking to get to A2, I think it would be reasonable to expect to have to put in something like 150 to 200 hours of effort. To reach my goal in 15 weeks, I need to put in at least 10 hours a week consistently.
This is going to be different from my German project in that my main goal is conversation, not translation. Also, there’s no test at the end. This is a very personal goal, so I’ll know if I reach it by less tangible factors.
I’m planning on doing some videos to document my progress and posting them on my way-too-ignored YouTube channel.
Okay…as a language blogger who tries to pay attention to what his readers need, I have to acknowledge that most of you are not learning Tagalog. And I get it. Most of you don’t have Filipino moms. (And if you do, you may already speak Tagalog.)
However, I do know that there are a lot of Filipino-Americans and Filipino-Canadians who are more or less like me, who want to get in touch with their roots. I want to show them it’s very possible to achieve this goal.
And there are people out there who are learning Tagalog who may not have discovered my blog yet. (If this is you, maligayang pagdating!)
And finally, for everyone else, I hope you can get more insight into the process of learning a language on your own. Within a week or so from today (June 17, 2015), I’m going to send out a newsletter article about how you can benefit from this project, even if you’re learning another language. So if you haven’t signed up for Language Surf Club, be sure to join to get in on that very soon.
I’ve got some materials ready to go and have already started learning some phrases. I’m amped up and ready to go.
Wish me luck!