Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!
Learning and Speaking Filipino
Learning and Speaking Filipino

Learning Tagalog from a Practical Book

Title: Learning and Speaking Filipino

Author: By Renato Perdon

ISBN: 9780646481098

Address: PO Box 1267, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010 Sydney, Australia


Learning and Speaking Filipino
Learning and Speaking Filipino

“It is an important learning tool and a mirror of our lives,” NHI Chair Ambeth Ocampo said of Renato Perdon’s Learning and Speaking Filipino at its recent launching.

“When I look through the book of author Perdon, there are two (things) I would like to say. First, anybody who has studied a foreign language, especially in school, will realise that you don’t learn a language by being taught grammar. So even if I add, say, twelve units in Spanish, I did not learn Spanish in school because I spent the entire twelve units conjugating verbs which you will never use. And you will never really get to put things together.

“It is only these days that I realise that the teaching of language has changed in such a way that now people are encouraged more to talk rather than to conjugate verbs.”

The pop historian admitted that he did not learn Spanish in school but by following the advice of a former member of the National Historical Institute – the late Ambassador Emilio Aguilar Cruz, who told him to read the Noli and the Fili in its original Spanish if he wanted to learn the language. Aguilar Cruz also added that he learned French from reading comic books in French, Ocampo said.

Here are the rest of his comments on Learning and Speaking Filipino:

“Mr. Perdon’s book is not a grammar book, but it is meant to make people speak in Filipino by using everyday language.

“This book will be used by people in Australia. I hope they will use it also in the United States, where I gave a lecture at the University of San Francisco. There you find second and third generations of Filipinos actually interested in finding their roots. Because of their parents’ new experience in a new country, they were not taught nor spoken to in Filipino at home.”

“These parents in the U.S. were scared that if they spoke Filipino at home their children would have a hard time adjusting. And I keep telling the old timers there that no matter how hard you try to be Americans or Australians, your skin alone will never make you white. So you might as well converse in Filipino at home because now you will spend $20,000 for them to start Filipino language classes at the university and then come to the Philippines.”

Drawing from experience, Ocampo revealed, “I have seen this also in our home when we were growing up. I use to spend my summers in Pampanga, so that I could play with my cousins and learn and converse in Kapampangan. But when I got home, my mother being a Tagalog, refused to let me speak Kapampangan at home. Being a Tagalog her excuse is that baka makuha mo ang punto, huwag ka nang magsalita niyan.(You might acquire the accent, stop speaking it.)

“Because I spent more time there, I realise I could speak it if forced to. May sister, who came four years after me, can understand it but could not speak it. My other sister, who came eight years after me, can neither speak nor understand it. It was only when we were older that we told our mother how she denied us the facility of one language that we could have learned.

“So if you look at the book of Mr. Perdon today, you realise how it is a contribution to the teaching of Filipino because it is situational and it is speaking to.

“I always read dictionaries and I always read grammar books. People don’t read grammar books. The reason is that it tells us a lot about different kinds.

“Maybe many of you are not probably familiar with one of the most famous works of 19th century, a book by Friar Sebastian de Totanes, which was a guide for confession. It was a question and answer book. So if you are at the confessional please open the book and read the book depending on what sins you have.

“Of course, like most people, you will not read the questions for stealing or swearing; you will look at the sexual part. And it is the sexual part that is the most amusing because you actually cringe. Ikaw ba ay nakipag-apid sa hindi mo asawa? (Have you had sex with someone not your spouse?) Ikaw ba ay nakipag-talik sa kapwa lalaki, sa hayop? (Have you had sex with a fellow male, with an animal?) When you read this, you actually get amused that the confessional in Tagalog can be this way and you wonder that it was actually used.

“When you look at grammar books about the 1800s or 1900s, the amo (master) is talking to the maid.‘Ikuha mo ako ng kape. Labhan mo ang damit. (Get me coffee. Wash the clothes.) It is always an order. You actually see what they are written for.

“When you actually read Mr. Perdon’s book, you turn to page 69, one boy is teaching another how to wear a condom in very graphic language. The censors will not allow the author’s book to be read or used in school.

“There is another section on sex and HIV. So, aside from talking about tax laws or GST, and what is life to learn to be in a new country, it talks about everyday things.

“One hundred or two hundred years from now, some historians will read Mr. Perdon’s book not as a grammar book but as a mirror of our lives. It will go down in history as a source to understand ourselves better.”