T for Tagalog time: 5 tips on retaining our kid’s mother tongue

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Hello guys! Kamusta?

Happy Harmony Day! Ang galing noh, may harmony day pa dito where Australia celebrates cultural diversity.

Buti na lang ready kami para kay Congressman! haha!

Anyway, speaking of cultural diversities, since we are already living in an English speaking country, one of the challenges we have as a family is keeping Marshall to speak Filipino.

When we came here in 2016, Marshall was  2 years old and was still used to speaking Filipino. But at that time, we were worried that he might not be able to converse with people here, especially with the kids, so we spoke with him in English. Pero ang nangyare naging Taglish sya. Pag umuwi tuloy kami ng Pinas nun, tunog conyo haha! May mga taong nagadvise samin na ok lang na tagalugin lang si Marshall kasi pag nagstart na magschool mabilis lang makacope sa English.

True enough, when Marshall started attending child care, few weeks pa lang may pagka-slang na. So when he turned 3, Dada and I decided to really speak Tagalog at home. If we’re outside, we speak Tagalog if we are in a  Filipino community or kapag kami kami lang. Otherwise, we speak in English so it wouldn’t sound rude to others.

How do we try to maintain Filipino language for Marshall?

We’ve come up to 5 tips on retaining his native tongue but we reckon we need more! hehe! Suggestions and additional information are very much welcome!!! ;))

1.We speak Tagalog at home.

Si Marshall, nakakaintindi sya ng Tagalog pero madalas pag kinausap namin sya Tagalog, English ang respond nya. Pero we tell him to try responding in Tagalog. Nagttry naman sya though may pagkaslang na nga. Minsan nagugulat din kami  pag narining namin sya nagsabi “hala nahulog, or, muntik na matapon or, napaso ako, or salamat po! ”. Very strict kami ni Dada sa respond nya samin at sa nakakatanda. He knows he needs to respond with po and opo,. He does forget, but we always correct and remind him.

2.We speak Tagalog when we speak to our families in the Philippines.

Aware din naman sila sa Pinas, especially mga lolos and lolas to speak Tagalog to Marshall. Dati nageenglish din sila pag kausap si Marshall. Pero sabi namin tagalugin lang, para si Marshall na lang ang magadjust hehe. Natutuwa naman sila pag sinabi na ni Marshall , “Mahal na mahal ko kayo habang buhay..” hehe!

3.We tell Marshall to speak Tagalog when he’s with a group of Pinoy kids.

Thankfully, meron din kaming mga kakilalang marunong pa ring magtagalog ang mga anak. So as much as possible, we tell them to converse in Filipino language. Although mas madami pa ring yung times na they speak in English, nakakatuwang pakinggan pag nagtagalog na, parang nasa Pinas lang! Sa susunod pala maganda maturuan namin sila maglaro ng mga Pinoy games. Or yung mga laro na may kanta like Nanay Tatay gusto kong tinapay, or Langit lupa, impyerno — ay teka, wag na pala yun! haha!

4.Aside from speaking Tagalog, we also listen to Tagalog songs.

Pinapanuod ko din dati si Marshall ng mga kantang bahay kubo, leron leron sinta. Pero ngayon sumisingit na rin ng pakikinig sa Parokya at Gloc 9. haha! Naku exciting yun noh! 

5. Lastly, we watch Tagalog dubbed cartoons.

Although hindi naman palage, but we try to watch Tagalog movies and cartoons from time to time. Paborito ni Marshall yung Ghost Fighter, sya daw si Eugene hehe!

Every parent may have a different perception when it comes to maintaining a native language. And it also depends on each family’s situation. For us, as Filipino parents, even though we are already living in an English speaking country, we still want Marshall to speak the mother tongue. We want him to be bilingual or may be multilingual if possible. Being able to speak and understand other languages is a way of embracing a culture. Saka ika nga nila, “hindi ka mabbenta!”. ;))

You may watch a short video of Marshall when he was 3 years old doing his Tagalog time.

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Thank you for taking time to read this story. Feel free to comment for any questions and other topics you might want us to share and we will try our best to reply as soon as we can. 😉

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