Looking for creative ways to learn a new language? Erik Steel at http://www.soyouwanna.com/introduction-foreign-language-learning-10621.html suggests:
“Interact with the language you’re learning outside of studying. …watch films and television shows and try to read newspapers and books. … go to a restaurant or shop where you know that language is spoken and interact with others in real time to improve your listening comprehension and speaking skills.”
It is important to hear and practice with a native speaker either in person or by digital reproductions; i.e., CD, DVD. Our personal favorite is Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone presents you with action pictures and teaches you by recognition eliminating the need to translate in your head. You learn in stages and test your own speaking skills along the way.
Here are some of our favorite online links:
Though http://wwws.binisaya.com is my favorite, and in my opinion the most complete cebuano-english/english-cebuano dictionary, http://translate.sandayong.com/translate/0/cebuano/english/pagka explores different scenarios and applications binisaya.com does not.
http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en. What I especially like about google is that you can enter full phrases or sentences.
http://www.languagelinks.org. Here they offer lessons, free translations, dictionaries and translations. Online lessons also include native speakers and for some lessons, interaction with a native speaker.
http://www.freelang.net. Check out the online version of their dictionaries or download a desktop version. With a number of words, you will receive relevant phrases for the word you are searching.
http://foreignword.com. A good backup when other dictionaries lack a translation.
Matthew would often take me to a Mexican restaurant or a Philippine grocery store just to practice speaking in another language. A few other personal favorites for me is to: 1) watch a movie I am very familiar with in the language I am learning. (While at Rancho 3M we were able to apply this while learning Spanish); 2) read the bible in both English and Spanish; and, for both Matthew and I, 3) memorize favorite Scripture passages. (Check out my favorite online link for reading the bible in different languages at: www.biblegateway.com. Enter the term or passage you are looking for. Select the language and/or version in the drop down menu and click update. Wala!) Also, if there is a specific word you are looking for or want to see the proper context of the word’s usage, do a word search in your favorite version and then check that text in the language you are learning.
These practices can be very valuable but it is important to reiterate that it is in social interaction that we gain our confidence.
Now, as we prepare to go to Cebu February 1, 2010, we are confronted with a few challenges one of which is that it is not offered on Rosetta Stone. In a recent conversation with a gracious Filipina lady, Beth from Messiah Bible Church, she suggested Matthew and I just start talking to each other in Cebuano. This rang a bell for me. My father taught us Tagalog regularly growing up but we just never seemed to catch on. Why? He never spoke to us in Tagalog outside a classroom setting nor was it spoken in our home and we were not able to apply what we had learned.
We suggest you be very creative. Begin with the basics and, according to your interests and likes, build from there. For example, Matthew might greet me, “Maayong bungtog kanimo.” Good afternoon to you. I in turn would greet him and ask if I know him. He would go on to explain he is my husband. After asking if he is sure, I ask him if he loves me. Of course he does and I to on to say then, I love you too. We next go into a little colloquy where I don’t recognize someone. When Matthew advises me that the person is in fact my older brother, I excuse myself by noting that I cannot find my eyeglasses which Matthew points out are on my head. By now I am exhausted; all I can say is that I am tired and want to go home. Matthew is more than happy to go. “Tana!” Let’s go!
In this little conversation we learn and practice how to say good morning, I love you, inquire about someone, express being tired, along with the proper responses, locate something like my eye glasses and finally say: let’s go home Molakaw kanato ang balay.
Malipayong Pasko sa tanan ug pagbulahan ng Diyos kaninyo! Merry Christmas to all and God bless you! (Disclaimer on the accuracy in the translation of God bless you. Corrections welcomed by native speakers. To learn the proper pronunciations go to href=”http://www.languagelinks.org/lessons/cebuano/christmas1.html”)