Although English is spoken by many here, we feel we need to learn Ilocano to better communicate the message we came to give. Here is just a sampling to help you understand the task before us. It is not just the words but the meaning that makes you go "What did you say?"
Barking dogs seldom bite.
Notice the number of words needed to communicate this. If this is true, we have no need to worry about dog bites here. A good night sleep yes, dog bites no.
Ti táo a manákem, dína makíta ti panagdissó ti sakána ití dagá.
Kitáenna ketdi ti sumarunó a baddekánna.
A wise man doesn't see his foot on the ground, he watches his next step.
At home, there are all these signs to clean up after your pet. Not so here, there are numerous stray dogs and we have yet to see someone clean up after their carabou (water buffalo) that get walked on the streets to the different rice fields.
Naim-imbág ti matáy ta malipátanen ngem ti agbiág a maibabaín.
It's better to be dead and forgotten than to live in shame.
This says a lot about the culture especially when you become familiar with all that is done to honor the dead. Seriously shame is a big fear. When teaching it is difficult to get much participation because everyone is worried they might not have the "right" answer. Being seen crying is also shameful.
No awán ti ánus, awán ti lámot.
If there is no patience, there will be no food.
Meal preparation takes time. No fast food restaurants or microwavable meals...no microwaves either.
No sáan nga makaammó nga nangtaliáw ti naggapuánna, saán a makadánon ti papanánna.
He who does not look back to his origins will not reach his destination.
The village you come from is often part of your introduction. When we first came here it seemed where someone was from was emphasized more than even their names.
Di pay nalúto ti pariá simmagpáw ti karabása.
The bittermelon is not yet cooked and the squash jumped in.
Even after learning some Ilocano, we might need a translator! This supposedly means "Who asked you to join in?"