Friday, January 2, 2009

12/16 – 12/18 Watch Your Language!

It was amazing how much quieter the night was at the Hagen’s home. We did not hear roosters crowing. (They don’t just crow at daybreak.) Their two dogs did not bark through the night like the countless strays that wander Bontoc. And best of all, we did not get treated to the ballads and shouts of drunks out on the street. I thought I was used to it, but in its absence I really enjoyed the quiet.

On Tuesday and Thursday Jen took us through a crash course on linguistics and language learning techniques. They do not know Ilocano but are fluent in Tagalog. Apparently, the structure and grammar of most of the Filipino languages is very similar. Regardless of that, their intent was not to teach us language, but techniques for learning language.

As part of the training we received, Jen gave a 15 minute demonstration of how a language lesson should look. On Wednesday we went to several villages with them where they are establishing churches (more on that later). While there, Lisa was listening as Steve asked one of the villagers a question for her. She was excited to see how she was able to pick out a couple words and have an idea of what the response was even before Steve told her.
Alexie and Adriana joined us for the first day of language learning. It was the part of the training that was most applicable to where they are at. Alexie was a little frustrated about some of the mechanics. She is probably most advanced of our family in learning Ilocano. In fact, our first night there, co-workers of Steve and Jen came over to meet us. They had worked for years in an Ilocano speaking area. When he asked Alexie to demonstrate some of her Ilocano, he was impressed by how well she had the pronunciation. She enjoys learning from her friends, but was not interested in learning about the linguistics associated with the language.

Another language related thing about our time with them in the village was that we had the opportunity to practice the techniques they taught us. There was a man there who knows Ilocano. With Jen there to help guide us, we were able to try the things she was teaching us. It was good practice. In my former career, we would have called it a training performance evaluation. We passed and are now qualified to try to learn Ilocano using the Hagen language learning method. Now we just need to do it.

Ilocano lesson in Centro, Bicol, Philippines


  1. Sounds interesting...great homeschool project, right!

  2. That's what we were thinking. Our plan is to use our Ilocano language lessons for the foreign language course requirement. We have an excellent opportunity as we have an abundance of native speakers available to us and many times to practice. The method we learned is much more like how a child learns to speak. We will have all the girls sit in on our Total Physical Response times with our language helper but have Adriana and Alexie join us in the rest. The younger two we will let do more if they desire. Many of us made a goal to be able to speak Ilocano conversationally by the end of the year.