The Language Jam is a challenge where you get a randomly chosen language you have never studied before and study it for one weekend. Unfortunately I missed the first language jam because I didn’t have time, but this time I participated!
And the language I was assigned to was… Tagalog!
My initial thoughts
To be honest, when I opened the website and saw which language I got, I was a bit disappointed. I think I was secretly hoping I would get a language that I have some interest in but never had the time or motivation to study. For a little while I was even considering taking the alternative language, which was Romanian. I have a Romanian friend so it would have been cool to learn the language a bit.
But then I started reading a bit about Tagalog and I realized two things:
- Tagalog is a super interesting language! I knew absolutely nothing about it before but after reading a bit about it I became really, really interested in it. For example, I didn’t expect it to be so influenced by Spanish and as a learner of Spanish this is really interesting for me. Another intresting thing for me is the code-switching with English. I found a very interesting video on youtube about it.
- I can study the languages I’m interested in anytime. But this challenge actually gave me the chance to discover a language I had never had in mind and now I’m extremely grateful for this!!
The preparation phase
You’re given a few days to find resources and prepare for the challenge. I first went to Duolingo, but had to learn that they don’t have Tagalog yet. So I simply googled a bit and found some websites. I also checked Youtube and found quite a few videos.
Since Tagalog doesn’t use a different script I didn’t have to learn that in advance. I checked some videos on pronunciation and found it quite easy so I didn’t do much here in advance either.
The weekend (Oct 19-21) & my resources
There are a few things that I learned in my first language jam. It’s not enough to just google some resources. I wasted a lot of time trying to learn with some of the resources but it just didn’t work for me and I had to switch and start all over again.
These are the resources that I used:
Learn Tagalog Language with Master Ling > I found this app in the app store (Android, not sure if it exists for iOS) and liked it because it has a very similar teaching style as Duolingo. The first lesson was also great. But in the second lesson I had to learn random numbers like 14 and 25, when I didn’t even know the numbers from 1 to 10! And then I saw that most of the lessons are actually locked behind a paywall, so I stopped using the app.
FilipinoPod101.com > I didn’t want to register so I used their Youtube channel. I watched some videos about greetings and introducing yourself. I liked how they were made but got annoyed by the repetitive “this is all for this lecture, next time we will see xyz” over and over in the same video. They really could have removed them when putting all their short videos together in the longer ones. But maybe that’s on purpose so people get annoyed and just use the website? On a different note, if you’re interested in Filipino vs. Tagalog, check this Wikipedia article.
Learningtagalog.com > They have three courses with a lot of lessons, but since they were not free I didn’t use them. What I found really helpful though were their free learning videos. They teach you the pronunciation and some basic grammar. They also have a free grammar section where I spent a lot of time just reading up a lot of interesting things about the language!
Learn-tagalog.com > This was my favorite resource! They have a course with 13 lessons for free. The course is based on audio and they also provide a free transcript for each lesson. What I liked most about it was that they made you repeat the things they said and broke down longer words into shorter parts, which helped a lot. It was so much fun speaking along with them!
After the challenge
Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to study Tagalog, but I had a lot of fun doing it! Overall I’m really happy I took part in the challenge and especially that I got the chance to study a language I had never thought about studying before. This was definitely great.
I fell in love with the Tagalog language. The way they speak it sounds like a super cool and super fun language. And I had so much fun speaking it (I was really glad I found audio based courses). The language is really interesting and I’d love to explore it more one day. I’m not sure if I will ever really try to learn Tagalog to be conversationally fluent (I’d need more motivation for that) but at least I want to learn a bit more about the structure and language in general.