Is Tagalog a dying language?
I hope that with the rest of us who can still speak it pass it on to your children, whether or not they are American born–PLEASE, speak to them in Tagalog. It is as much as your birthright and your children to be blessed with more than one language. As English is by default what we mostly speak, Tagalog is the language they will wish you taught them once they hit adulthood. TRUST ME.
My son was born in San Francisco, and started learning how to talk while we were living in the midwest. By midwest, I mean– not a lot of Filipinos were accessible to him to exchange conversations with. I remember always pushing, that whenever he is home, we ONLY would speak and talk to him in Tagalog. Most of the dialogue we had at home, including our Filipino friends, would primarily have Tagalog conversations– especially for him. I want him to understand instructions in Filipino, call me by Nanay, and learn it by heart. I know he got frustrated most of the time when I kept on doing this for the next 15 years of his life, but eventually…when he finally got to visit Manila as a grown teenager, it paid off.
He didn’t look at people like a deer-on-headlights, clueless AF. Instead, even with broken Tagalog, he conversed and understood Tagalog. He knew how to answer to his elders “opo” and “hindi po” as necessary as possible. He knew, he understood, he got it. He wasn’t lost. I know towards the end of our trip to the Philippines, he looked me with pride in his eyes of being able to interact without getting lost in translation.
So be careful speaking Tagalog in front of my son, trust me–he understands you, completely.
My cousin, Dr. Joy Francisco, PhD, a clinical Psychologist, wrote Filipino Children’s books and you can find them here: Little Yellow Jeepney and among others. She grew up in California and wrote these books to make sure her children can learn Tagalog. I truly think its beautiful and I want to support her in this movement.
To all my Filipino-American mothers alike, to my family in the midwest– this is important. You never really know how important Tagalog is, until your kids are grown and will blame you for not teaching them when they were young.