One of the things that I find has been fun and helpful to me in terms of learning language is chatting, and interacting in other ways over the Internet in Bisaya. In recent weeks, I have been using Facebook to do this. If I update my status and write it in Bisaya, it always draws a lot of comments! When there are comments, I always interact with them too, usually exclusively in Bisaya.
I find that this is just another way to add more use of Bisaya into my daily life. It also helps me by making me interact with a number of other people. I mean, if you always only interact with the same people, I believe that the Bisaya you speak becomes stale or insular, isolated to just the way those few others speak. I know that when I get comments in Bisaya on Facebook, I often run into new ways to say things, slightly different uses of words, etc. I like that, and feel it is valuable. I love my teacher, Bebe, but I can’t rely on only her as my partner in conversation. Doing things like chatting with others online, or going places in public that provide opportunities for interaction is also very important, IMHO.
There is only one thing that happens on Facebook in regards to writing in Bisaya which I don’t care for. There is one person (thankfully, only one person) who keeps on putting a comment where instead of commenting, he rewrites what I wrote in a different way, I guess the way that he thinks I should have said it. I mean, am I perfect in my use of Bisaya? No way, far from it. However, for example, I don’t go around correcting the English of every Filipino I hear. I think that would be rude, and would belittle them. In my case, if this fellow is wanting to help me by correcting mistakes that I make, maybe it would be more polite to e-mail it to me or something. Anyway, no biggie, I just ignore it, or look at it and see if I agree with the corrections that he makes. Sometimes, the corrections are just a different way of saying the same thing that I said, although each of us is correct.
Another thing that I like to do is to go shopping at the Merkado each week. I am talking about the Public Market, and open air market where you can buy things like fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and just about anything else you can think of. Most of the vendors there don’t speak English, so it gives me an excellent opportunity to practice using Bisaya.
About 3 weeks ago, I went to Cebu City for a little over 3 days. That was a wonderful trip, because Cebu is the home of Bisaya (or also called Cebuano). The language is very pure in Cebu, not bastardized with Tagalog like it is in many other places. It is straight, pure Cebuano, which is what I am learning. I enjoyed the trip so much! For 3 solid days I spoke almost 100% in Bisaya, and I also enjoyed that I could understand nearly 100% of what I heard from people there. Here in Davao, the language spoken is very “halo-halo” which means a mixture. Tagalog and Bisaya. That’s OK if that is what you speak, but I can’t speak Tagalog, so it makes it more difficult to understand. I still do OK, though. But, being in Cebu was like being in Heaven for me! It felt so natural for the first time to be speaking Bisaya. I really had a good time. On that trip, I went alone. In July, Feyma and I have tickets to go back to Cebu together, and I’m really looking forward to the return trip! It should be a blast, and another good opportunity to put my Bisaya to good use.
For anybody reading who is also learning a new language, keep it up! When you get to where you can really converse in the language, the effort pays off big time!