Friday, February 11, 2005

Chris and I have a new Ilonggo language tutor. Our first tutor, Rowena, was great, and we now have become friends. Her family came to Eric's Birthday Pool Party. She no longer teaches at the language school so we now have a new tutor. Our new tutor, Sam, is also great, but she demonstrates the challenges of learning an unwritten language. Ilonggo has a few strict grammar rules, but much of the language is formed around common usages. Since we now have a different tutor, we are learning her usages and idioms.

In some ways this absence of strict grammar makes Ilonggo easier to learn. Just go ahead and speak, don't worry about grammar, mix in a little English, and usually you will be understood. Once I got over my perfectionism, I found I could speak and understand much more than I really know. And since I look Filipino (probably because I am Filipino), when I am on the street people already expect me to know the dialect.

Most educated people here know and understand English, and some Filipinos speak it very well. When movies are imported from the U.S., they are shown in English without subtitles. The Sonshine Center Filipino staff are definitely fluent in English. The children who come to Center speak only Ilonggo.

The language school, CNC, where Chris and I, and the other missionaries here, go for Ilonggo instruction is actually a school that teaches English to Koreans. The deal is that we teach English to Koreans, and we get lessons in Ilongo in exchange. This has also blossomed into a unique relationship with the school. Students and tutors from CNC come to the Center at least once a month to help us minister to the kids. One of my students comes every Saturday to help out at Sonshine Kidz Klub. The school has also started giving a monthly financial gift to the Center. This is an incredible example of God's favor on the Sonshine Center.

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