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Adventures in Cebuano, etc. (Goldlist)

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ElComadreja
Senior Member
Philippines
bibletranslatio
Joined 4645 days ago

683 posts - 80 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Cebuano, French, Tagalog

 
 Message 1 of 145
21 February 2013 at 5:27pm | IP Logged 
Around two years ago I tried to learn Cebuano at the same time I was learning Biblical
Greek, and it worked for a while, but one day I was taking a Greek quiz and many of the
words that came to mind were the wrong language. It was at that time I decided to put
down the local language for a while until I got a hold of Greek.
     It seems to be like this for me... I can learn different languages at once, but
there's a step in there where I have to “activate” the words and grammar that I've
stuffed in my head by immersing myself in it as much as possible. That I can only do
one at a time and it takes months for it to stick.
     Anyway for the last 6 months or so I've really been cranking down on the Cebuano.
     Cebuano is a challenging language for me, not so much because it's a “hard”
language but because of the lack of materials available for it. If you go to the book
store most of the books are in English. TV is in English (or the national language
Tagalog). Check out Amazon.com and there is only a handful of books on the subject, and
only one of those has any audio. I grab everything I can find that's Cebuano. My best
friend so far has been an audio recording of the Bible. This is not so much because I
like that Bible, but because I now have tons of listening material. But you know what?
The word choice of even some of the newer translations have an “elevated” or “older”
style and so what I learn is not all so entirely useful. This is what the locals call
“laum” or deep words. Add to that the fact that many words and phrases often have
contracted forms in normal conversation.
     Knowing Spanish certainly helps with some of the vocabulary, but it's not a game
changer. “Como esta?” is the standard greeting (written “kumusta?”) But this doesn't
get me anywhere grammatically because here it's just a single, noninflected word that's
not really used in any other way. Some of the people around here would have you believe
that Spanish makes it SO much easier to learn Cebuano. NOT TRUE :(
     I'm starting to feel that I'm getting the hang of this language lexically, as I
haven't heard many words in conversation that I haven't heard before. (I'm sitting
somewhere between 1200 and 2000 words). I feel that I'm one step out from fluency,
thanks to lots of reading and listening and the newly discovered anki, but I can't
quite get there. I usually understand people if they don't talk at full speed. My
speech is “guba”, broken mainly because I don't have a complete hold on how the grammar
works yet, or much of the local idiom. I keep hearing words I know, but don't always
recognize them because they are being used in different ways.

     There is no (common) way to say, “What is the word for ___?”, it has to be closer
to “How do you say ____?”
     “Have you asked someone?” comes across literally as “Have you asked a man?”

Edited by ElComadreja on 29 January 2014 at 3:19am

5 persons have voted this message useful



ElComadreja
Senior Member
Philippines
bibletranslatio
Joined 4645 days ago

683 posts - 80 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Cebuano, French, Tagalog

 
 Message 2 of 145
23 February 2013 at 6:18am | IP Logged 
     In general, “wala” means not and “dili” means no, but today I was misunderstood when I said “Wala ko makatudlo” (I cannot teach). This was because it should have been “Dili ko makatudlo”, which is literally “I can no teach”. Perhaps this is because "wala" is associated with the past, although that feature seems to have dropped out of today's Cebuano.
     I'm having a bit of trouble trying to figure out how to use infinitives. Many times a pag- prefix goes on front of the verb, as in “hibalo ko unsaon pagdefensa akong kaugalingon” (I know how to defend myself), but I think there is something else going on because sometimes others will translate my idea using something like “ug mokaon” (or “ug koan” I can't remember exactly what it was). I also seem to remember, but can't seem to find, something about how the infinitive is just the dictionary form. If this is true this is quite confusing because someone else told me that you can use the dictionary from as a command.

edit:
Okay, with a few more translations from the natives I have this... pag- is only used in particular constructions and instead mo- (or mag-) is used. "Kinahanlan ko mokaon"... I need to eat (lit: I need will eat) I think this is because the most common words for want, need, etc, are not inflected and so have no time or tense, so the time will be shown in the other verb.

On another note, I found where it says that the dictionary form is the command form (at least in active voice) although placing pag- in front is optional. I don't think anyone around here uses pag- in this way.

Edited by ElComadreja on 16 March 2013 at 5:16am



ElComadreja
Senior Member
Philippines
bibletranslatio
Joined 4645 days ago

683 posts - 80 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Cebuano, French, Tagalog

 
 Message 3 of 145
15 March 2013 at 4:39pm | IP Logged 
I've really been cranking out the vocabulary. My bilingual Bible is quite a help.. there seems to be no other language resource like it (unfortunately). I picked it up after using my normal one for a while because I realized several times that even if I knew the word, I couldn't make out what the overall meaning was. Every time I don't know a word I put it into Anki and that seems to be going well. It seems to really be boosting my listening comprehension. Where before I would understand 0% I can many times get the words, even if I don't know what they mean when you put them together, or at least, not on the fly. I listened to a recording of 1 book cold and there were several lengthy sections that I understood (although it is a familiar book for me).

The grammar doesn't seem so bizarre to me anymore although I have problems trying to reproduce it myself in conversation. One example -- I said "unsa'y gusto ka?" (what do you want?) and it should have been "unsa'y gusto nimo?" It's kind of the difference between "I" and "me".



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 2573 days ago

3292 posts - 1014 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 4 of 145
15 March 2013 at 4:45pm | IP Logged 
Good luck with the language, you're the first person I see that actually attempts to learn it. Too bad that there are few resources, but I hope you can get by with what you got and later start using native materials. I've heard how challenging the grammar of Tagalog is, so I have an idea of how Cebuano might be.



ElComadreja
Senior Member
Philippines
bibletranslatio
Joined 4645 days ago

683 posts - 80 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Cebuano, French, Tagalog

 
 Message 5 of 145
16 March 2013 at 4:41am | IP Logged 
Thanks. I started taking a look at Tagalog out of curiosity, and it strikes me as the same language with different words. The big things seems to be that there is an extra verb pattern that Cebuano doesn't have. I've started learning some basic words in Tagalog, which still has its uses in this area, one of which is the occasional code switch to it. Knowing some Cebuano vocab helps... for example "asawa" in Cebuano means wife, but in Tagalog it means spouse (no gender).
Given a choice, I would learn Tagalog first (because of all the materials out there) and then go to Cebuano. Looks like I'm coming at it from the other direction.



viedums
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Thailand
Joined 2073 days ago

327 posts - 200 votes 
Speaks: Latvian, English*, German, Mandarin, Thai, French
Studies: Vietnamese

 
 Message 6 of 145
16 March 2013 at 6:31pm | IP Logged 
Good luck with Cebuano.

About wala, in Tagalog it would mean 'there isnt...' or 'X doesn't have...'. Like this:
Walang tao sa bahay. 'There's no one in the house.'
Wala akong loro. 'I don't have a parrot.'

Have you used Wolff's Cebuano dictionary? It's huge (2 volumes) and full of example sentences. Apparently it's in the public domain too. Here is a link:

Cebuano dictionary
1 person has voted this message useful



ElComadreja
Senior Member
Philippines
bibletranslatio
Joined 4645 days ago

683 posts - 80 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Cebuano, French, Tagalog

 
 Message 7 of 145
23 March 2013 at 6:59pm | IP Logged 
I tried some shadowing since my options are limited here. I used a recording 6 minutes long, and that I am also familiar with in English. I just listened to it at first and thought "oh my goodness, I don't understand ANYTHING!" (A later survey showed that there were only 2 or so words that I didn't know).

So, as an experiment, I just walked around and tried to repeat the audio. As you might imagine I couldn't possibly repeat everything, but there were several moments of understanding. I also repeated the audio while reading it several times.
At the end, I still couldn't process everything at full speed, but it was much better than at first.

Then I had to go next door to tell my neighbors something and felt an unusual urge to do so in Cebuano, and the words came rather quickly (though it would not call it "automatic") Still, I fought against it and decided not to. I listened while repeating and reading in the morning, and felt an urge to use Cebuano many times through the day (and did, with a few corrections). All day other people's speech did not seem so foreign.

Either I've just reached some intermediate stage overnight or I just psyched myself out.

Edited by ElComadreja on 18 April 2013 at 5:56pm



ElComadreja
Senior Member
Philippines
bibletranslatio
Joined 4645 days ago

683 posts - 80 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Cebuano, French, Tagalog

 
 Message 8 of 145
26 March 2013 at 6:28pm | IP Logged 
Tried some shadowing exercises earlier today and it just wasn't working like it used to, because I couldn't seem to get a hold on what anything meant like I normally can. So I listened to the TV Patrol on Radyo Bisdak. Best I could tell, I could tell where the words were separated, but I couldn't attach meaning to most of them. I needed some way to practice orally.

I ended up making some of my own audio cards. I was just going to record the Cebuano and type in the translation but getting everything coordinated was an issue in Anki. So, I recorded some instead with the Cebuano, a pause and then the English. Then I could "import" all the file names to the cards and then I had an instant spaced repetition for a "translate in the pause" exercise. As each recording is only a few seconds, I made about 100 really quickly.

Then after going through all those cards, somehow the shadowing exercise worked like it did before. I think I'm making progress but it doesn't FEEL like it.



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