The Philippines struggles with a national language identity. It was English or Taglish. Now it is Tagalog, although certain areas will not use it and have their own specific language. It all gets very confusing for the poor foreigner making his way around the country and of course around his Filipino family and friends.
Cebuano/Bisayan is an extremely phonetic language, thus making it much simpler for non-Cebuano to learn and speak. Honest, it is.
Every Filipino dialect has similarities to Spanish, who ruled this country for over 300 years, and the pronunciation is nearly identical. Double “l”s in Cebuano is pronounced with a “y” sound, the “j” is typically spoken as “h”, and the “r”s are rolled in the same way Spanish-speakers roll their “r”s.
The phrase for good evening:: “Maayong gabii”. Most non-Filipinos would read that out loud as “mai-yong gabby”. Not so. Every vowel in Filipino languages is pronounced, even when they are following another vowel. Thus, good evening would be “ma-ayong gabi-i”.
When talking about money it is probably vital that you understand what is being spoken about. It would be very embarrassing if you shook hands on a deal and ended up owing money, when you were negotiating that they owe you money.
Here are some examples of money conversations.
- I have no money.
Wala ko’y kwarta. (wa-lUH-koy-kwarta)
- Do you have money?
Naa ka’y kwarta? (na-a-kai-kwarta)
- I was robbed.
Natulisan ko. (na-tu-li-san KO)
- I have ___ dollars/pesos.
Naa ko’y ___ dolyares. (na-ah-koy ___ DOU-li-ya-res/pe-sos) Note: You can use “dollars” instead of “dolyares.”
- Give me my money.
Ambi ang akong kwarta. (am-bi-ang-akong-kwarta)
- Where is my/your wallet?
Asa ang akong/imohang pitaka? (asa-ang-akong/imo-hang-kwarta)
- That’s expensive!
Mahala pud ana! (mahala-pud-a-nUH)
- That’s really cheap!
Barato kaayo na! (barato-ka-ayo-nUH)
- Can you lower your price?
Mahimo ba i-ubos ang imohang presyo? (MA-hi-mo-ba ee-oo-bos ang i-mo-hang-pres-yo)
- I don’t like this/that.
Dili ko ani/ana. (dee-lee-ko-ani/anUH)
If you read through the above a few times and find that it is easy to pronounce. Then imagine what a Cebuano language course can do for you and your family.
Slang is also common. When talking in Cebuano slang, The sounds “ula, alo, ola” the ‘l’ has a ‘w’ sound as in “sundalo” which now becomes “sundaw”. Words can also be shortened when spoken as a slang. For instance in “halang” (spicy) the ‘la’ disappears making it “ha’ng” when spoken as a slang (the correct pronunciation would be “halang”), “nimo” would become “mo”.
Keep in mind that there are many variances as to how a phrase/sentence can be spoken such as with “What is your name?”. It can be spoken as: “Unsa ang ngalan nimo?” “Unsa’y ngalan nimo?” “Unsa’y nga’n nimo?”