I have always been proud of my heritage, a mix of both Filipino and White. However, I wish I could speak the language of my mom, the Cebuano language (also known as Bisayan or Binisaya, which is the second most common language in the Philippines, as distinct from the first most common, Tagalog, even though it would be nice to know that too). Apparently, I had been able to understand it when I was very little, just about two years old.
Eventually, as the years went on and I grew older, though, my mom’s language of Cebuano came to sound just like any other foreign language to me. Now that I was older, I decided to ask my mom why it turned out like this. After all, my little sister had the ability speak the language. My mom then mentioned to me that my older brother could understand it when he was little too. But then, on his first day of school, when he was in Pre-K, he saw that everyone was only speaking English.
When he came home, my brother asked why my mom speaks to him in a way that “sounds funny” to all the other kids, and asked my mom to stop speaking the language to him, because it makes it hard for him to fit in with his friends. Therefore, there are two factors that probably contributed to why I can’t speak it. One of the factors was the situation with my brother, and because little siblings often look up to their bigger ones, I thought he was (almost) infallible and thus agreed. The second factor is what I am about to explain next.
I spoke a little later than other children my age did, though not late enough to be clinical in any way. When I did speak, however, my first word was in English. Also, my mom was the only Cebuano speaker in my household, so I didn’t have enough exposure to learn her language fully. Nevertheless, my little sister did have enough exposure, because when she was at that critical language-learning age, my grandparents from the Philippines came to America and lived with us. She thus had three people to speak with and listen to, while I only had one person. I do have hope for the future, though.
I do not try to blame my brother for it as his was just one factor, and he was a little kid and did not know the effect it would have on me. It was not really his fault at all. Unfortunately, there’s no Rosetta Stone or anything similar for Cebuano. They only have Rosetta Stone for Tagalog. Despite this, I will try to find a way to learn it. I am determined to know more languages also, and I want to have the widest repertoire of languages I can handle. Since I am one of the only two people in this class who only know English, this has inspired me to learn more than that.