Hello, everyone! I'm Mark from the Philippines! 🇵🇭

Hi, everyone! My name is Mark from the Philippines.

I belong to the Chinese minority in my country, and I grew up speaking four languages, as is usual for the people in my community. My native languages are English and Tagalog, but I also speak Philippine Hokkien as a heritage language. I spent the first half of my life learning Mandarin Chinese at school until my college years. Growing up, I always had an interest in foreign languages and culture, but back then, we didn’t have as much exposure and opportunities for cultural immersion. As a result, my knowledge was limited to the encyclopedias at home and a not-so-reliable Internet connection.

When I was a junior in college, I made the decision to study in Japan, an experience that totally opened my mind to the world of language learning. I finally got to fully immerse myself in a foreign culture away from my comfort zone and even learned the language intensively as a part of our student exchange curriculum. When I returned to the Philippines, I had a roughly A2-B1 knowledge in the language and was able to communicate with some of the Japanese exchange students studying at my university. Moreover, I soon found out that Korean grammar is quite similar to Japanese grammar, so I studied it by myself to help me better communicate with the Korean students at the English program in my university. After seeing their positive reactions and realizing that being able to or making any attempts communicate in the native language of the person you’re talking to makes a positive impact, I started to keep learning more languages on the side and never looked back.

In 2016, I quit my job in the corporate world and joined a volunteer program in Poland. I had learned a little bit of Polish over the Internet prior to my trip, and it had really helped a lot in getting around the country and even making a lot of friends along the way. When I got home, I decided to branch out from the Asian languages I was more accustomed to and start learning more European languages. The following year, I learned Spanish and Portuguese and used them to reconnect and communicate with my friends from Latin America.

Now, I work as a language instructor (online for now as face-to-face classes are currently prohibited in my country due to the pandemic) and am working towards an M.A. in Anthropology. I’d like to use my knowledge in foreign languages to help bridge people together and open their minds to a world of opportunities. I currently speak eight languages (English, Tagalog, Mandarin, Philippine Hokkien, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese) and am learning French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Thai, and Quechua.

I’d love to get to know all of you more! Sending you my warmest greetings from Manila!


Hello Mark and welcome to the forum! Wow, you have such an interesting story!! :slight_smile:

Hallo, Rina! Danke schön! Thank you for the warm welcome :slightly_smiling_face:

You speak German as well? I haven’t read it above… But we still have some languages in common :slight_smile: German is my mother tongue, but I also speak English (C2), French (B1 - used to be B2 and I’ve recently started to brush it up again), Spanish (A2-B1), Russian (A1) and I’m currently studying Arabic (A2-B1) :slight_smile:

My parents are from the Philippines. My mom’s first language was Spanish, then English and Ilocano, then Tagalog. I don’t know my dad’s first language, but he did speak English, Spanish, Tagalog, and a few other Filipino dialects. As a kid Japanese was taught in schools for a couple years during WW2, but he said he did not remember how to speak it once he was an adult.


1 Like

I just started learning German a month ago. It’s a bit difficult due to the cases and the articles that agree with it, but I’d like to work on it more. :slight_smile:

Hi, Bando! Nice to meet you! What do you guys speak at home?

English. Like most first gen born, my parents didn’t teach the kids any Tagalog.

It’s definitely a language worth learning :slight_smile: if you have any questions, I’d be happy to help!

And as for the cases, believe me there are
“worse” languages with even more than 4 cases (Russian for example has 6 cases :see_no_evil: I never quite got the hang of those).

1 Like

Hallo MarkOng!

Greetings from sunny South Africa!

Oh, I see. But do you still hear them speak the language from time to time?

The same thing pretty much happens here in the big cities in the Philippines, especially among the higher social classes. Many parents tend to speak only in English to their kids, thinking that a higher proficiency in the language guarantees more respect and opportunities (which, of course, is not always true). Many of my younger friends can’t speak Tagalog or their respective local languages fluently.

Interesting that happens in the Philippines.

I hear my mom speak Tagalog (not Ilocano) with her sisters. However, I’m so conditioned to ignore Tagalog that even when I tried to learn it on my own through Youtube channels, my brain tunes out and I literally do not hear anything. I hope to give it a try again one of these days.

I have another question about Tagalog. Which languages in the Philippines are mutually intelligible and the closest to Tagalog, can you rank them in terms of similarity and proximity to Tagalog?

That’s awesome! It’s great to meet you! I’m curious about two things: why did you decide to volunteer in Poland and how are you learning Quechua? :slight_smile:

Hello Mark! Nice to meet you :grin:

Hi Mark!

It’s a pleasure meeting you here and I enjoy our chats. I think you left out Burmese on your learning list. :wink:

See you again soon!

That’s my teacher! I made it to the forum!

Hi Joshe!

Nice to meet you here. :slight_smile: Which language is Mark teaching you, Spanish?

Hi Ron!

Yes, Spanish. Nice to meet you here too! I am new to the conference, it’s my first time here.

Welcome! Lots of interesting things on this forum. Feel free to check out the Live environment (you might have to sign up separately for this, I think) and the presentations on Saturn (while the live environment is still open until 8 November, I believe). The Moon Cafe - which will stay open - is a nice (24/7) place to hang out and chat with others, if they are around. Enjoy!