Philippine Headstart is the best course for learning to speak Philipino/Tagalog quickly. Conversation, dialogues and practical vocabulary are the focus of this course. The illustrated book includes course materials and a cultural guide. Each unit of the 13 CDs has different activities, including conversation and notes, exercises, and a self-evaluation quiz. Unit by unit objectives for each module are stated at the start of the module, and each module has a vocabulary at the end. This course was developed by the Defense Language Institute for use in its own renowned language school. With 13 CDs and a book, and also in a Digital Version with PDF text and MP3 audio files, all on one CD-ROM.
Philippine Headstart is designed to enable you to communicate in situations which you are likely to encounter in the Philippines. The emphasis of the course is on speaking and understanding Pilipino, and you will be working extensively with audio in the form of CDs. (You will find Pilipino, Philipino, Taqalog and Filipino used interchangeably in both the audio and written programs.)
The Pilipino Headstart consists of five basic modules with accompanying CDs. Each of the five modules is divided into units (two to three units per module), and each unit is a complete lesson. The learning activities for each unit are:
2. Notes on the Conversation
4. Self-evaluation Quiz
Unit-by-unit objectives for each module are stated at the beginning of the module. The Keys to marked exercises and to the self-evaluation quizzes are at the end of the book. The Cumulative Glossary (Pilipino-English and English-Pilipino) follows the Keys.
Modules I through V should be studied in sequence. Average completion time for students who have never studied Pilipino is 30 to 40 hours. The contents of each module are shown below; a complete table of contents can be found here
Near the end of each unit there is a Conversation for Listening Comprehension. These conversations may include words or expressions from units you have already studied or they may include new words. This conversation is for listening practice and it is important that you try to understand as much as possible without looking at your text. Play the conversation several times if you need to. The first time, you may get only a general idea of what is happening, but each time you play it you will understand more. You will be able to confirm any guesses you have made, and you will find yourself beginning to think in Pilipino.
The last step in this exercise is to check your text and any notes on the exercise; then play the conversation again while following your text. The English translation - if you need it - is in the Key.
Keep in mind that the material covered in these conversations is strictly for listening comprehension; any new words or phrases found in these conversations will not be tested.
In addition to grammatical explanations, the Notes on the Conversation contain cultural and general information related to the subject or to the setting of the conversation. In the English version of the conversation, words required in Pilipino but not in English appear in parentheses; words not used in Pilipino but needed in English are in brackets.
Each unit contains Say in Pilipino exercises which will help you review for the Self-evaluation Quiz (SEQ) at the end of each unit. If you have no trouble with these exercises, you are ready for the SEQ. The SEQ, which tests your achievement of the unit objectives, consists of a series of situations in which you must respond either in Pilipino or in English. Depending on the objectives of the unit, you may be called upon to write down numbers (time, prices, etc.), or to comprehend limited written material such as signs displayed in public places. The quizzes are on the audio recordings, as are the correct responses to items in which you are required to speak. The correct answers for the entire quiz are printed in the Key. If you can respond correctly to all the items in the quiz in the time allowed on the audio recordings, you can be confident that you have achieved the objectives of that unit.
If you are working on your own and are satisfied with your performance on the SEQs for every unit of a module, you are ready for the next module. If you are working with an instructor, he or she will check your performance on each module before you begin the next one. This check will consist of an informal interview during which you will be asked to respond to your instructor by playing a role appropriate to the subject of the module.
When you have completed the four modules, you are ready for the End-of-Course Test. This test consists of 50 (multiple-choice) items. If you have performed satisfactorily on the SEQs and interviews, you will probably find this test fairly easy. Eighty percent (40 correct answers) is the passing score.
Begin with Module I and study each module in sequence. Before you start the recording for each module, read the objectives and the English version of the conversation.
After practicing the conversation check the Notes on the Conversation; in addition to grammatical explanations, the notes contain cultural and general information related to the subject or to the setting of the conversation. In the English version of the conversation, words required in Pilipino but not in English appear in parentheses; words not used in Pilipino but needed in English are in brackets.
All the instructions are on the aurdio recordings; do not try to study the course without them. When you are listening and repeating in Pilipino, try to imitate the speakers on the recordings as closely as possible. If it helps you to look at the Pilipino, by all means do so, but remember to trust your ears rather than your eyes. In the exercises in which you are required to respond in Pilipino, the correct response will be given on the recordings. Responses and cues to the self-evaluation quizzes and to exercises marked with a key-symbol are also printed in the Keys.
Individual learning styles vary, so we have built a certain amount of flexibility into the materials to accommodate these variations. The recommendations that we make here have been successful for most students. If you have approaches that work better for you, by all means, use them.
1. We discourage you from trying to read the Pilipino text without listening to the recordings. If you attempt to read and then listen to the recordings, you will quickly discover that what you hear often doesn't sound like what you see, and you will have wasted valuable time. You will notice that when some words are pronounced by themselves, they will sound different from the way they sound in a sentence. Look at the English sentence "Did you eat yet?" which usually comes out sounding something like "Jeetjet?" Pilipino is no different, so pay careful attention to the way words combine with each other in sentences.
2. You should never repeat anything you don't understand. This does not mean that you must be able to translate everything word for word; it simply means that you should be able to attach a meaning to what. you hear and repeat. A good technique is to try to form pictures of what you are repeating.
In certain kinds of exercises you will find yourself becoming very good at making the correct responses without being aware of what you're saying. Guard against this! Always think about what you're saying. When you begin to think in Pilipino, you'll find it much easier to monitor what you're saying. It won't matter that there is no word-for-word correspondence between the Pilipino and English, because you won't be thinking in English and translating words - you'll be translating thoughts.
3. You may need to refer to your book the first time you do some exercises, but don't be satisfied with your performance until you can do the exercises in the pauses allowed on the recordings without referring to the book. If you cannot keep up with the recordings, take it a bit slower; stop the recording and give yourself time to formulate your response; repeat the exercise a couple of times. If you still can't keep up, go on to the next exercise or take a break and then try again.
4. At first it will seem as if you are never going to be able to make some of the sounds you hear. Remember, you are overcoming 20, 30, 40, or more years of speech habit and your muscles will need some retraining. It's almost as though you suddenly had to start writing with your other hand; it can be done, but it will take some practice. Remember to enunciate clearly, to articulate distinctly, and to project your voice as if you were the anchorman broadcasting the six o'clock news.
5. You will sometimes find grammar notes and literal translations in the Notes on the Conversation immediately following the conversation, and sometimes, as appropriate, with the exercises. The notes are important only if they fit your particular learning style and make it easier for you to learn the material. Memorizing grammar rules is not an objective of this course.
6. Lastly, and most importantly, practice speaking Pilipino at every opportunity; talk to your instructor, to your classmates, to yourself. Use what you have learned. Don't be afraid to experiment with the words and structures you learn. Play with the language! Make new sentences - even if you have to use an English word. Express our thoughts - that's what language is all about.