They just gave up on the idea of learning the language.: Becoming Minnesotan

Addi Batica at Macchu Picchu, Peru, 2004. Minnesota Historical Society, Oral His
  • Name - Adelbert Batica
  • Age at interview - 61
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.26.2011
  • Addi Batica and family at his son's high school graduation, 1996.


    Filipino, Language

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    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Assimilation: Does a person have to give up part of his/her culture to become more American?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    There over 100 languages spoken in the Philippines, all of them part of the same Malayo-Polynesian language group. 90% of Filipinos speak one of 13 major regional languages, which each have over one million native speakers. Tagalog is the most widely spoken language in the country; it is a first language for about 1/3 of the population and is a second language for most others. Cebuano is another widely spoken language, with about 20 million speakers; other major languages include Ilocano, Hiligaynon, and Waray-Waray. Many of the languages are quite different from one another and are not mutually intelligible.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Adelbert Batica 7
    1:37 Minutes | 1.56Mb


    Narrator: Adelbert Batica (AB)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: No what dialect did you speak at home?

    AB: Well, at home, we spoke the Waray-Waray language, and the official name for our native language is actually Visayan Leyte-Samar. But it’s commonly known as the Waray-Waray language.

    LM: And what other dialects did you speak and do you speak them here in Minnesota?

    AB: I’m also fluent in Cebuano, because I went to school and worked in Cebu. And I speak Cebuano with Cebuano speakers, and there are quite a few of them here in town. But at home, my wife and I converse in Waray, because she’s also from Leyte.

    LM: The children, your kids, do they speak any of these dialects?

    AB: No, we actually tried teaching them Waray when they were young. They were able to pick up some of it at home, but as soon as they joined the larger community, they’d get confused because there were some who would be speaking Tagalog and, of course, others would be speaking Cebuano and Ilokano. So, over time, they just gave up on the idea of learning the language.

    LM: They decided it was too difficult.

    AB: Yes. [Laughter]

    LM: Too much work!

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  A group of people who share a common understanding of the same language, manners, tradition and law.


    Verb: To talk; to engage in conversation. (converses, conversing, conversed)


    Noun: A particular form of a language that is peculiar to a specific region or social group.


    Adjective: Able to speak a language accurately, rapidly, and confidently; in a flowing way.


    Noun: A language spoken in the Philippines, particularly in Manila and the surrounding area.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2137