Tagalog Vocabulary Builder
for Kids

If you were with your family during the long Lenten holiday, chances are you probably heard the young ones speak in strange language. My nephews K (14) and R (13) spoke in "PSP-lingo" and the only way to unlock what they meant in their animated exchange was to engage myself in their game. But a mere ten seconds staring at those green weird creatures in war-crest and viewing them attack each other with spears, hacks, saws, and balls of fire and magic, and I was bored.

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Moments later, with my nieces - and the boys joined us too - I fully got into a "super-basic, level= minus one" whodunit game called "Death in the Nile." The girls had a wacky time straining their eyes to see beyond the optical illusions intended to hide the object-clues. These were scattered in the virtual rooms we clicked, entered and investigated. Everybody searched until an item was found within a specified time limit and clicked on it to score. 

Of course the object-clues were all in English. Yet Poirot, the detective, seemed French. As players, we were supposed to help him in his investigation. Once in a while, the smallest of the ward J (10) would shout a question, "What is a satchel?" "What is a decanter?" "What is a peabod?" expecting someone to immediately say their Tagalog equivalents. To match the list to the image, J had to first know the Tagalog equivalent of the word. In response, N (17) gave generic Tagalog equivalents: "Bag yan satchel, hanapin mo yung bag," (Satchel means bag, look for a bag); "lalagyan ng pea" (pea container).We often stalled when we gave wrong Tagalog equivalents, and this never failed to make us all laugh out loud.

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Some object-clues were found only via a second clue, for example, "King of the jungle?" To answer this, T (16) shouted, "Tarzan!" This elicited loud laughter because the answer should have been "lion". Meanwhile, L (13) got exasperated at one time and panicked asking, "NJ ano yung decanter?" (NJ, what is a decanter?) And that was my only chance to be in the game. (I couldn't put my head in between those excited happy heads and so I took my camera and had fun taking their pictures instead:)

Often I was embarrassed because from the top of my head I could not immediately blurt out the Tagalog equivalent of words such as "decanter". Instead, I relied on the pictures on screen and by trial and error, matched the word with the images presented. So decanter, "this could be a bottle?" Not just a bottle though, but a perfume bottle, and that was a cute challenge both for me and the kids. After all, there were too many bottles on screen in all colors. Whenever we succeeded in clicking on the more difficult object-clues, a chorus of "Yes!" erupts. But there was no time for the kids to linger on a new word. They had to press on and eliminate the listed items one by one as fast as they could.

Animated, the kids and I "leveled up", looking for more object-clues which should have led us to the murderer. Finally, although some words were not yet part of their vocabulary my 10 to 17 year old players gamely located all of them. But at the end of the game, after we've scoured every flooring, ceiling and furniture for objects that should have led us to the culprit, we still didn't know who did it. We just got so engrossed in naming and finding objects that we forgot to nail down the criminal. Indeed Agent Poirot would have reason to fire us all. 

Tagalog Equivalent of Words in Death in the Nile Kid's game