When I talk to some Japanese about languages, one of the things they ask me is how to say “hello” in Filipino (or Tagalog).

When I first heard that question, I had a hard time answering because I couldn’t think of a word in Filipino that means “hello” in English. We use the English words “hello” or “hi” in the Philippines because there is no local word for those greetings.

Instead of “hello”, I think when Filipinos meet a friend or someone they know outside, we say something like, “Uy! Kumusta??” (Hey! How are you?) And then a conversation would usually follow. Even if we were rushing, we’d answer that question and then leave.

“How are you” is a question I always ask my students at the beginning of every lesson.

During my first months as an English teacher, I didn’t know how to react when my students gave me a short answer like “okay” or “まま.” 😦

How was I supposed to continue the conversation if the only answer I got was one word? 😂

I quickly realized that “how are you” is not enough. I have to ask more questions like “how was your week”, “what did you do during the weekend”, “how was school today” and “why”, “why”, “why.” 😂

It’s a small question, how are you, but I know my students have a hard time answering it. So when they do, when they get to the point that they can, I think it’s great. ⭐

Now that the new school year has started, I will be asking that question almost every day, and I’m looking forward to hearing what my students have to say.