Tagalog language

Tagalog language
Wikang Tagalog
Spoken in Philippines Philippines
Region Central and South Luzon
Native speakers 23.9 million  (2000 census)[1]
96% of the Philippines can speak Tagalog (2000)[2]
Language family
Standard forms
Writing system Latin (Tagalog/Filipino);
Historically Baybayin
Official status
Official language in Philippines Philippines (in the form of Filipino)
Alaska Alaska (minority language)
California California (minority language)
Nevada Nevada (minority language)
New Jersey New Jersey (minority language)
Regulated by Commission on the Filipino Language
Language codes
ISO 639-1 tl
ISO 639-2 tgl
ISO 639-3 tgl
Linguasphere 31-CKA
The map shows the areas where the language is spoken by a significant population. Overseas Filipinos use the languages as a lingua franca. There are over a million speakers in Saudi Arabia and in the United States,[3] plus 90 million in the Philippines itself.

Tagalog (pronounced /təˈɡɑːlɒɡ/ in English)[4] is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest.[5] It is the first language of the Philippine region IV (CALABARZON and MIMAROPA) and of Metro Manila. Its standardized form, commonly called Filipino, is the national language and one of two official languages of the Philippines. It is related to—though not readily intelligible with—other Austronesian languages such as Malay, Javanese, and Hawaiian.


The Tagalog Baybayin script.

The word Tagalog derived from tagailog, from tagá- meaning "native of" and ílog meaning "river". Thus, it means "river dweller". Very little is known about the history of the language. However, according to linguists such as Dr. David Zorc and Dr. Robert Blust, the Tagalogs originated, along with their Central Philippine cousins, from Northeastern Mindanao or Eastern Visayas.[6][7]

The first written record of Tagalog is in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, written in the year 900 and uses fragments of the language along with Sanskrit, Malay, and Javanese. Meanwhile, the first known book to be written in Tagalog is the Doctrina Cristiana (Christian Doctrine) of 1593. It was written in Spanish and two versions of Tagalog; one written in the Baybayin script and the other in the Latin alphabet. Throughout the 333 years of Spanish occupation, there were grammar and dictionaries written by Spanish clergymen such as Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala by Pedro de San Buenaventura (Pila, Laguna, 1613), Vocabulario de la lengua tagala (1835) and Arte de la lengua tagala y manual tagalog para la administración de los Santos Sacramentos (1850). Poet Francisco Baltazar (1788–1862) is regarded as the foremost Tagalog writer. His most notable work is the early 19th-century Florante at Laura.

Tagalog and Filipino

In 1937, Tagalog was selected as the basis of the national language of the Philippines by the National Language Institute. In 1939, Manuel L. Quezon named the national language "Wikang Pambansâ" ("National Language").[8][9] Twenty years later, in 1959, it was renamed by then Secretary of Education, José Romero, as Pilipino to give it a national rather than ethnic label and connotation. The changing of the name did not, however, result in acceptance among non-Tagalogs, especially Cebuanos who had not accepted the selection.[10]

In 1971, the language issue was revived once more, and a compromise solution was worked out—a "universalist" approach to the national language, to be called Filipino rather than Pilipino. When a new constitution was drawn up in 1987, it named Filipino as the national language.[10] The constitution specified that as the Filipino language evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages. However, more than two decades after the institution of the "universalist" approach, there seems to be little if any difference between Tagalog and Filipino.


Tagalog is a Central Philippine language within the Austronesian language family. Being Malayo-Polynesian, it is related to other Austronesian languages such as Malagasy, Javanese, Indonesian, Malay, Tetum (of East Timor), and Tao language (of Taiwan). It is closely related to the languages spoken in the Bicol and Visayas regions such as Bikol and the Visayan group including Hiligaynon and Cebuano.

Languages that have made significant contributions to Tagalog vocabulary are especially Spanish and English.


At present, no comprehensive dialectology has been done in the Tagalog-speaking regions, though there have been descriptions in the form of dictionaries and grammars on various Tagalog dialects. Ethnologue lists Lubang, Manila, Marinduque, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Tanay-Paete, and Tayabas as dialects of Tagalog. However, there appear to be four main dialects of which the aforementioned are a part; Northern (exemplified by the Bulacan dialect), Central (including Manila), Southern (exemplified by Batangas), and Marinduque.

Some example of dialectal differences are:

  • Many Tagalog dialects, particularly those in the south, preserve the glottal stop found after consonants and before vowels. This has been lost in standard Tagalog. For example standard Tagalog ngayon (now, today), sinigang (broth stew), gabi (night), matamis (sweet), are pronounced and written ngay-on, sinig-ang, gab-i, and matam-is in other dialects.
  • In Teresian-Morong Tagalog, [ɾ] is usually preferred over [d]. For example, bundók, dagat, dingdíng, and isdâ become bunrók, ragat, ringríng, and isrâ, as well as their expression seen in some signages like "sandok sa dingdíng" was changed to "sanrok sa ringríng".
  • In many southern dialects, the progressive aspect prefix of -um- verbs is na-. For example, standard Tagalog kumakain (eating) is nákáin in Quezon and Batangas Tagalog. This is the butt of some jokes by other Tagalog speakers since a phrase such as nakain ka ba ng pating is interpreted as "did a shark eat you?" by those from Manila but in reality means "do you eat shark?" to those in the south.
  • Some dialects have interjections which are considered a trademark of their region. For example, the interjection ala e! usually identifies someone from Batangas as does hane?! in Rizal and Quezon provinces.

Perhaps the most divergent Tagalog dialects are those spoken in Marinduque. Linguist Rosa Soberano identifies two dialects, western and eastern, with the former being closer to the Tagalog dialects spoken in the provinces of Batangas and Quezon.

One example is the verb conjugation paradigms. While some of the affixes are different, Marinduque also preserves the imperative affixes, also found in Visayan and Bikol languages, that have mostly disappeared from most Tagalog dialects by the early 20th century; they have since merged with the infinitive.

Manileño Tagalog Marinduqueño Tagalog English
Susulat sina Maria at Esperanza kay Juan. Másúlat da Maria at Esperanza kay Juan. "Maria and Esperanza will write to Juan."
Mag-aaral siya sa Maynila. Gaaral siya sa Maynila. "He will study in Manila."
Magluto ka na! Pagluto! "Cook now!"
Kainin mo iyan. Kaina yaan. "Eat that."
Tinatawag tayo ni Tatay. Inatawag nganì kitá ni Tatay. "Father is calling us."
Tinulungan ba kayó ni Hilario? Atulungan ga kamo ni Hilario? "Did Hilario help you?"

Northern dialects and the central dialects are the basis for the national language.


Geographic distribution

The Tagalog homeland, or Katagalugan, covers roughly much of the central to southern parts of the island of Luzon—particularly in Aurora, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Camarines Norte, Cavite, Laguna, Metro Manila, Nueva Ecija, Quezon, Rizal, and large parts of Zambales. Tagalog is also spoken natively by inhabitants living on the islands, Marinduque, Mindoro, and large areas of Palawan. It is spoken by approximately 64.3 million Filipinos, 96.4% of the household population.[11] 21.5 million, or 28.15% of the total Philippine population,[12] speak it as a native language.

Tagalog speakers are found in other parts of the Philippines as well as throughout the world, though its use is usually limited to communication between Filipino ethnic groups. In 2010, the US Census bureau reported (based on data collected in 2007) that in the United States it was the fourth most-spoken language at home with almost 1.5 million speakers, behind Spanish or Spanish Creole, French (including Patois, Cajun, Creole), and Chinese. Tagalog ranked as the third most spoken language in metropolitan statistical areas, behind Spanish and Chinese but ahead of French.[3]

Official status

Predominantly Tagalog-speaking regions in the Philippines. The color-schemes represent the 4 dialect zones of the language: Northern, Central, Southern, and Marinduque.

Tagalog was declared the official language by the first constitution in the Philippines, the Constitution of Biak-na-Bato in 1897.[13]

In 1935, the Philippine constitution designated English and Spanish as official languages, but mandated the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages.[14] After study and deliberation, the National Language Institute, a committee composed of seven members who represented various regions in the Philippines, chose Tagalog as the basis for the evolution and adoption of the national language of the Philippines.[8][10] President Manuel L. Quezon then, on December 30, 1937, proclaimed the selection of the Tagalog language to be used as the basis for the evolution and adoption of the national language of the Philippines.[8] In 1939 President Quezon renamed the proposed Tagalog-based national language as wikang pambansâ (national language).[10] In 1959, the language was further renamed as "Pilipino".[10]

The 1973 constitution designated the Tagalog-based "Pilipino", along with English, as an official language and mandated the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino.[15] The 1987 constitution designated Filipino as the national language, mandating that as it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.[16] However, in practice, Filipino is simply Tagalog.[17]

Article XIV, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines specifies, in part:

Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system.
The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein.

In 2009, the Department of Education promulgated an order institutionalizing a system of mother-tongue based multilingual education ("MLE"), wherein instruction is conducted primarily in a student's mother tongue until at least grade three, with additional languages such as Filipino and English being introduced as separate subjects no earlier than grade two. In secondary school, Filipino and English become the primary languages of instruction, with the learner's first language taking on an auxiliary role.[18]


Taglish and Englog are portmanteaus given to a mix of English and Tagalog. The amount of English vs. Tagalog varies from the occasional use of English loan words to outright code-switching where the language changes in mid-sentence. Such code-switching is prevalent throughout the Philippines and in various of the languages of the Philippines other than Tagalog.

Code Mixing also entails the use of foreign words that are Filipinized by reforming them using Filipino rules, such as verb conjugations. Users typically use Filipino or English words, whichever comes to mind first or whichever is easier to use.

Magshoshopping kami sa mall. Sino ba ang magdadrive sa shopping center?
"We will go shopping at the mall. Who will drive to the shopping center?"

Although it is generally looked down upon, code-switching is prevalent in all levels of society; however, city-dwellers, the highly educated, and people born around and after World War II are more likely to do it. Politicians as highly placed as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have code-switched in interviews.

The practice is common in television, radio, and print media as well. Advertisements from companies like Wells Fargo, Wal-Mart, Albertsons, McDonald's, and Western Union have contained Taglish.

The Chinese and the non-Tagalog communities in the Philippines also frequently code-switch their language, be it Cebuano or Min Nan Chinese, with Taglish.


Tagalog has 26 phonemes: 21 of them are consonants and 5 are vowels.[19] Syllable structure is relatively simple. Each syllable contains at least a consonant and a vowel,[20] and begins in at most one consonant, except for borrowed words such as trak which means "truck", or tsokolate meaning "chocolate".


Before appearing in the area north of Pasig river, Tagalog had three vowel phonemes: /a/, /i/, and /u/. This was later expanded to five vowels with the introduction of words from Northern Philippine languages like Kapampangan and Ilocano and Spanish words.

They are:

Nevertheless pairs 'o' and 'u and 'e' and 'i' are likely to be interchanged by the people without a very high command of the language.

There are six main diphthongs; /ai/, /ei/, /oi/, /ui/, /au/, and /iu/.[19][20]


Below is a chart of Tagalog consonants. All the stops are unaspirated. The velar nasal occurs in all positions including at the beginning of a word.

Table of consonant phonemes of Tagalog
Labial Dental/
Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive p b t d k ɡ ʔ
Fricative s (ɕ) h
Affricate (ts) () ()
Tap ɾ
Approximant l j w


Stress is phonemic in Tagalog. Primary stress occurs on either the last or the next-to-the-last (penultimate) syllable of a word. Vowel lengthening accompanies primary or secondary stress except when stress occurs at the end of a word. Stress on words is highly important, since it differentiates words with the same spellings, but with different meanings, e.g. ta (to stand) and tayo (us; we).



  • /a/ is raised slightly to [ɐ] in unstressed positions and also occasionally in stressed positions (inang bayan [inˈɐŋ ˈbɐjən])
  • Unstressed /i/ is usually pronounced [ɪ] as in English "bit"
  • At the final syllable, /i/ can be pronounced [i ~ e ~ ɛ], as [e ~ ɛ] is an allophone of [ɪ ~ i] in final syllables.
  • Unstressed /ɛ/ and /o/ can sometimes be pronounced [i ~ ɪ ~ e] and [u ~ ʊ ~ ɔ], except in final syllables. [o~ ʊ ~ ɔ] and [u ~ ʊ] were also former allophones.
  • /ɛ/ can be pronounced as a close-mid front unrounded vowel [e].
  • Unstressed /u/ is usually pronounced [ʊ] as in English "book"
  • The diphthong /aɪ/ and the sequence /aʔi/ have a tendency to become [eɪ ~ ɛː].
  • The diphthong /aʊ/ and the sequence /aʔu/ have a tendency to become [oʊ ~ ɔː].
  • /e/ or /i/ before s-consonant clusters have a tendency to become silent.
  • /o/ tends to become [ɔ] in stressed positions.


  • /k/ between vowels has a tendency to become [x] as in Spanish "José", whereas in the initial position it has a tendency to become [kx], especially in the Manila dialect.
  • Intervocalic /ɡ/ and /k/ tend to become [ɰ] (see preceding), as in Arabic "ghair", especially in the Manila dialect.
  • /ɾ/ and /d/ are sometimes interchangeable as /ɾ/ and /d/ were once allophones in Tagalog.
  • A glottal stop that occurs at the end of a word is often omitted when it is in the middle of a sentence, especially in the Metro Manila area. The vowel it follows is then usually lengthened. However, it is preserved in many other dialects.
  • /ts/ may be pronounced [tʃ], as in English "chimney."
  • /ɾ/ can be pronounced [r].
  • /b/ can be pronounced [ɓ][citation needed].

Historical changes

Tagalog differs from its Central Philippine counterparts with its treatment of the Proto-Philippine schwa vowel . In Bikol & Visayan, this sound merged with /u/ and [o]. In Tagalog, it has merged with /i/. For example, Proto-Philippine *dəkət (adhere, stick) is Tagalog dikít and Visayan & Bikol dukot.

Proto-Philippine *r, *j, and *z merged with /d/ but is /l/ between vowels. Proto-Philippine *nɡajan (name) and *hajək (kiss) became Tagalog ngalan and halík.

Proto-Philippine *R merged with /ɡ/. *tubiR (water) and *zuRuʔ (blood) became Tagalog tubig and dugô.


Writing system


Tagalog was written in an abugida, or alphasyllabary, called Baybayin prior to the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines, in the 16th century. This particular writing system was composed of symbols representing three vowels and 14 consonants. Belonging to the Brahmic family of scripts, it shares similarities with the Old Kawi script of Java and is believed to be descended from the script used by the Bugis in Sulawesi.

Although it enjoyed a relatively high level of literacy, Baybayin gradually fell into disuse in favor of the Latin alphabet taught by the Spaniards during their rule.

There has been confusion of how to use Baybayin, which is actually an abugida, or an alphasyllabary, rather than an alphabet. Not every letter in the Latin alphabet is represented with one of those in the Baybayin alphasyllabary. Rather than letters being put together to make sounds as in Western languages, Baybayin uses symbols to represent syllables.

A "kudlit" resembling an apostrophe is used above or below a symbol to change the vowel sound after its consonant. If the kudlit is used above, the vowel is an "E" or "I" sound. If the kudlit is used below, the vowel is an "O" or "U" sound. A special kudlit was later added by Spanish missionaries in which a cross placed below the symbol to get rid of the vowel sound all together, leaving a consonant. Previously, the final vowel was just left out, leaving the reader to use context to determine the final vowels.


Ba Be Bo B (in Baybayin)

Baybayin is encoded in Unicode version 3.2 in the range 1700-171F under the name "Tagalog".





b ᜊ᜔


k ᜃ᜔


d/r ᜇ᜔


g ᜄ᜔


h ᜑ᜔


l ᜎ᜔


m ᜋ᜔


n ᜈ᜔


ng ᜅ᜔


p ᜉ᜔


s ᜐ᜔


t ᜆ᜔


w ᜏ᜔


y ᜌ᜔

Latin alphabet


Until the first half of the 20th century, Tagalog was widely written in a variety of ways based on Spanish orthography consisting of 32 letters called 'ABECEDARIO' [21][22]:

Majuscule Minuscule Majuscule Minuscule
A a Ng ng
B b Ñ ñ
C c N͠g / Ñg n͠g / ñg
Ch ch O o
D d P p
E e Q q
F f R r
G g Rr rr
H h S s
I i T t
J j U u
K k V v
L l W w
Ll ll X x
M m Y y
N n Z z


When the national language was based on Tagalog, grammarian Lope K. Santos introduced a new alphabet consisting of 20 letters called ABAKADA in school grammar books called balarilà [23][24][25]:

Majuscule Minuscule Majuscule Minuscule
A a N n
B b Ng ng
K k O o
D d P p
E e R r
G g S s
H h T t
I i U u
L l W w
M m Y y

Revised alphabet

In 1987 the department of Education, Culture and Sports issued a memo stating that the Philippine alphabet had changed from the Pilipino-Tagalog Abakada version to a new 28-letter alphabet [26][27] to make room for loans, especially family names from Spanish and English.[28]:

Majuscule Minuscule Majuscule Minuscule
A a Ñ ñ
B b Ng ng
C c O o
D d P p
E e Q q
F f R r
G g S s
H h T t
I i U u
J j V v
K k W w
L l X x
M m Y y
N n Z z

ng and mga

The genitive marker ng and the plural marker mga are abbreviations that are pronounced nang [naŋ] and mangá [mɐˈŋa]. Ng, in most cases, roughly translates to "of" (ex. Siya ay kapatid ng nanay ko. She is the sibling of my mother) while nang usually means "when" or can describe how something is done or to what extent (equivalent to the suffix -ly in English adverbs), among other uses. Mga (pronounced as "muh-NGA") denotes plurality as adding an s, es, or ies does in English (ex. Iyan ang mga damit ko. (Those are my clothes)).

  • Nang si Hudas ay madulas.—When Judas slipped.
  • Gumising siya nang maaga.—He woke up early.
  • Gumalíng nang todo si Juan dahil nag-ensayo siya.—Juan greatly improved because he practiced.

In the first example, nang is used in lieu of the word noong (when; Noong si Hudas ay madulas). In the second, nang describes that the person woke up (gumising) early (maaga); gumising nang maaga. In the third, nang described up to what extent that Juan improved (gumaling), which is "greatly" (nang todo). In the latter two examples, the ligature na and its variants -ng and -g may also be used (Gumising na maaga/Maagang gumising; Gumaling na todo/Todong gumaling).

The longer nang may also have other uses, such as a ligature that joins a repeated word:

  • Naghintay sila nang naghintay.—They kept on waiting.

po/ho and opo/oho

The words po/ho and opo/oho are traditionally used as polite iterations of the affirmative "oo" ("yes"). It is generally used when addressing elders or superiors such as bosses or teachers.

"Po" and "opo" are specifically used to denote a high level of respect when addressing older persons of close affinity like parents, relatives, teachers and family friends. "Ho" and "oho" are generally used to politely address older neighbors, strangers, public officials, bosses and nannies, and may suggest a distance in societal relationship. However, "po" and "opo" can be used in any case in order to express an elevation of respect.

  • Example: "Pakitapon naman po/ho yung basura". ("Please throw away the trash.")

Used in the affirmative:

  • Ex: "Gutom ka na ba?" "Opo/Oho". ("Are you hungry yet?" "Yes").

Po/Ho may also be used in negation.

  • Ex: "Hindi ko po/ho alam 'yan."("I don't know that.")

Vocabulary and borrowed words

Spanish is the language that has bequeathed the most loan words to Tagalog. According to linguists, Spanish (5,000) has even surpassed Malay (3,500) in terms of loan words borrowed. About 40% of everyday (informal) Tagalog conversation is practically made up of Spanish loanwords.[citation needed]

Tagalog vocabulary is composed mostly of words of Austronesian origin with borrowings from Japanese, Sanskrit, Min Nan Chinese (also known as Hokkien), Javanese, Malay, Arabic, languages spoken in Luzon, and others, especially other Austronesian languages.

Due to trade with Mexico via the Manila galleon from the 16th to the 19th centuries, many words from Nahuatl, a language spoken by Native Americans in Mexico, were introduced to Tagalog.

English has borrowed some words from Tagalog, such as abaca, barong, balisong, boondocks, jeepney, Manila hemp, pancit, ylang-ylang, and yaya, although the vast majority of these borrowed words are only used in the Philippines as part of the vocabularies of Philippine English.[citation needed]

Other examples of Tagalog words used in English
Example Definition
boondocks meaning "rural" or "back country," was imported by American soldiers stationed in the Philippines following the Spanish American War as a mispronounced version of the Tagalog bundok, which means "mountain."
cogon a type of grass, used for thatching. This word came from the Tagalog word kugon (a species of tall grass).
ylang-ylang a type of flower known for its fragrance.
Abaca a type of hemp fiber made from a plant in the banana family, from abaká.
Manila hemp a light brown cardboard material used for folders and paper usually made from abaca hemp.
Capiz also known as window oyster, is used to make windows.

Yo-yo is reportedly a Tagalog word; however, no such word exists in Tagalog. In fact it is a word that came to the Occidental culture through Philippines in the Spanish period, but its origin is Chinese.

Tagalog has contributed several words to Philippine Spanish, like barangay (from balan͠gay, meaning barrio), the abacá, cogon, palay, dalaga etc.

Tagalog words of foreign origin

Tagalog meaning language of origin original spelling departamento department Spanish departamento
kumusta how are you? (general greeting) Spanish cómo estás
kabayo horse Spanish caballo
Diyos God Spanish Dios
silya chair Spanish silla
kotse car Spanish coche
relo wristwatch Spanish reloj
litrato picture Spanish retrato
tsismis (chis-mis) gossip Spanish chismes
Ingles English Spanish inglés
tsinelas/sinelas slippers Spanish chinelas
karne meat Spanish carne
sapatos shoes Spanish zapatos
arina/harina flour Spanish harina
bisikleta bicycle Spanish bicicleta
baryo village Spanish barrio
swerte luck Spanish suerte
piyesta/pista feast Spanish fiesta
garahe garage Spanish garaje
ahente agent/salesman Spanish agente
ensaymada a kind of pastry Catalan (Mallorqui dialect) ensaïmada
kamote sweet potato Nahuatl camotli
sayote (sa-yo-te) chayote Nahuatl chayotli
sili chili pepper Nahuatl chilli
tsokolate (cho-co-la-te) chocolate Nahuatl chocolatl
tiangge/palenque market Nahuatl tianquiztli
sapote/tsiko chico (fruit) Nahuatl tzapotl
awtomobil car English/Spanish automobile/automóvil
nars nurse English nurse
bolpen ballpoint pen English ballpen
pulisia/pulis police Spanish policía
suspecho suspect Spanish sospechar
traysikel / trisiklo tricycle English / Spanish tricycle / triciclo
bwisit annoyance, expletive Min Nan Chinese 無衣食 (lit. "No clothes or food")
lumpia (/lum·pya/) spring roll Min Nan Chinese 潤餅
siopao (/syo·paw/) steamed buns Min Nan Chinese 燒包
pancit (/pan·set/) / pansit noodles Min Nan Chinese 扁食
susi (su-se) key Min Nan Chinese 鎖匙
bangka sailboat Min Nan Chinese 艋舺
kuya older brother Min Nan Chinese 哥兄
ate (/ah·te/) older sister Min Nan Chinese 阿姐 (short for 大姐)
bakya wooden shoes Min Nan Chinese 木履
hikaw earrings Min Nan Chinese 耳鈎
kanan right Malay kanan
tulong help Malay tolong
sakit sick, pain Malay sakit
pulo/isla island Malay pulau
anak child,son & daughter Malay anak
pinto door Malay pintu
tanghali afternoon Malay tengah hari
dalamhati grief Malay dalam + hati
luwalhati glory Malay luar + hati
duryan durian Malay durian
rambutan rambutan Malay rambutan
batik spot Malay batik
sarap delicious Malay sedap
asa hope Sanskrit आशा (ahshा)
salita speak Sanskrit चरितँ (cerita)
balita news Sanskrit वार्ता (berita)
karma karma Sanskrit कर्म (kárma)
alak liquor Persian عرق (araq)
bagay thing Tamil வகை (vagai)
hukom judge Arabic حكم (ħ-k-m)
salamat thanks Arabic سلامة (slamah)
bakit why Kapampangan obakit
akyat climb/step up Kapampangan ukyát/mukyat
at and Kapampangan at
bundok mountain Kapampangan bunduk
huwag don't Pangasinan ag
aso dog South Cordilleran or Ilocano (also Ilokano) aso
tayo we (inc.) South Cordilleran or Ilocano tayo
ito,nito it. South Cordilleran or Ilocano to

Austronesian comparison chart

Below is a chart of Tagalog and twenty other Austronesian languages comparing thirteen words; the first thirteen languages are spoken in the Philippines and the other nine are spoken in Indonesia, East Timor, New Zealand, Hawaii, Madagascar and Borneo.

English one two three four person house dog coconut day new we what fire
Tagalog isa dalawa tatlo apat tao bahay aso niyog araw bago tayo ano apoy
Bikol saro duwa tulo apat tawo harong ayam niyog aldaw ba-go kita ano kalayo
Cebuano usa duha tulo upat tawo balay iro lubi adlaw bag-o kita unsa kalayo
Waray usa duha tulo upat tawo balay ayam lubi adlaw bag-o kita ano kalayo
Tausug hambuuk duwa tu upat tau bay iru' niyug adlaw ba-gu kitaniyu unu kayu
Kinaray-a sara darwa tatlo apat taho balay ayam niyog adlaw bag-o kita, taten ano kalayo
Maranao isa dowa t'lo phat taw walay aso neyog gawi'e bago tano tonaa apoy
Kapampangan metung adwa atlu apat tau bale asu ngungut aldo bayu ikatamu nanu api
Pangasinan sakey dua, duara talo, talora apat, apatira too abong aso niyog ageo balo sikatayo anto pool
Ilokano maysa dua tallo uppat tao balay aso niog aldaw baro datayo ania apoy
Ivatan asa dadowa tatdo apat tao vahay chito niyoy araw va-yo yaten ango apoy
Ibanag tadday dua tallu appa' tolay balay kitu niuk aggaw bagu sittam anni afi
Gaddang antet addwa tallo appat tolay balay atu ayog aw bawu ikkanetam sanenay afuy
Tboli sotu lewu tlu fat tau gunu ohu lefo kdaw lomi tekuy tedu ofih
Indonesian satu dua tiga empat orang rumah/balai anjing kelapa/nyiur hari baru kita apa/anu api
Buginese sedi dua tellu eppa tau bola asu kaluku esso baru idi aga api
Bataknese sada dua tolu opat halak jabu biang harambiri ari baru hita aha api
Tetum ida rua tolu haat ema uma asu nuu loron foun ita saida ahi
Maori tahi rua toru wha tangata whare kuri kokonati ra hou taua aha ahi
Hawaiian kahi lua kolu kanaka hale 'īlio niu ao hou kākou aha ahi
Banjarese asa duwa talu ampat urang rūmah hadupan kǎlapa hǎri hanyar kami apa api
Malagasy isa roa telo efatra olona trano alika voanio andro vaovao isika inona afo
Dusun iso duo tolu apat tulun walai tasu piasau tadau wagu tokou onu/nu tapui

Religious literature

Religious literature remains to be one of the most dynamic contributors to Tagalog literature. In 1970, the Philippine Bible Society translated the Bible into Tagalog, the first full translation to any of the Philippine languages. Even before the Second Vatican Council, devotional materials in Tagalog had been circulating. At present, there are four circulating Tagalog translations of the Bible—the Magandang Balita Biblia (a parallel translation of the Good News Bible), which is the ecumenical version; the Bibliya ng Sambayanang Pilipino; the Ang Biblia, which is a more Protestant version published in 1909; and the Bagong Sanlibutang Salin ng Banal na Kasulatan, one of about ninety parallel translations of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures published by Jehovah's Witnesses. The latter was released in the year 2000. Jehovah's Witnesses previously published a hybrid translation: Ang Biblia was used for the Old Testament, while the Bagong Sanlibutang Salin ng Griegong Kasulatan was used for the New Testament.

When the Second Vatican Council, (specifically the Sacrosanctum Concilium) permitted the universal prayers to be translated into vernacular languages, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines was one of the first to translate the Roman Missal into Tagalog. In fact, the Roman Missal in Tagalog was published as early as 1982, while not published in English until 1985.

Jehovah's Witnesses were printing Tagalog literature at least as early as 1941[29] and The Watchtower (the primary magazine of Jehovah's Witnesses) has been published in Tagalog since at least the 1950s. New releases are now regularly released simultaneously in a number of languages, including Tagalog. The official website of Jehovah's Witnesses also has some publications available online in Tagalog. [1]

Tagalog is quite a stable language, and very few revisions have been made to Catholic Bible translations. Also, as Protestantism in the Philippines is relatively young, liturgical prayers tend to be more ecumenical.


Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer is "Ama Namin" in Tagalog.

Ama namin, sumasalangit ka

Sambahin ang ngalan mo.

Mapasaamin ang kaharian mo.

Sundin ang loob mo,

Dito sa lupà, gaya nang sa langit.

Bigyan Mo kami ngayon ng aming kakanin sa araw-araw,

At patawarin Mo kami sa aming mga sala,

Para nang pagpapatawad namin,

Sa nagkakasala sa amin

At huwag mo kaming ipahintulot sa tukso,

At iadya mo kami sa lahat ng masama..

Sapagkat sa Inyo ang kaharián, at ang kapangyarihan,

At ang kaluwalhatian, ngayon, at magpakailanman.


Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This is the Universal Declaration of Rights (Pangkalahatang Pagpapahayag ng Karapatang Pantao)

Isinilang na malaya at pantay-pantay sa karangalan at mga karapatan ang lahat ng tao. Pinagkalooban sila ng katwiran at budhi at dapat magpalagayan ang isa't isa sa diwa ng pagkakapatiran.
Every person is born free and equal with honor and rights. They are given reason and conscience and they must always trust each other for the spirit of brotherhood.


The numbers (mga bilang) in Tagalog language are of two forms. The first one, was native to Tagalog language and the other is Tagalized version of Spanish numbers. For example, when a person refers to the number "seven", it can be translated to Tagalog language as "pito" or "syete" (Sp. siete).

Number Cardinal Spanish loanword
(Original Spanish)
0 zero sero (cero) -
1 isa uno (uno) una
2 dalawa[dalaua] dos (dos) pangalawa / ikalawa (or ikadalawa in some informal compositions)
3 tatlo tres (tres) pangatlo / ikatlo
4 apat kwatro (cuatro) pang-apat / ikaapat ("ika" and the number-word are never hyphenated. For numbers, however, they always are.)
5 lima singko (cinco) panlima / ikalima
6 anim sais (seis) pang-anim / ikaanim
7 pito syete (siete) pampito / ikapito
8 walo otso (ocho) pangwalo / ikawalo
9 siyam nwebe (nueve) pansiyam / ikasiyam
10 sampu [sang puo] dyes (diez) pansampu / ikasampu (or ikapu in some literary compositions)
11 labing-isa onse (once) panlabing isa / pang-onse / ikalabing-isa
12 labindalawa dose (doce) panlabindalawa / pandose / ikalabindalawa
13 labintatlo trese (trece) panlabintatlo / pantrese / ikalabintatlo
14 labing-apat katorse (catorce) panlabing-apat / pangkatorse / ikalabing-apat
15 labinlima kinse (quince) panlabinlima / pangkinse / ikalabinlima
16 labing-anim disisais (diez y séis) panlabing-anim / pandyes-sais / ikalabing-anim
17 labimpito disisyete (diez y siete) panlabimpito / pandyes-syete / ikalabimpito
18 labingwalo disiotso (diez y ocho) panlabingwalo / pandyes-otso / ikalabingwalo
19 labinsiyam disinwebe (diez y nueve) panlabinsiyam / pandyes-nwebe / ikalabinsiyam
20 dalawampu bente / beinte (veinte) pandalawampu / ikadalawampu (or ikalawampu in some literary compositions both formal and informal (rarely used))
30 tatlumpu trenta / treinta (treinta) pantatlumpu / ikatatlumpu (or ikatlumpu in some literary compositions both formal and informal (rarely used))
40 apatnapu kwarenta (cuarenta) pang-apatnapu / ikaapatnapu
41 apatnapu't isa kwarentayuno (cuarenta y uno) pang-apatnapu't isa / ikaapatnapu't isa
50 limampu singkwenta (cincuenta) panlimampu / ikalimampu
60 animnapu sisenta (sesenta) pang-animnapu / ikaanimnapu
70 pitumpu sitenta (setenta) pampitumpu / ikapitumpu
80 walumpu otsenta / utsenta (ochenta) pangwalumpu / ikawalumpu
90 siyamnapu nobenta (noventa) pansiyamnapu / ikasiyamnapu
100 sandaan syento (ciento) pan(g)-(i)sandaan / ikasandaan (or ika-isandaan in some formal or informal literary compositions (rarely used))
200 dalawandaan dos syentos (doscientos) pandalawandaan / ikadalawandaan (or ikalawandaan in some formal or informal literary compositions (rarely used))
300 tatlondaan tres syentos (trescientos) pantatlong daan / ikatatlondaan (or ikatlondaan in some formal or informal literary compositions (rarely used))
400 apat na raan kwatro syentos (cuatrocientos) pang-apat na raan / ikaapat na raan
500 limandaan singko syentos (quinientos) panlimandaán / ikalimandaán
600 anim na raan sais syentos (siescientos) pang-anim na raan / ikaanim na raan
700 pitongdaan syete syentos (sietecientos) pampitondaan / ikapitondaan (or ikapitong raan)
800 walongdaan otso syentos (ochocientos) pangwalondaan / ikawalondaan (or ikawalong raan)
900 siyam na raan nwebe syentos (novecientos) pansiyam na raan / ikasiyam na raan
1,000 sanlibo mil (mil) panlibo / ikasanlibo
2,000 dalawanlibo dos mil (dos mil) pangalawang libo / ikalawanlibo
10,000 sanlaksa / sampung libo dyes mil (diez mil) pansampung libo / ikapung libo
20,000 dalawanlaksa / dalawampung libo bente mil (veinte mil) pangalawampung libo / ikalawampung libo
100,000 sangyuta / sandaang libo syento mil (ciento mil)  
200,000 dalawangyuta / dalawandaang libo dos syento mil (dos ciento mil)  
1,000,000 sang-angaw / sangmilyon milyon (un millón)  
2,000,000 dalawang-angaw / dalawangmilyon dos milyon (dos millones)  
10,000,000 sangkati / sampung milyon dyes milyon (diez millones)  
100,000,000 sambahala / sandaang milyon syento milyon (ciento millones)  
1,000,000,000 sang-atos / sambilyon bilyon (un billón)  
1,000,000,000,000 sang-ipaw / santrilyon trilyon (un trillón)  

Months and days

Months and days in Tagalog language are also Tagalized form of Spanish months and days. "Month" in Tagalog is buwan (the word moon is also buwan in Tagalog) and "day" is araw (the word sun is also araw in Tagalog). Unlike Spanish, months and days in Tagalog are capitalized whenever they appear in a sentence.

Month Original Spanish Tagalog (abbreviation)
January Enero Enero (Ene.)
February Febrero Pebrero (Peb.)
March Marzo Marso (Mar.)
April Abril Abril (Abr.)
May Mayo Mayo (Mayo)
June Junio Hunyo (Hun.)
July Julio Hulyo (Hul.)
August Agosto Agosto (Ago.)
September Septiembre Setyembre (Set.)
October Octubre Oktubre (Okt.)
November Noviembre Nobyembre (Nob.)
December Diciembre Disyembre (Dis.)
Day Original Spanish Tagalog
Monday Lunes Lunes
Tuesday Martes Martes
Wednesday Miércoles Miyerkules / Myerkules
Thursday Jueves Huwebes / Hwebes
Friday Viernes Biyernes / Byernes
Saturday Sábado Sabado
Sunday Domingo Linggo

Common phrases

English Tagalog (with Pronunciation)
Filipino Pilipino [ˌpiːliˈpiːno]
English Inglés [ʔɪŋˈɡlɛs]
Tagalog Tagalog [tɐˈɡaːloɡ]
What is your name? Anó ang pangalan ninyo? (plural) [ɐˈno aŋ pɐˈŋaːlan nɪnˈjo], Anó ang pangalan mo? (singular) [ɐˈno aŋ pɐˈŋaːlan mo]
How are you? kumustá [kʊmʊsˈta]
Good morning! Magandáng umaga! [mɐɡɐnˈdaŋ uˈmaːɡa]
Good noontime! (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) Magandáng tanghali! [mɐɡɐnˈdaŋ taŋˈhaːlɛ]
Good afternoon! (from 1 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) Magandáng hapon! [mɐɡɐnˈdaŋ ˈhaːpon]
Good evening! Magandáng gabí! [mɐɡɐnˈdaŋ ɡɐˈbɛ]
Good-bye paálam [pɐˈʔaːlam]
Please Depending on the nature of the verb, either pakí- [pɐˈki] or makí- [mɐˈki] is attached as a prefix to a verb. ngâ [ŋaʔ] is optionally added after the verb to increase politeness. (e.g. Pakipasa ngâ ang tinapay. ("Can you pass the bread, please?"))
Thank you salamat [sɐˈlaːmat]
This one ito [ʔiˈtoh], sometimes pronounced [ʔɛˈtoh] (literally—"it", "this")
That one iyan [ʔiˈjan], When pointing to something at greater distances: iyun [ʔiˈjʊn] or iyon [ʔiˈjon]
Here dito [dɪˈtoh], heto [hɛˈtoh] ("Here it is")
There doon [dʒan], hayan [hɑˈjan] ("There it is")
How much? Magkano? [mɐɡˈkaːno]
Yes oo [ˈoːʔo]

opô [ˈʔopoʔ] or ohô [ˈʔohoʔ] (formal/polite form)

No hindî [hɪnˈdɛʔ], often shortened to [dɛʔ]

hindî pô (formal/polite form)

I don't know hindî ko álam [hɪnˈdɛʔ ko aːlam]

Very informal: ewan [ʔɛˈʊɑn], archaic aywan [ɑjˈʊɑn] (closest English equivalent: colloquial dismissive 'Whatever')

Sorry pasensya pô (literally from the word "patience") or paumanhin po [pɐˈsɛːnʃa poʔ] patawad po [pɐtaːwad poʔ] (literally—"asking your forgiveness")
Because kasí [kɐˈsɛ] or dahil [dɑˈhɪl]
Hurry! dalí! [dɐˈli], bilís! [bɪˈlis]
Again mulí [muˈli] , ulít [ʊˈlɛt]
I don't understand Hindî ko naiintindihan [hɪnˈdiː ko nɐʔɪɪnˌtɪndiˈhan] or

Hindi ko nauunawaan [hɪnˈdiː ko nɐʔʊʊnawaʔˌʔan]

What? Anó? [ɐˈno]
Where? Saán? [sɐˈʔan], Nasaán? [ˌnaːsɐˈʔan] (literally - "Where at?")
Why? Bakít? [bɑˈkɛt]
When? Kailan? [kɑjˈlɑn], [kɑˈɪˈlɑn], or [kɛˈlɑn] (literally—"In what order?/"At what count?"")
How? Paánó? [pɑˌɐˈno] (literally—"By what?")
Where's the bathroom? Nasaán ang banyo? [ˌnaːsɐˈʔan ʔaŋ ˈbaːnjo]
Generic toast Mabuhay! [mɐˈbuːhaɪ] [literally—"long live"]
Do you speak English? Marunong ka bang magsalitâ ng Ingglés? [mɐˈɾuːnoŋ ka baŋ mɐɡsaliˈtaː naŋ ʔɪŋˈɡlɛs],

"Marunong po ba kayong magsailitâ ng Ingglés?" (polite version for elders and strangers) Marunong ka bang mag-Ingglés? (short form), "Marunong po ba kayong mag-Ingglés? (short form, polite version for elders and strangers)

It is fun to live. Masaya ang mabuhay! [mɐˈsaˈja ʔaŋ mɐˈbuːhaɪ] or Masaya'ng mabuhay (contracted version)


Ang hindî marunong lumingón sa pinanggalingan ay hindî makaráratíng sa paroroonan. (José Rizal)
One who does not learn to look back to where he came from, will never get to where he is going.

Ang hindî magmahál sa kanyang sariling wika ay mahigít pa sa hayop at malansang isdâ. (José Rizal)
One who does not love one's own language is worse than an animal and a putrid fish.

Hulí man daw at magalíng, nakákahábol pa rin. (Hulí man raw at magalíng, nakákahábol pa rin.)
If one is behind but capable, one will still be able to catch up.

Magbirô ka na sa lasíng, huwág lang sa bagong gising.
Make fun of someone drunk, if you must, but never make fun of someone who just woke up.

Ang sakít ng kalingkingan, ramdám ng buong katawán.
The pain of the pinkie is felt by the whole body. (In a group: if one goes down, the rest comes down with it.)

Nasa hulí ang pagsisisi.
Regret always comes last.

Pagkáhába-haba man ng prusisyón, sa simbahan pa rin ang tulóy.
The (wedding) procession may stretch on and on, but it still ends up at the church. (In romance: refers to how certain people are destined to be married. In general: refers to how some things are inevitable, no matter how long you try and postpone it.)

Kung dî mádaán sa santong dasalan, daanin sa santong paspasan.
If you can't get it through holy prayer, get it through blessed force. (In romance and courting: santong paspasan literally means 'Holy speeding' and is a euphemism for sex. It refers to the two styles of courting by Filipino men. One is the traditional restrained courting favored by the older generations, which often featured serenades and doing chores for the girl's parents. It is notorious for taking ages before getting the girl to say yes. While the other is the riskier seduction which does away with the courting traditions. It can either lead to getting a slap on the face or a pregnancy out of wedlock. The conclusion is what western cultures would call a 'shotgun marriage', therefore the suitor gets the girl one way or the other. The proverb is also applied in terms of diplomacy and negotiation.)

See also


  1. ^ Tagalog language at Ethnologue
  2. ^ http://www.census.gov.ph/data/sectordata/sr05153tx.html
  3. ^ a b "Language Use in the United States: 2007" (PDF). United States. http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acs-12.pdf. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  4. ^ According to the OED and Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  5. ^ Philippine Census, 2000. Table 11. Household Population by Ethnicity, Sex and Region: 2000
  6. ^ Zorc, David. 1977. The Bisayan Dialects of the Philippines: Subgrouping and Reconstruction. Pacific Linguistics C.44. Canberra: The Australian National University
  7. ^ Blust, Robert. 1991. The Greater Central Philippines hypothesis. Oceanic Linguistics 30:73–129
  8. ^ a b c Manuel L. Quezon III, Quezon’s speech proclaiming Tagalog the basis of the National Language, quezon.ph, http://www.quezon.ph/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/mlq-speech-national-language-1.pdf, retrieved 2010-03-26 
  9. ^ Mga Probisyong Pangwika sa Saligang-Batas
  10. ^ a b c d e Andrew Gonzalez (1998), "The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines" (PDF), Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 19 (5, 6): 487–488, doi:10.1080/01434639808666365, http://www.multilingual-matters.net/jmmd/019/0487/jmmd0190487.pdf, retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  11. ^ Results from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing: Educational Characteristics of the Filipinos, National Statistics Office, March 18, 2005, http://www.census.gov.ph/data/sectordata/sr05153tx.html, retrieved 2008-01-21 
  12. ^ Results from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing: Population expected to reach 100 million Filipinos in 14 years, National Statistics Office, October 16, 2002, http://www.census.gov.ph/data/pressrelease/2002/pr02178tx.html, retrieved 2008-01-21 
  13. ^ 1897 Constitution of Biak-na-Bato, Article VIII, Filipiniana.net, http://www.filipiniana.net/ArtifactView.do?artifactID=L00000000001&page=1&epage=1, retrieved 2008-01-16 
  14. ^ 1935 Philippine Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3, Chanrobles Law Library, http://www.chanrobles.com/1935constitutionofthephilippines.htm, retrieved 2007-12-20 
  15. ^ 1973 Philippine Constitution, Article XV, Sections 2–3, Chanrobles Law Library, http://www.chanrobles.com/1973constitutionofthephilippines.htm, retrieved 2007-12-20 
  16. ^ a b c 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article XIV, Sections 6–9, Chanrobles Law Library, http://www.chanrobles.com/article14language.htm, retrieved 2007-12-20 
  17. ^ J.U. Wolff, "Tagalog", in the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2006
  18. ^ Order No. 74 (2009). Department of Education.
  19. ^ a b Omniglot.com Tagalog Retrieved September 30, 2009.
  20. ^ a b Tagalog: Understanding the Language, lerc.educ.ubc.ca, http://www.lerc.educ.ubc.ca/LERC/courses/489/worldlang/tagalog_ind/Tagalog2/description.htm, retrieved 2008-09-26 
  21. ^ Gómez Rivera, Guillermo (April 10, 2001). "The evolution of the native Tagalog alphabet". Philippines: Emanila Community (emanila.com). Views & Reviews. Archived from the original on August 3, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5rhjRPCO9. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  22. ^ Signey, Richard, Philippine Journal of Linguistics, Manila, Philippines: Linguistic Society of the Philippines, The Evoluton and Disappearance of the "Ğ" in Tagalog orthography since the 1593 Doctrina Cristiana, ISSN 0048-3796, OCLC 1791000, http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=18813686, retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  23. ^ Linda Trinh Võ; Rick Bonus (2002), Contemporary Asian American communities: intersections and divergences, Temple University Press, pp. 96, 100, ISBN 9781566399388, http://books.google.com/?id=7xp4qZta2GYC 
  24. ^ University of the Philippines College of Education (1971), "Philippine Journal of Education", Philippine Journal of Education (Philippine Journal of Education.) 50: 556, http://books.google.com/?id=k6oqAAAAMAAJ 
  25. ^ Perfecto T. Martin (1986), Diksiyunaryong adarna: mga salita at larawan para sa bata, Children's Communication Center, ISBN 9789711211189, http://books.google.com/?id=Bv5HAAAAMAAJ .
  26. ^ Trinh & Bonus 2002, pp. 96, 100
  27. ^ Renato Perdon; Periplus Editions (2005), Renato Perdon, ed., Pocket Tagalog Dictionary: Tagalog-English/English-Tagalog, Tuttle Publishing, pp. vi–vii, ISBN 9780794603458, http://books.google.com/?id=4X1Musto3h0C .
  28. ^ Michael G. Clyne (1997), Undoing and redoing corpus planning, Walter de Gruyter, p. 317, ISBN 9783110155099, http://books.google.com/?id=tM3PrFFSiVgC .
  29. ^ 2003 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses p.155.

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