Tagalog (//, tə-GAH-log; locally [tɐˈɡaːloɡ]; Baybayin: ) is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by the ethnic Tagalog people, who make up a quarter of the population of the Philippines, and as a second language by the majority. Its standardized form, officially named Filipino, is the national language of the Philippines, and is one of two official languages, alongside English.
Tagalog is closely related to other Philippine languages, such as the Bikol languages, Ilocano, the Visayan languages, Kapampangan, and Pangasinan, and more distantly to other Austronesian languages, such as the Formosan languages of Taiwan, Malay (Malaysian and Indonesian), Hawaiian, Māori, and Malagasy.
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, Malay (Malaysian and Indonesian), Tetum (of Timor), and Yami (of Taiwan). It is closely related to the languages spoken in the Bicol Region and the Visayas islands, such as the Bikol group and the Visayan group, including Waray-Waray, Hiligaynon and Cebuano.
Tagalog differs from its Central Philippine counterparts with its treatment of the Proto-Philippine schwa vowel *ə. In most Bikol and Visayan languages, 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 *ŋajan (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.
The word Tagalog is derived from the endonym taga-ilog ("river dweller"), composed of tagá- ("native of" or "from") and ilog ("river"). Linguists such as David Zorc and Robert Blust speculate that the Tagalogs and other Central Philippine ethno-linguistic groups originated in Northeastern Mindanao or the Eastern Visayas.
Possible words of Old Tagalog origin are attested in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription from the tenth century, which is largely written in Old Malay. The first known complete book to be written in Tagalog is the Doctrina Christiana (Christian Doctrine), printed in 1593. The Doctrina was written in Spanish and two transcriptions of Tagalog; one in the ancient, then-current Baybayin script and the other in an early Spanish attempt at a Latin orthography for the language.
Throughout the 333 years of Spanish rule, various grammars and dictionaries were written by Spanish clergymen. In 1610, the Dominican priest Francisco Blancas de San Jose published the "Arte y reglas de la lengua tagala" (which was subsequently revised with two editions in 1752 and 1832) in Bataan. In 1613, the Franciscan priest Pedro de San Buenaventura published the first Tagalog dictionary, his "Vocabulario de la lengua tagala" in Pila, Laguna.
The first substantial dictionary of the Tagalog language was written by the Czech Jesuit missionary Pablo Clain in the beginning of the 18th century. Clain spoke Tagalog and used it actively in several of his books. He prepared the dictionary, which he later passed over to Francisco Jansens and José Hernandez. Further compilation of his substantial work was prepared by P. Juan de Noceda and P. Pedro de Sanlucar and published as Vocabulario de la lengua tagala in Manila in 1754 and then repeatedly reedited, with the last edition being in 2013 in Manila.
Among others, Arte de la lengua tagala y manual tagalog para la administración de los Santos Sacramentos (1850) in addition to early studies of the language.
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. 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. 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. In 1939, President Quezon renamed the proposed Tagalog-based national language as Wikang Pambansâ (national language). Under the Japanese puppet government during World War II, Tagalog as a national language was strongly promoted; the 1943 Constitution specifying: The government shall take steps toward the development and propagation of Tagalog as the national language.".
In 1959, the language was further renamed as "Pilipino". Along with English, the national language has had official status under the 1973 constitution (as "Pilipino") and the present 1987 constitution (as Filipino).
The adoption of Tagalog in 1937 as basis for a national language is not without its own controversies. Instead of specifying Tagalog, the national language was designated as Wikang Pambansâ ("National Language") in 1939. 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.
The national language issue was revived once more during the 1971 Constitutional Convention. The majority of the delegates were even in favor of scrapping the idea of a "national language" altogether. A compromise solution was worked out—a "universalist" approach to the national language, to be called Filipino rather than Pilipino. The 1973 constitution makes no mention of Tagalog. When a new constitution was drawn up in 1987, it named Filipino as the national language. 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.
Many of the older generation in the Philippines feel that the replacement of English by Tagalog in the popular visual media has had dire economic effects regarding the competitiveness of the Philippines in trade and overseas remittances.
Use in education
Upon the issuance of Executive Order No. 134, Tagalog was declared as basis of the National Language. On 12 April 1940, Executive No. 263 was issued ordering the teaching of the national language in all public and private schools in the country.
Article XIV, Section 6 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.
Under Section 7, however:
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 (one of the various regional Philippine languages) 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. After pilot tests in selected schools, the MLE program was implemented nationwide from School Year (SY) 2012–2013.
Extent of use
In the Philippines
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, as of 2014, there were 100 million people living in the Philippines, where the vast majority have some basic level of understanding of the language. The Tagalog homeland, Katagalugan, covers roughly much of the central to southern parts of the island of Luzon—particularly in Aurora, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Metro Manila, Nueva Ecija, Quezon, Rizal, and Zambales. Tagalog is also spoken natively by inhabitants living on the islands of Marinduque and Mindoro, as well as Palawan to a lesser extent. Significant minorities are found in the other Central Luzon provinces of Pampanga and Tarlac, Ambos Camarines in Bicol Region, and the Cordillera city of Baguio. Tagalog is also the predominant language of Cotabato City in Mindanao, making it the only place outside of Luzon with a native Tagalog speaking majority.
At the 2000 Philippines Census, it is spoken by approximately 57.3 million Filipinos, 96% of the household population who were able to attend school; slightly over 22 million, or 28% of the total Philippine population, speak it as a native language.
The following regions and provinces of the Philippines are majority Tagalog-speaking (from north to south):
- Central Luzon Region
- Metro Manila (National Capital Region)
- Southern Luzon (Calabarzon and Mimaropa)
- Bicol Region (While the Bikol languages have traditionally been the majority languages in the following provinces, heavy Tagalog influence and migration has resulted in its significant presence in these provinces and in many communities Tagalog is now the majority language.)
Outside of the Philippines
Tagalog serves as the common language among Overseas Filipinos, though its use overseas is usually limited to communication between Filipino ethnic groups. The largest concentration of Tagalog speakers outside the Philippines is found in the United States, wherein 2013, the United States Census Bureau reported (based on data collected in 2011) that it was the fourth most-spoken non-English language at home with almost 1.6 million speakers, behind Spanish, French (including Patois, Cajun, Creole), and Chinese (with figures for Cantonese and Mandarin combined). In urban areas, Tagalog ranked as the third most spoken non-English language, behind Spanish and Chinese varieties but ahead of French.
A study based on data from the United States Census Bureau’s 2015 American Consumer Survey shows that Tagalog is the most commonly spoken non-English language after Spanish in California, Nevada, and Washington states.
Tagalog is one of three recognized languages in San Francisco, California, along with Spanish and Chinese, making all essential city services be communicated using these languages along with English. Meanwhile, Tagalog and Ilocano (which is primarily spoken in northern Philippines) are among the non-official languages of Hawaii that its state offices and state-funded entities are required to provide oral and written translations to its residents. Election ballots in Nevada include instructions written in Tagalog, which was first introduced in the 2020 United States presidential elections.
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 of various Tagalog dialects. Ethnologue lists Manila, Lubang, Marinduque, Bataan (Western Central Luzon), Batangas, Bulacan (Eastern Central Luzon), Tanay-Paete (Rizal-Laguna), and Tayabas (Quezon and Aurora) 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 ngayón (now, today), sinigáng (broth stew), gabí (night), matamís (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 (mountain), dagat (sea), dingdíng (wall), and isdâ (fish) become bunrók, ragat, ringríng, and isrâ, e.g. "sandók sa dingdíng" ("ladle on a wall" or "ladle on the wall", depending on the sentence) becoming "sanrók sa ringríng".
- In many southern dialects, the progressive aspect infix 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, for should a Southern Tagalog ask nákáin ka ba ng patíng? ("Do you eat shark?"), he would be understood as saying "Has a shark eaten you?" by speakers of the Manila Dialect.
- Some dialects have interjections which are considered a regional trademark. 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 early 20th century; they have since merged with the infinitive.
|Manila Tagalog||Marinduqueño Tagalog||English|
|Susulat silá María at Esperanza kay Juan.||Másúlat da María at Esperanza kay Juan.||"María and Esperanza will write to Juan."|
|Mag-aaral siya sa Maynilà.||Gaaral siya sa Maynilà.||"[He/She] will study in Manila."|
|Maglutò ka na.||Paglutò.||"Cook now."|
|Kainin mo iyán.||Kaina yaan.||"Eat it."|
|Tinatawag tayo ni Tatay.||Inatawag nganì kitá ni Tatay.||"Father is calling us."|
|Tútulungan ba kayó ni Hilario?||Atulungan ga kamo ni Hilario?||"Is Hilario going to help you?"|
Northern and central dialects form the basis for the national language.
Taglish and Englog are names given to a mix of English and Tagalog. The amount of English vs. Tagalog varies from the occasional use of English loan words to changing language in mid-sentence. Such code-switching is prevalent throughout the Philippines and in various 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?
City-dwellers are more likely to do this.
Tagalog has 33 phonemes: 19 of them are consonants and 14 are vowels. Syllable structure is relatively simple, being maximally CrVC, where Cr only occurs in borrowed words such as trak "truck" or sombréro "hat".
Tagalog has ten simple vowels, five long and five short, and four diphthongs. Before appearing in the area north of the Pasig river, Tagalog had three vowel qualities: /a/, /i/, and /u/. This was later expanded to five with the introduction of words from central and northern Philippines, such as the Kapampangan, Pangasinan and Ilocano languages, as well as Spanish words.
|Close||i ⟨i⟩||u ⟨u⟩|
|Mid||ɛ ⟨e⟩||o̞ ⟨o⟩|
- /a/ an open central unrounded vowel roughly similar to English "father"; in the middle of a word, a near-open central vowel similar to Received Pronunciation "cup"; or an open front unrounded vowel similar to Received Pronunciation or California English "hat"
- /ɛ/ an open-mid front unrounded vowel similar to General American English "bed"
- /i/ a close front unrounded vowel similar to English "machine"
- /o/ a mid back rounded vowel similar to General American English "soul" or Philippine English "forty"
- /u/ a close back rounded vowel similar to English "flute"
Nevertheless, simplification of pairs [o ~ u] and [ɛ ~ i] is likely to take place, especially in some Tagalog as second language, remote location and working class registers.
|Close||i ⟨i⟩||u ⟨u⟩|
|Near-close||ɪ ⟨i⟩||ʊ ⟨u⟩|
|Mid||ɛ̝ ⟨e⟩||o̞ ⟨o⟩|
|Open-mid||ɛ ⟨e⟩||ɔ ⟨o⟩|
|Open||a ⟨a⟩||ä ⟨a⟩|
The table above shows all the possible realizations for each of the five vowel sounds depending on the speaker's origin or proficiency. The five general vowels are in bold.
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. Loanword variants using these phonemes are italicized inside the angle brackets.
|Nasal||m||n||ɲ ⟨ny, niy⟩||ŋ ⟨ng⟩|
|Affricate||(ts)||tʃ ⟨ts, tiy, ty, ch⟩||dʒ ⟨diy, dy, j⟩|
|Fricative||s||ʃ ⟨siy, sy, sh⟩||h ⟨h, j⟩|
- /k/ between vowels has a tendency to become [x] as in loch, German Bach, 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], as in Spanish agua, especially in the Manila dialect.
- /ɾ/ and /d/ were once allophones, and they still vary grammatically, with initial /d/ becoming intervocalic /ɾ/ in many words.
- A glottal stop that occurs in pausa (before a pause) is omitted when it is in the middle of a phrase, especially in the Metro Manila area. The vowel it follows is then lengthened. However, it is preserved in many other dialects.
- The /ɾ/ phoneme is an alveolar rhotic that has a free variation between a trill, a flap and an approximant ([r~ɾ~ɹ]).
- The /dʒ/ phoneme may become a consonant cluster [dd͡ʒ] in between vowels such as sadyâ [sadˈd͡ʒäʔ].
Glottal stop is not indicated. Glottal stops are most likely to occur when:
- the word starts with a vowel, like aso (dog)
- the word includes a dash followed by a vowel, like mag-aral (study)
- the word has two vowels next to each other, like paano (how)
- the word starts with a prefix followed by a verb that starts with a vowel, like mag-aayos ([will] fix)
Stress and final glottal stop
Stress is a distinctive feature in Tagalog. Primary stress occurs on either the final or the penultimate syllable of a word. Vowel lengthening accompanies primary or secondary stress except when stress occurs at the end of a word.
Tagalog words are often distinguished from one another by the position of the stress and/or the presence of a final glottal stop. In formal or academic settings, stress placement and the glottal stop are indicated by a diacritic (tuldík) above the final vowel. The penultimate primary stress position (malumay) is the default stress type and so is left unwritten except in dictionaries.
|Common spelling||Stressed non-ultimate syllable
|Stressed ultimate syllable
acute accent (´)
|Unstressed ultimate syllable with glottal stop
grave accent (`)
|Stressed ultimate syllable with glottal stop|
circumflex accent (^)
|baka||[ˈbaka] baka ('cow')||[bɐˈka] baká ('possible')|
|pito||[ˈpito] pito ('whistle')||[pɪˈto] pitó ('seven')|
|bayaran||[bɐˈjaran] bayaran ('pay [imperative]')||[bɐjɐˈran] bayarán ('for hire')|
|bata||[ˈbata] bata ('bath robe')||[bɐˈta] batá ('persevere')||[ˈbataʔ] batà ('child')|
|sala||[ˈsala] sala ('living room')||[ˈsalaʔ] salà ('sin')||[sɐˈlaʔ] salâ ('filtered')|
|baba||[ˈbaba] baba ('father')||[baˈba] babá ('piggy back')||[ˈbabaʔ] babà ('chin')||[bɐˈbaʔ] babâ ('descend [imperative]')|
|labi||[ˈlabɛʔ]/[ˈlabiʔ] labì ('lips')||[lɐˈbɛʔ]/[lɐˈbiʔ] labî ('remains')|
Tagalog, like other Philippines languages today, is written using the Latin alphabet. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1521 and the beginning of their colonization in 1565, Tagalog was written in an abugida—or alphasyllabary—called Baybayin. This system of writing gradually gave way to the use and propagation of the Latin alphabet as introduced by the Spanish. As the Spanish began to record and create grammars and dictionaries for the various languages of the Philippine archipelago, they adopted systems of writing closely following the orthographic customs of the Spanish language and were refined over the years. Until the first half of the 20th century, most Philippine languages were widely written in a variety of ways based on Spanish orthography.
In the late 19th century, a number of educated Filipinos began proposing for revising the spelling system used for Tagalog at the time. In 1884, Filipino doctor and student of languages Trinidad Pardo de Tavera published his study on the ancient Tagalog script Contribucion para el Estudio de los Antiguos Alfabetos Filipinos and in 1887, published his essay El Sanscrito en la lengua Tagalog which made use of a new writing system developed by him. Meanwhile, Jose Rizal, inspired by Pardo de Tavera's 1884 work, also began developing a new system of orthography (unaware at first of Pardo de Tavera's own orthography). A major noticeable change in these proposed orthographies was the use of the letter ⟨k⟩ rather than ⟨c⟩ and ⟨q⟩ to represent the phoneme /k/.
In 1889, the new bilingual Spanish-Tagalog La España Oriental newspaper, of which Isabelo de los Reyes was an editor, began publishing using the new orthography stating in a footnote that it would "use the orthography recently introduced by ... learned Orientalis". This new orthography, while having its supporters, was also not initially accepted by several writers. Soon after the first issue of La España, Pascual H. Poblete's Revista Católica de Filipina began a series of articles attacking the new orthography and its proponents. A fellow writer, Pablo Tecson was also critical. Among the attacks was the use of the letters "k" and "w" as they were deemed to be of German origin and thus its proponents were deemed as "unpatriotic". The publishers of these two papers would eventually merge as La Lectura Popular in January 1890 and would eventually make use of both spelling systems in its articles. Pedro Laktaw, a schoolteacher, published the first Spanish-Tagalog dictionary using the new orthography in 1890.
In April 1890, Jose Rizal authored an article Sobre la Nueva Ortografia de la Lengua Tagalog in the Madrid-based periodical La Solidaridad. In it, he addressed the criticisms of the new writing system by writers like Pobrete and Tecson and the simplicity, in his opinion, of the new orthography. Rizal described the orthography promoted by Pardo de Tavera as "more perfect" than what he himself had developed. The new orthography was however not broadly adopted initially and was used inconsistently in the bilingual periodicals of Manila until the early 20th century. The revolutionary society Kataás-taasan, Kagalang-galang Katipunan ng̃ mg̃á Anak ng̃ Bayan or Katipunan made use of the k-orthography and the letter k featured prominently on many of its flags and insignias.
In 1937, Tagalog was selected to serve as basis for the country's national language. In 1940, the Balarílà ng Wikang Pambansâ (English: Grammar of the National Language) of grammarian Lope K. Santos introduced the Abakada alphabet. This alphabet consists of 20 letters and became the standard alphabet of the national language. The orthography as used by Tagalog would eventually influence and spread to the systems of writing used by other Philippine languages (which had been using variants of the Spanish-based system of writing). In 1987, the ABAKADA was dropped and in its place is the expanded Filipino alphabet.
Tagalog was written in an abugida (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 consonant without a following vowel was simply left out (for example, bundok being rendered as budo), forcing the reader to use context when reading such words.
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' (Spanish for "alphabet"). The additional letters from the 26-letter English alphabet are: ch, ll, ng, ñ, n͠g / ñg, and rr.
|C||c||N͠g / Ñg||n͠g / ñg|
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. The only letter not in the English alphabet is ng.
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 to make room for loans, especially family names from Spanish and English. The additional letters from the 26-letter English alphabet are: ñ, ng.
ng and mga
The genitive marker ng and the plural marker mga (e.g. Iyan ang mga damit ko. (Those are my clothes)) 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.
- Nang si Hudas ay nadulás.—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:
- Naghintáy sila nang naghintáy.—They kept on waiting" (a closer calque: "They were waiting and waiting.")
pô/hô and opò/ohò
The words pô/hô and opò/ohò originated from the word "Panginoon." and "Poon." ("Lord."). It is a polite response to affirmative, Awon. Which later adapted as Oo from Cebuano. It is generally used when addressing elders or superiors such as bosses or teachers.
"Pô" and "opò" are specifically used to denote a high level of respect when addressing older persons of close affinity like parents, relatives, teachers and family friends. "Hô" and "ohò" are generally used to politely address older neighbours, strangers, public officials, bosses and nannies, and may suggest a distance in societal relationship and respect determined by the addressee's social rank and not their age. However, "pô" and "opò" can be used in any case in order to express an elevation of respect.
- Example: "Pakitapon naman pô/ho yung basura." ("Please throw away the trash.")
Used in the affirmative:
- Ex: "Gutóm ka na ba?" "Opò/Ohò". ("Are you hungry yet?" "Yes.")
Pô/Hô may also be used in negation.
- Ex: "Hindi ko pô/hô alam 'yan." ("I don't know that.")
Vocabulary and borrowed words
Tagalog vocabulary is mostly of native Austronesian or Tagalog origin, such as most of the words that end with the diphthong -iw, (e.g. giliw) and words that exhibit reduplication (e.g. halo-halo, patpat, etc.). Besides inherited cognates, this also accounts for innovations in Tagalog vocabulary, especially traditional ones within its dialects. Tagalog has also incorporated many Spanish and English loanwords; the necessity of which increases in more technical parlance.
In precolonial times, Trade Malay was widely known and spoken throughout Maritime Southeast Asia, contributing a significant number of Malay vocabulary into the Tagalog language. Malay loanwords, identifiable or not, may often already be considered native as these have existed in the language before colonisation.
Tagalog also includes loanwords from Indian languages (Sanskrit and Tamil, mostly through Malay), Chinese languages (mostly Hokkien, followed by Cantonese, Mandarin, etc.), Japanese, Arabic and Persian.
Due to the colonial trade with Mexico using the Manila galleons from the 16th to the 19th centuries, some words from several Amerindian languages such as Nahuatl (Aztec) and Taino 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. Some of these loanwords are more often used in Philippine English.
|boondocks||meaning "rural" or "back country," borrowed through American soldiers stationed in the Philippines in the Philippine–American War as a corruption of the Tagalog word bundok, which means "mountain"|
|cogon||a type of grass, used for thatching, came from the Tagalog word kugon (a species of tall grass)|
|ylang-ylang||a tree whose fragrant flowers are used in perfumes|
|abacá||a type of hemp fiber made from a plant in the banana family, came from the Tagalog word abaká|
|Manila hemp||a light brown cardboard material used for folders and paper, usually made from abaca hemp, from Manila, the capital of the Philippines|
|capiz||a type of marine mollusck also known as a "windowpane oyster" used to make windows|
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
Cognates with other Philippine languages
|Tagalog word||Meaning||Language of cognate||Spelling|
|baki't||why (from bakin + at)||Kapampangan||obakit|
|ito, nito||this, its||Ilocano||to|
|araw||sun; day||Visayan languages
|ang||definite article||Visayan languages
Austronesian comparison chart
Below is a chart of Tagalog and a number of other Austronesian languages comparing thirteen words.
|Tombulu (Minahasa)||esa||zua (rua)||telu||epat||tou||walé||asu||po'po'||endo||weru||kai, kita||apa||api|
|Aklanon||isaea, sambilog, uno||daywa, dos||tatlo, tres||ap-at, kwatro||tawo||baeay||ayam||niyog||adlaw||bag-o||kita||ano||kaeayo|
|Pangasinan||sakey||dua, duara||talo, talora||apat, apatira||too||abong||aso||niyog||ageo||balo||sikatayo||anto||pool|
Religious literature remains one of the most dynamic contributors to Tagalog literature. The first Bible in Tagalog, then called Ang Biblia ("the Bible") and now called Ang Dating Biblia ("the Old Bible"), was published in 1905. In 1970, the Philippine Bible Society translated the Bible into modern Tagalog. Even before the Second Vatican Council, devotional materials in Tagalog had been in circulation. There are at least 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 1905 Ang Biblia, used more by Protestants
- the Bagong Sanlibutang Salin ng Banal na Kasulatan (New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures), exclusive to the Jehovah’s Witnesses
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. The Roman Missal in Tagalog was published as early as 1982.
Jehovah's Witnesses were printing Tagalog literature at least as early as 1941 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. The revised bible edition, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, was released in Tagalog on 2019 and it is distributed without charge both printed and online versions.
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.
Amá namin, sumasalangit Ka,
Sambahín ang ngalan Mo.
Mapasaamin ang kaharián Mo.
Sundín ang loób Mo,
Dito sa lupà, gaya nang sa langit.
Bigyán Mo kamí ngayón ng aming kakanin sa araw-araw,
At patawarin Mo kamí sa aming mga salâ,
Para nang pagpápatawad namin,
Sa nagkakasalà sa amin;
At huwág Mo kamíng ipahintulot sa tuksó,
At iadyâ Mo kamí sa lahát ng masamâ.
[Sapagkát sa Inyó ang kaharián, at ang kapangyarihan,
At ang kaluwálhatian, ngayón, at magpakailanman.]
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
This is Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Pángkalahatáng Pagpapahayag ng Karapatáng Pantao)
Bawat tao'y isinilang na may layà at magkakapantáy ang tagláy na dangál at karapatán. Silá'y pinagkalooban ng pangangatwiran at budhî na kailangang gamitin nilá sa pagtuturingan nilá sa diwà ng pagkakapatiran.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Numbers (mga bilang) in Tagalog follow two systems. The first consists of native Tagalog words and the other are Spanish loanwords. (This may be compared to other East Asian languages, except with the second set of numbers borrowed from Spanish instead of Chinese.) For example, when a person refers to the number "seven", it can be translated into Tagalog as "pito" or "siyete" (Spanish: siete).
|0||sero / walâ (lit. "null")||sero (cero)||-|
|2||dalawá [dalaua]||dos (dos)||pangalawá / ikalawá|
|3||tatló||tres (tres)||pangatló / ikatló|
|4||apat||kuwatro (cuatro)||pang-apat / ikaapat (In standard Filipino orthography, "ika" and the number-word are never hyphenated.)|
|5||limá||singko (cinco)||panlimá / ikalimá|
|6||anim||sais (seis)||pang-anim / ikaanim|
|7||pitó||siyete (siete)||pampitó / ikapitó|
|8||waló||otso (ocho)||pangwaló / ikawaló|
|9||siyám||nuwebe (nueve)||pansiyám / ikasiyám|
|10||sampû [sang puwo]||diyés (diez)||pansampû / ikasampû (or ikapû in some literary compositions)|
|11||labíng-isá||onse (once)||panlabíng-isá / pang-onse / ikalabíng-isá|
|12||labíndalawá||dose (doce)||panlabíndalawá / pandose / ikalabíndalawá|
|13||labíntatló||trese (trece)||panlabíntatló / pantrese / ikalabíntatló|
|14||labíng-apat||katorse (catorce)||panlabíng-apat / pangkatorse / ikalabíng-apat|
|15||labínlimá||kinse (quince)||panlabínlimá / pangkinse / ikalabínlimá|
|16||labíng-anim||disisaís (dieciséis)||panlabíng-anim / pandyes-sais / ikalabíng-anim|
|17||labímpitó||dissisyete (diecisiete)||panlabímpitó / pandyes-syete / ikalabímpitó|
|18||labíngwaló||dissiotso (dieciocho)||panlabíngwaló / pandyes-otso / ikalabíngwaló|
|19||labinsiyám||disinuwebe (diecinueve)||panlabinsiyám / pandyes-nwebe / ikalabinsiyám|
|20||dalawampû||bente / beinte (veinte)||pandalawampû / ikadalawampû (rare literary variant: ikalawampû)|
|21||dalawampú't isá||bente'y uno (veintiuno)||pang-dalawampú't isá / ikalawamapú't isá|
|30||tatlumpû||trenta / treinta (treinta)||pantatlumpû / ikatatlumpû (rare literary variant: ikatlumpû)|
|40||apatnapû||kuwarenta (cuarenta)||pang-apatnapû / ikaapatnapû|
|50||limampû||singkuwenta (cincuenta)||panlimampû / ikalimampû|
|60||animnapû||sesenta (sesenta)||pang-animnapû / ikaanimnapû|
|70||pitumpû||setenta (setenta)||pampitumpû / ikapitumpû|
|80||walumpû||otsenta / utsenta (ochenta)||pangwalumpû / ikawalumpû|
|90||siyamnapû||nobenta (noventa)||pansiyamnapû / ikasiyamnapû|
|100||sándaán||siyento (cien)||pan(g)-(i)sándaán / ikasándaán (rare literary variant: ika-isándaan)|
|200||dalawandaán||dos siyentos (doscientos)||pandalawándaán / ikadalawandaan (rare literary variant: ikalawándaán)|
|300||tatlóndaán||tres siyentos (trescientos)||pantatlóndaán / ikatatlondaan (rare literary variant: ikatlóndaán)|
|400||apat na raán||kuwatro siyentos (cuatrocientos)||pang-apat na raán / ikaapat na raán|
|500||limándaán||kinyentos (quinientos)||panlimándaán / ikalimándaán|
|600||anim na raán||sais siyentos (seiscientos)||pang-anim na raán / ikaanim na raán|
|700||pitondaán||siyete siyentos (setecientos)||pampitóndaán / ikapitóndaán (or ikapitóng raán)|
|800||walóndaán||otso siyentos (ochocientos)||pangwalóndaán / ikawalóndaán (or ikawalóng raán)|
|900||siyám na raán||nuwebe siyentos (novecientos)||pansiyám na raán / ikasiyám na raán|
|1,000||sánlibo||mil (mil)||pan(g)-(i)sánlibo / ikasánlibo|
|2,000||dalawánlibo||dos mil (dos mil)||pangalawáng libo / ikalawánlibo|
|10,000||sánlaksâ / sampúng libo||diyes mil (diez mil)||pansampúng libo / ikasampúng libo|
|20,000||dalawanlaksâ / dalawampúng libo||bente mil (veinte mil)||pangalawampúng libo / ikalawampúng libo|
|100,000||sangyutá / sandaáng libo||siyento mil (cien mil)|
|200,000||dalawangyutá / dalawandaáng libo||dos siyento mil (doscientos mil)|
|1,000,000||sang-angaw / sangmilyón||milyón (un millón)|
|2,000,000||dalawang-angaw / dalawang milyón||dos milyón (dos millones)|
|10,000,000||sangkatì / sampung milyón||dyes milyón (diez millones)|
|100,000,000||sampúngkatì / sandaáng milyón||syento milyón (cien millones)|
|1,000,000,000||sang-atos / sambilyón||bilyón (un billón (US), mil millones, millardo)|
|1,000,000,000,000||sang-ipaw / santrilyón||trilyón (un trillón (US), un billón)|
|1st||first||primer, primero, primera||una / ika-isá|
|3⁄5||three fifths||tres quintas partes||tatlóng-kalimá|
|2⁄3||two thirds||dos tercios||dalawáng-katló|
|1+1⁄2||one and a half||uno y medio||isá't kalahatì|
|2+2⁄3||two and two thirds||dos y dos tercios||dalawá't dalawáng-katló|
|0.5||zero point five||cero punto cinco, cero coma cinco, cero con cinco||salapî / limá hinatì sa sampû|
|0.005||zero point zero zero five||cero punto cero cero cinco, cero coma cero cero cinco, cero con cero cero cinco||bagól / limá hinatì sa sanlibo|
|1.25||one point two five||uno punto veinticinco, uno coma veinticinco, uno con veinticinco||isá't dalawampú't limá hinatì sa sampû|
|2.025||two point zero two five||dos punto cero veinticinco, dos coma cero veinticinco, dos con cero veinticinco||dalawá't dalawampú't limá hinatì sa sanlibo|
|25%||twenty-five percent||veinticinco por ciento||dalawampú't-limáng bahagdán|
|50%||fifty percent||cincuenta por ciento||limampúng bahagdán|
|75%||seventy-five percent||setenta y cinco por ciento||pitumpú't-limáng bahagdán|
Months and days
Months and days in Tagalog are also localised forms of Spanish months and days. "Month" in Tagalog is buwán (also the word for moon) and "day" is araw (the word also means sun). Unlike Spanish, however, months and days in Tagalog are always capitalised.
|Month||Original Spanish||Tagalog (abbreviation)|
|Wednesday||miércoles||Miyérkules / Myérkules|
|Thursday||jueves||Huwebes / Hwebes|
|Friday||viernes||Biyernes / Byernes|
Time expressions in Tagalog are also Tagalized forms of the corresponding Spanish. "Time" in Tagalog is panahón or oras.
|1 hour||one hour||una hora||Isang oras|
|2 min||two minutes||dos minutos||Dalawang sandalí/minuto|
|3 sec||three seconds||tres segundos||Tatlong saglít/segundo|
|1:00 am||one in the morning||una de la mañana||Ika-isa ng umaga|
|7:00 pm||seven at night||siete de la noche||Ikapito ng gabí|
|1:15||quarter past one
|una y cuarto||Kapat makalipas ikaisa|
Labinlima makalipas ikaisa
Apatnapu't-lima bago mag-ikaisa
|2:30||half past two
|dos y media||Kalahati makalipas ikalawa|
Tatlumpu makalipas ikalawa
quarter to/of four
|tres y cuarenta y cinco
cuatro menos cuarto
|Tatlong-kapat makalipas ikatlo|
Apatnapu't-lima makalipas ikatlo
Labinlima bago mag-ikaapat
thirty-five to/of four
|cuatro y veinticinco||Dalawampu't-lima makalipas ikaapat|
Tatlumpu't-lima bago mag-ikaapat
twenty-five to/of six
|cinco y treinta y cinco
seis menos veinticinco
|Tatlumpu't-lima makalipas ikalima|
Dalawampu't-lima bago mag-ikaanim
|English||Tagalog (with Pronunciation)|
|What is your name?||Anó ang pangalan ninyo/nila*? (plural or polite) [ɐˈno aŋ pɐˈŋaːlan nɪnˈjo], Anó ang pangalan mo? (singular) [ɐˈno aŋ pɐˈŋaːlan mo]|
|How are you?||kumustá [kʊmʊsˈta] (modern), Anó po áng lagáy ninyo/nila? (old use)|
|Knock knock||tao po [ˈtaːʔopoʔ]|
|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]|
|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 [ʔiˈto], sometimes pronounced [ʔɛˈto] (literally—"it", "this")|
|That one (close to addressee)||iyan [ʔiˈjan]|
|That one (far from speaker and addressee)||iyon[ʔiˈjon]|
|Here||dito ['di:to], heto ['hɛ:to] ("Here it is")|
|Right there||diyan [dʒan], hayan [hɑˈjan] ("There it is")|
|Over there||doon [doʔon]|
|How much?||Magkano? [mɐɡˈkaːno]|
opò [ˈʔo:poʔ] or ohò [ˈʔo:hoʔ] (formal/polite form)
|No||hindî [hɪnˈdɛʔ] (at the end of a pause or sentence), often shortened to dî [dɛʔ]
hindî pô (formal/polite form)
|I don't know||hindî ko álam [hɪnˈdiː ko aːlam]
Very informal: ewan [ʔɛˈʊɑn], archaic aywan [ɑjˈʊɑn] (closest English equivalent: colloquial dismissive 'Whatever' or 'Dunno')
|Sorry||pasensya pô [pɐˈsɛːnʃa poʔ] (literally from the word "patience") or paumanhin po, 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]
|Where?||Saán? [sɐˈʔan], Nasaán? [ˌnaːsɐˈʔan] (literally - "Where at?")|
|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 báng magsalitâ ng Inglés? [mɐˈɾuːnoŋ ka baŋ mɐɡsaliˈtaː naŋ ʔɪŋˈɡlɛs]
Marunong po bâ kayóng magsalitâ ng Inglés? (polite version for elders and strangers)
|It is fun to live.||Masayá ang mabuhay! [mɐˈsaˈja ʔaŋ mɐˈbuːhaɪ] or Masaya'ng mabuhay (contracted version)|
*Pronouns such as niyo (2nd person plural) and nila (3rd person plural) are used on a single 2nd person in polite or formal language. See Tagalog grammar.
Ang hindî marunong lumingón sa pinánggalingan ay hindî makaráratíng sa paroroonan. (José Rizal)
One who knows not how to look back from whence he came, will never get to where he is going.
Unang kagat, tinapay pa rin. It means :"First bite, still bread." or "All fluff no substance."
Tao ka nang humarap, bilang tao kitang haharapin.
(A proverb in Southern Tagalog that made people aware the significance of sincerity in Tagalog communities. It says, "As a human you reach me, I treat you as a human and never act as a traitor.")
Hulí man daw (raw) at magalíng, nakáhahábol 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 one who has just awakened.
Aanhín pa ang damó kung patáy na ang kabayo?
What use is the grass if the horse is already dead?
Ang sakít ng kalingkingan, ramdám ng buóng katawán.
The pain in the pinkie is felt by the whole body.
(In a group, if one goes down, the rest follow.)
Nasa hulí ang pagsisisi.
Regret is always in the end.
Pagkáhabà-habà man ng prusisyón, sa simbahan pa rin ang tulóy.
The 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 to postpone it.)
Kung 'dî mádaán sa santóng dasalan, daanin sa santóng paspasan.
If it cannot be got through holy prayer, get it through blessed force.
(In romance and courting: santóng paspasan literally means 'holy speeding' and is a euphemism for sexual intercourse. It refers to the two styles of courting by Filipino boys: one is the traditional, protracted, restrained manner favored by older generations, which often featured serenades and manual labor for the girl's family; the other is upfront seduction, which may lead to a slap on the face or a pregnancy out of wedlock. The second conclusion is known as pikot or what Western cultures would call a 'shotgun marriage'. This proverb is also applied in terms of diplomacy and negotiation.)
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