Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a quarter of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by the majority. Its standardized form, officially named Filipino, is the largest of the Philippine languages. Tagalog is the national language and one of two official languages of the Philippines, the other being English. It is a member of the Austronesian languages and is a relative to other languages such as Malay and Indonesian, to which it shares similarities to.

Where Is Tagalog Spoken?

Tagalog is natively spoken by 22 million Filipinos throughout the Philippines and as a second language by more than 65 million Filipinos nationwide, particularly in Manila, central and southern parts of Luzon, and also on the islands of Lubang, Marinduque, and the northern and eastern parts of Mindoro. Tagalog speakers can also be found in many other countries, including Canada, Guam, Midway Islands, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, UK and USA.

Interesting Facts About The Tagalog Language

  • Tagalog is the sixth-largest language in the United States.
  • Tagalog is the official language of the Philippines in the standardized form of Filipino.
  • There are more than 120 different languages spoken in the Philippines and its many natives are fluent in Tagalog, English and additional languages.

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About the Tagalog Language

Tagalog has a vocabulary enriched by its pre-colonial and colonial history. Spanish is the single largest contributor to the Filipino vocabulary and as such Filipino seems to the foreign ear to sound somewhat like Spanish. Other contributors include Arabic, Sanskrit, Min Nan Chinese, Malay, Nahuatl, Tamil, Persian and other Philippine languages such as Kapampangan and Ilocano.

History of the Tagalog Language

Tagalog used to be written with the Baybayin alphabet, which probably developed from the Kawi script of Java, Bali and Sumatra, which in turn descended from the Pallava script, one of the southern Indian scripts derived from Brahmi. Today the Baybayin alphabet is used mainly for decorative purposes and the Latin alphabet is used to write to Tagalog.

The name Tagalog derives from tagá-ílog, which means “resident beside the river”. Little is known of the history of the language before the arrival of the Spanish in the Philippines during the 16th century as no eariler written materials have been found.