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Tagalog is an Austronesian language, commonly spoken in the Philippines, and is the basis for the national language called Filipino. There are an estimated 15 million native speakers of Tagalog and about 50 million others who speak it as a second language. Tagalog is given the ISO 639 codes of tl and tgl.

Due to three centuries of colonization by Spain, many Spanish words have been incorporated into Tagalog. The Tagalog phrase “Kumusta?” (How are [you]?) directly came from the Spanish “¿Cómo estás?”. Foreign concepts such as names of the week and months have been directly adopted. In many other cases, there are equivalent Spanish and Tagalog terms, which can be used interchangeably. An example is the Tagalog words for chair which are upuan, and silya. Silya was adopted from the Spanish silla.

The American occupation has also introduced many English words. Some examples are titser (teacher), bus (bus, pronounced boos), dyip (jeep), and restawrant (restaurant).

Modern colloquial Tagalog or Filipino typically adopts English nouns and verbs into the speech, even if there are equivalent terms in the native language. This pseudo-dialect is called Taglish. The name is a portmanteau combining the words Tagalog and English.

Table of contents
1 Grammar
2 Phonology
3 Loan words
4 Tagalog words and phrases
5 Related Articles
6 External Link




Most pronouns or panghalip, in Tagalog have direct translations in English.

Personal pronouns. There are seven personal pronouns in Tagalog. The first person pronouns are ako, kami, and tayo, corresponding to the English I, exclusive we (as in “we excluding you”), and inclusive we (as in “we including you”). The second person pronouns are ikaw, kayo, corresponding to the singular and plural you. The third person pronouns are siya (singular) and sila (plural). Tagalog does not distinguish gender for the singular third person unlike English's he, she, and it. Tagalog pronouns have nominative (subjective), two objective, and genitive (possessive) cases. The table below lists all of these cases, some of which are accompanied by contracted forms. The apostrophe is actually a formality and is almost always left out in written texts.

Singular Plural
Nominative Objective A Objective B Genitive Nominative Objective A Objective B Genitive
First person ako ko sa akin
akin kami namin sa amin
First-second person tayo natin sa atin
Second person ikaw
mo sa iyo
iyo kayo ninyo sa inyo inyo
Third person siya
sa kaniya
sa kan’ya
sila nila sa kanila kanila

The singular second person pronoun, ikaw, has an alternate form, ka, which can be used in place of the original form when it isn't the first word in a clause (when it follows the predicate). See the section on sentence patterns. The sentence You are happy is translated to the following three equivalent Tagalog sentences, differing only in word order.

Ikaw ay masaya. Masaya ikaw. Masaya ka.

The first objective case denotes that the person the pronoun is referring to is the one doing the action signified by the verb. This is much like the by me construct used in passive voice in English.

Tagalog: Nahanap ko ang libro.
English: literally Found by me, the book. (The book was found by me.)

The second objective case is formed by preceeding the genitive case with the word sa, which is actually a preposition. The word sa, in this case, is actually a clitic. This objective case is often contracted in speech. Here is an example of this objective case as a direct object:

Tagalog: Bumati ako sa kaniya.
English: literally Greeted I him. (I greeted him.)

And here is the objective case as an indirect object:

Tagalog: Magbibigay ako sa kaniya ng regalo.
English: literally Will give I him a gift. (I will give him a gift.)

In addition, Tagalog has another personal pronoun, kita, which combines ko-ikaw (by me–you) constructs. For example, Mahal kita means I love you (literally You are loved by me). This form is preferred instead of the more formal and stilted Mahal ko ikaw or even Ikaw ay mahal ko.

Unlike in English, Tagalog does not have intensive or reflexive forms for the personal pronouns (pronouns with the suffix -self, such as myself). These forms are approximated by inserting the word sarili (self) and the first objective form into the sentence. For example:

Intensive. I did it myself. Ako, sarili ko, ang gumawa niyan.
Reflexive. He shaves himself. Siya ang umaahit sa sarili niya.

Interrogative pronouns. English who, what, when, where, why, which, and how directly translate to Tagalog sino, ano, kailan (also kelan), saan, bakit, alin, and paano.


Sentence patterns

Sentences in Tagalog are often in the predicate-subject order, reverse that of English. Sometimes, the predicate, if it contains a transitive verb, is split into two with the object of the verb following the subject. Almost all sentences can be transformed into the subject-predicate order, but is rarely done, and usually only for emphasis.

Here are examples with their literal English translations preserving word order.

Common order: Nagbasa ako ng aklat. Read I a book.
Transformed: Ako ay nagbasa ng aklat. I read a book.

Common order: Binasa ko ang aklat. Read by me was the book.
Transformed: Ang aklat ay binasa ko. The book was read by me.

Common order: Makulay ang mga bulaklak dito sa Baguio City. Colorful are the flowers here in Baguio City.
Transformed: Ang mga bulaklak dito sa Baguio City ay makulay. The flowers here in Baguio City are colorful.

The difference between the first and second examples is one not of meaning but of focus, as with their English translations (I read a book versus The book was read by me). The verb comes first and is marked according to which following constituent is focused on. This syntactic arrangement is unusual in the world's languages but is typical of the Philippines, and in fact linguists call it Philippine-type marking.


Pronunciation and diacritics

Unlike in English, Tagalog has only five vowel sound, corresponding to the five vowels. The vowel a is pronounced as in hat while u is pronounced as in moon.

Tagalog used to have diacritics in written text to indicate pronunciation, but has gradually been dropped in modern texts. The only diacritic remaining is the tilde (~), which is used for the letter ñ.

The common diacritic used was the circumflex accent (ˆ). It was placed over a final vowel to indicate a stress and glottal stop after that vowel. For example, the verb basâ (to wet) is pronounced bah-SA as opposed to the verb bása (to read), which is pronounced BAH-sah.

Baybayin, the Tagalog script

Before the Spanish came to the Philippines, Tagalog had a script called baybayin (also called alibata), which has largely been replaced with a Latin-based script. This script is part of Unicode and is called Tagalog.

Loan words

Due to foreign colonial influences from Spain and the United States, Tagalog has adopted many words coming from Spanish and English (mainly American English). Tagalog has also adopted words from Chinese, Hindu, and Arabic, due to precolonial trade with mainland Asian cultures. Spanish, however, has contributed the most number of words to Tagalog. In fact, many speakers of Tagalog are unaware that many of the words they use are of Spanish origin. Some examples are:

Tagalog itself has contributed a few words into English. The word boondocks, which means 'rural' or 'back country', was imported by American soldiers stationed in the Philippines from the Tagalog bundok, which means 'mountain.' Another word is cogon, which is a type of grass, used for thatching. This word came from the Tagalog word kugon.

Tagalog words and phrases


   1  isa
   2  dalawa
   3  tatlo
   4  apat
   5  lima
   6  anim
   7  pito
   8  walo
   9  siyam
  10  sampu
  11  labing-isa
  12  labingdalawa
  13  labingtatlo
  20  dalawampu
  30  tatlumpu
  40  apatnapu
  50  limampu
  60  animnapu
  70  pitumpu
  80  walumpu
  90  siyamnapu
 100  daan
1000  libo

Days of the week

week       linggo
Monday     lunes
Tuesday    martes
Wednesday  miyerkules
Thursday   huwebes
Friday     biyernes
Saturday   sabado
Sunday     linggo

Months of the year

month      buwan
January    Enero
February   Pebrero
March      Marso
April      Abril
May        Mayo
June       Hunyo
July       Hulyo
August     Agosto
September  Setyembre
October    Oktubre
November   Nobyembre
December   Disyembre

Common expressions

How are [you]?      Kumusta?
Good morning        Magandang umaga
Good afternoon      Magandang hapon
Good evening        Magandang gabi
What is your name?  Ano ang pangalan mo? or better Ano'ng pangalan mo?
Goodbye             Paalam

Related Articles

External Link