Learn How to Speak Tagalog

Do you want to learn how to speak Tagalog? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Tagalog is one of the major languages spoken in the Philippines. Tagalog originated with the “Tagalog” people that are from the area of Manila and the surrounding region.

The national language is “Filipino”. Filipino is strongly related to Tagalog, yet is supposedly distinct in that it uses words from other languages in the Philippines as well as from Spanish and English. You can think of the lessons here as Filipino lessons or Tagalog lessons.

Several other major languages can be found in the Philippines, (See the table at the bottom of this page). Yet, because Filipino is the national language, and closely related to Tagalog, the Tagalog language is widely understood throughout the island nation.

I chose to learn how to speak Tagalog in order to talk with a wider range of people in the Philippines. I have friends that are native speakers of other languages there, but they also can converse well enough in Tagalog. I enjoy looking at the other languages too. I find all the major languages of the Philippines quite interesting.

UPDATE (July 2015):  I am now living in the Philippines.  I’ve been living here for about 14 months and love it!  I lived in Pampanga province for 1 year and found Tagalog to be VERY useful there.  Many of the people I met spoke Kapampangan, Tagalog and English.   Kapampangan is very different from Tagalog (at least to me!) and was unintelligible to me.  That language is spoken primarily in Pampanga. Pampanga is located just North of the Manila area.  Luckily I could converse in Tagalog with anybody there (except very small children).  Many of the people I hung around with spoke Tagalog 90% of the time. However, many times I would hear the locals speaking in Kapampangan and couldn’t understand what they were saying.

After 1 year in Pampanga, I moved to Cebu Province.  It has required an adjustment for me. Nearly ALL conversations I hear daily are in the Cebuano (Binisaya) language.  There is some debate as to what constitutes Bisaya (Binsaya) and what doesn’t. I will leave that to others to discuss.. Google it. 🙂

I am currently learning Cebuano because that is what everyone uses around me daily. If I go to the market or the supermarket or McDonalds, I only hear Cebuano spoken.  I CAN ask questions or make comments in Tagalog and it everyone understands me.  They know Tagalog (Filipino) but prefer to speak Cebuano.   I knew that was the case before I ever moved to the Philippines.  Living in the Binisaya-speaking region though really brings the reality home.. living in Cebu province without knowing the local language means I don’t know what is being said around me. I never hear Tagalog spoken except on Television or some radio stations.  That’s why I am learning Cebuano.

However, I am still learning Tagalog too. In fact I recently bought a Kindle book from Amazon (affiliate link) that is all about Tagalog.  It also provides about 8 hours of audio which I think is great since I don’t HEAR Tagalog spoken around me anymore.


Another major language in the Philippines is “Cebuano”. Nearly as many people speak Cebuano at home as those who speak Tagalog at home. (again, note the table at the bottom of this page).

If you want to learn how to speak Tagalog, I think you will find this site very helpful. I will be adding to the site regularly. If you have suggestions or comments, please visit the Contact menu above at let me know.

Marunong ka bang mag-Tagalog? Do you know how to speak Tagalog?
Oo, marunong akong mag-Tagalog. Yes, I know how to speak Tagalog.
Ang galing mo mag-Tagalog! You are good at speaking Tagalog!
Maraming salamat! Thank you very much! (many thanks)
Nakakaintindi ako ng Tagalog, pero kaunti lang I can understand Tagalog, but just a little.

Taga-ilog (Tagalog)

The word “Tagalog” is believed to come from combining the two Tagalog words “taga” and “ilog”. Taga is used when asking where someone is from. For example, “Taga saan ka?” (From where you?). The second word, “ilog” is the Tagalog word for river. Therefore, the word Tagalog basically means “From the river”. In other words, “people from the river area”.

Top Languages in the Philippines (as of 2000 census)

Below is a list of the top nine languages in the Philippines based on number of native speakers. This information is originally from the 2000 census.
(source: Wikipedia: Languages of the Philippines)

Note the large number of native speakers of Cebuano. Cebuano is spoken in a large part of the Philippines. Even though the national language, Filipino is derived primarily from Tagalog, it also draws words from Cebuano, as well as Spanish and English, and other languages.

Tagalog 22,000,000
Cebuano 20,000,000
Ilocano 7,700,000
Hiligaynon 7,000,000
Waray-Waray 3,100,000
Kapampangan 2,900,000
Northern Bicol 2,500,000
Pangasinan 2,434,086
Southern Bicol 1,200,000

Again, if you want to learn Tagalog, I think you will find this site very helpful. Please explore this site, and come back again and again. I will be adding more content regularly.  Enjoy the Filipino lessons contained on this site!

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