Learn How to Speak Tagalog

Over 5,000 Tagalog Phrases with all Words DefinedDo you want to learn how to speak Tagalog? 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.


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)

Learn 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”.


As you learn Tagalog and begin to converse with Filipinos, you will undoubtedly encounter “Taglish”. It is a “dialect” that is prevalent in the Manila area.  Taglish is a combination of Tagalog and English.  If one visits Manila, they may be surprised at how many people understand English there.  When I listen to “Tagalog” news cast on Manila television or radio, English is sprinkled throughout the conversations. On the street, it is easy to get directions in English.

Taglish is simply a natural result of having two prominent languages used on a regular basis. Keep in mind also, Filipino is constitutionally designated as the national language of the Philippines and, along with English, as one of two official languages.

The ‘Taglish’ aspect helps alot for English speakers that want to learn Tagalog. If a certain Tagalog word is not yet known, simply substitute the English equivalent in your sentence. Later, as you build vocabulary, you can use the correct words. Sometimes, the English word is used even by native Tagalog speakers simply because it may be shorter and easier to say.

Some would argue that Filipino is simply a different name for Tagalog. Remember that “Tagalog” is also the name of a group of people originating in the Manila area. Remember, the capital of the Philippines is Manila, and the language in that area is Tagalog. It was an easy step to decide that the national language would be Tagalog. However, many Filipinos took offense to the national language being named after a separate group. Thus, the national language’s name was changed to Pilipino, and later changed again to Filipino. You can read more about the Filipino language and it’s history here on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Speaks of Code-Switching

The following excerpt is from an article on Wikipedia

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 the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have code-switched in interviews.


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!