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.

To learn more about Taglish check out this article on LangFocus.com.  While there, be sure to check out the comments below the article to see how some Filipinos feel about Taglish.

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