Tagalog is the main dialect spoken in the Philippines, other than English. It isn't being taught in schools anymore. It may be a thing of the past since Philippines is being Americanized dramatically. Being able to speak English in the Philippines is looked upon as being well educated.

While being able to speak English is looked upon as being well educated, Tagalog is far from becoming "a thing of the past." Filipino, the national language based on Tagalog, is the primary language used in grade school and high school. Subjects like history, civics and culture are taught in Filipino, though Math and Science are primarily taught in English. Last I heard, amost 99% of Filipinos can now speak and understand the Filipino language.

In college, the University of the Philippines has many math and science courses taught in Filipino. Even the posh Ateneo de Manila University has some Philosophy classes taught in Filipino. In fact, what educators have been lamenting for many years now is that students have decreasing proficiency in English, not Tagalog.

update 19 December 2002 About the Tagalog/Filipino dichotomy: randir and udodan have a point in that, in most cases, Filipino and Tagalog are interchangeable. However, there is a distinction that has to be made: Filipino is the national language, not Tagalog.

In theory, Filipino is inclusive of other Philippine languages, but in practice, it is not as much, although there *are* words that come into Filipino (such as the use of "day" or "dong" when talking to women or men, respectively. Filipino is much more inclusive of foreign languages. Randir's example of telling time, for example is properly Filipino, not Tagalog.

3:30 p.m. in Filipino is: "a las tres y media ng hapon," though it should probably be spelled "alas tres imedia." The words are Spanish in origin, but spoken by Filipinos. In Tagalog, it will be "ikatatlo at tatlumpo ng hapon" instead.

Another illustration of this distinction is how udodan spells the language "Pilipino" instead of "Filipino". "Pilipino" is the Tagalog spelling, "Filipino" is the Filipino spelling. The Tagalog alphabet has no "f" sound. The Filipino alphabet, however, does.

One can think of Tagalog as a dialect of Filipino that is spoken in the Tagalog speaking provinces (i.e. Batangas). Again, this distinction is really mostly academic. In regular speech and informal writing, there should be no problem in interchanging the two words.

update 1/7/2001 I might be splitting hairs here, but in response to randir's writeup, Tagalog is not Filipino (the language). It can be said that Tagalog is a subset of Filipino, but Filipino also contains elements of other Filipino languages (such as Bisaya), and foreign languages as well.

The distinction is mostly artificial. Many academics wish to distinguish Tagalog which is a dialect spoken in the low-lying areas of Luzon (it is, after all derived from "taga-ilog", or "of the river") from Filipino, a modern, dynamic language that is inclusive of words, phrases, and even grammatical structures of the other main Filipino languages.

Filipino, the language, is not simply based on Tagalog, it is Tagalog. It is merely another name for it, having become recognized as the main Filipino dialect. Tagalog, as it is now, can almost be considered a pidgin language as it is a smattering of Spanish (resulting from the influence of the conquistadors way back in Filipino history), Chinese (being an overseas neighbor of sorts), American English (from the cultural impact of having a United States naval base situated in the Philippines for so long) as well as other Malay languages (being part of the overall Pacific Islander culture).

Note that, despite its huge cultural influence, the Spanish linguistic aspect of the language is a rather bastardized one. Consider the following:

"What time is it?"
"¿Que hora es?" (Spanish)
"Ano'ng horas na?" (Tagalog)

Notice the word horas in the Tagalog translation, obviously a derivative of the spanish hora for the word hour. In all other cases that don't have the Spanish influence, the letter "h" is never silent (contrary to the observance usually made by languages derived from Latin). A near-direct instance of decoding, or the systematic replacing of one word for the other across languages, "horas" is obviously not of Filipino origin. The grammatic sentence construction is nearly identical also. Consider the response to this question as well:

"It is 11:30."
"Son las once y media." (Spanish)
"A las once y media." (Tagalog)

Spanish speakers will notice that this response (in Tagalog) is actually an incorrect response in Spanish. "A las once y media" in actuality translates to "At 11:30" and not "It is 11:30". Yet in Tagalog, it is taken to mean the latter despite its literal meaning. There are other examples in which Tagalog has taken Spanish bits verbatim, but this serves as the best example.

As for the American English decoding instances, they occur much like the way English manages to pop up in other languages. An AT&T long distance commercial that aired on an international channel once urged Filipino customers to sign up now by saying, Mag Sign-Up Ka Na. This, in comparison to the French translation of the act of shopping (faire du shopping), exemplifies systematic and linguistically correct usage, in most places.

Tagalog, though the national language of the Philippines, is only one designated dialect of the country. There exists countless others. More popular ones would include Bisaya, Taosug, Pangasinan, and Ilocano. Being an archipelago comprised of more than 7,000 islands, it wouldn't be surprising to discover that there exists at the least a similar number of dialects. It is fortunate that there exists one language (and not just English) that serves as a common ground.

a collection of nodes as pertaining to the tagalog language, literature, or translations (not necessarily covering the cultural aspects and traditions of the philippines, though overlap does exist). please /msg me for additions.

This is a response to flyingroc's assertion that Tagalog is a subset of Pilipino. I have to disagree; after twelve years of studying Pilipino/Tagalog I know that there is no difference between the two--none at all. I also have to emphasize that Pilipino/Tagalog does not seem to include any Bisayan. And I can say that with certainty because not only am I fluent in Pilipino/Tagalog, I also speak three Bisayan languages: Cebuano, Waray, and Ilonggo.

As a native speaker of Tagalog, I don't see any difference between Tagalog and so-called "Filipino". IMO, the name "Filipino" is used to easily identify it as a language from the Philippines. Since Tagalog doesn't really indicate it. But as far as I know, I've never heard anyone say, "I speak Filipino."

It's way too vague to describe a language of country with more than 90 languages (not sure how many) as simply "Filipino". It's almost like a person from for example, Vancouver saying "I'm from earth"

Clearly not specific enough.

Ta*ga"log (?), n.



Any member of a certain tribe which is one of the leading and most civilized of those native of the Philippine Islands.


The language of the Tagalogs. It belongs to the Malay family of languages and is one of the most highly developed members of the family.


© Webster 1913.

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