Tagalog Teacher

A web site for people who want to learn how to communicate in Tagalog.

Buwan ng Wika 2015

The celebration of the Buwan ng Wika during the month of August is still one of the activities that make student life memorable. During this school event, students showcase their talents in dancing traditional Filipino dances in complete traditional Filipino costumes. I bet everyone got their foot hurt dancing the “tinikling” when they danced out of rhythm with the bamboos. Or looked forward to seeing the most popular male dance “maglalatik,” and the most popular Muslim dance “singkil.”


In addition to Philippine folk dances, students also spend countless hours memorizing kilometric poems for the choral reading. And equally busy planning a great choreography for their flock are the teachers, in order to bag the trophy for the choral reading champs and earning bragging rights to being the best choreographer and the choreographer to beat.

The famous “Balagtasan” also gets highlighted at this event. Balagtasan is a debate between two opposing sides where arguments are presented in a poetic manner, of course the language used is the national language which is Filipino. Balagtasan got its name from the famous poet laureate, Francisco Balagtas, who penned the romantic epic, Florante at Laura.

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What is Filipino?


I’ve always encountered questions pertaining to the official definition of Filipino, which is the national language of the Philippines. Filipinos, sadly, struggle with explaining what Filipino is, and how it is different from Tagalog, the former official language.

Well, Filipino is the official language of the Philippines by virtue of the 1987 Constitution. Before coming up with this term to call the national language, the official language of the Philippines was Tagalog being that it has the biggest number of speakers and many printed materials in Tagalog have been published and to this day are still used in schools.

There should be no long and complicated discussion between the two terms because the explanation is really simple. When former President Manuel L. Quezon declared that a national language will be formed and will be Tagalog-based, Quezon was thinking of a unifying language that will be used to also give us an identity as a nation and people.  This language is evolving, therefore what could be a more fitting term to that evolving language than Filipino?

How different is Filipino from Tagalog?  To those who used the Balarilang Tagalog material, you all know how many consonants and vowels were used in spelling and writing Tagalog words:  5 vowels and 16 consonants.   Each letter also has a distinct pronunciation and the letters are read in syllable form. Therefore the letter ‘b’ is read ‘ba’.  This system was really very awkward and mouthful, not to mention confusing.  In Filipino, the English pronunciation is used in naming letters and all letters and other phonological elements are accepted.  Some words are also even accepted as part of our ‘lingua franca’ already, while some have been Filipinized, meaning they are spelled the way locals use them like “laybrari,’ which is  used more often than its local counterpart which is the ‘silid-aklatan.’   Their differences go beyond these two major characteristics.  However, it is sufficient to say that whatever name is given to the local language, its main objective is to unify the country and its people.  Filipinos also have the responsibility in advocating the use of Filipino to call the national language.   Let”s not forget what Jose Rizal said about forsaking our national language.

What is Tagalog?

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Tagalog, simply speaking, is the language spoken by about one-fourth of the total population of the Philippines majority of which reside in the central and southern part of Luzon especially in the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, Batangas, Quezon, Laguna and Rizal. Tagalog is also one of the second languages of the rest of the Filipinos being that Tagalog is used as a medium of instruction in the public school system. It is the common language of the Filipinos and the basis on which the national language, Filipino, is established.

During the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines where Manuel L. Quezon was president, preparations to make Pilipino the national language were laid down. It was during this period of Philippine history when the national language was finally declared making Tagalog the basis of its formation. Prior to that, Tagalog was declared as the national language by the first Philippine Constitution in 1897, the Constitution of Biak-na-Bato which is the pre-American Constitution.

Tagalog comes from the term taga-ilog which is formed from the words ‘taga,’ originating from, and ‘ilog,’ river. It later became Tagalog standing for people who originate from the river or river-dwellers. Without adding more fuss, Tagalog is the language in which Filipino, the current national language of the Philippines is based upon.

It belongs to the Astronesian group of languages where languages such as Malagasy, Indonesian, Malay, Tetum and Tao also fall under. Tagalog is closely related to the different languages of the different regions of the Philippines.


How does a person learn to speak?


Have you ever wondered how a person learns to speak? Speaking is a process that we start to develop from infancy. From the time we were born, our speech development starts. Infants, because of their interaction with their parents, or whoever is caring for them, gradually, develop understanding of the sounds they hear from their caregivers in relation to the caregivers’ facial expressions and actions. In turn, infants respond to the signals and language that they hear from their caregivers, thus speech is slowly created and formed.

In a normal development, babbling would be a part of a common procedure of a person’s language acquisition. At five to seven months, infants begin to utter some meaningless sounds. It’s because at this stage, they seem to be experimenting with language. You may hear a baby make some cooing sound or just babbling sound specially if he is in a very calm mood. Beginning at the age of 1, one or two-word utterances may be spoken by children whereby they also begin to realize that words they hear have significance. They start acquiring familiar vocabulary such as family members’ names, common objects and parts of the body.

As the baby gets older, the simple utterances become short sentences, usually, consisting of four words. Subsequently, additional vocabulary is added to the first words he uses such that he has about 200 words he can string easily to make simple sentences. He can also understand and perform simple tasks such as when told “Give the book to mama.” Normally, strangers and other individuals can understand majority of what the child is saying after the child turns 3.

Learning a language


Learning a different language may be easy to some people while to others, it is frustrating. No two persons have the same ability in learning a different language because there are many factors that influence one’s learning. But before we go into that, let us first study the basics. What is language? Language is defined as arbitrary sounds and symbols structured in a conventional way and used by people with a shared culture in communication. Therefore it is arbitrary, a matter of convention, used in communication and can either be spoken, written and may also be gestures or signs.

The study of languages is called linguistics.

Hello world!

Welcome to Tagalog Teacher. This site aims to present Survival Tagalog or Filipino in the initial part and tackle useful grammar in the latter part. Tagalog is a language widely spoken around the Philippines, but it is primarily used in the central part of Luzon. Tagalog is also the foundation for the creation of the national language of the Philippines called Filipino, a constantly evolving, dynamic language which is continuosly adapting to different influences and factors.