The word Tagalog comes from two words–taga means “from” and ilog means “river.” So tagalog refers to something–in this case, people or language–from the river.
Tagalog is a language spoken by Filipino people, though it’s not the official language of the Philippines. Much of the official language is based on Tagalog, though a native Filipino will quickly tell you there are many differences between the two languages. In general, the official Filipino language borrows more heavily from English and Spanish than Tagalog does. The Filipino people who don’t speak Tagalog may be offended if you refer to Tagalog as the official Fillipino language.
Tagalog is also spoken by small groups of people in other areas of the world. It’s an ancient, native language, filled with beauty and tradition. Many people want to learn Tagalog strictly because it’s a beautiful language. They may also want to learn Tagalog to get in touch with native roots, or because they plan to travel to areas where Tagalog is spoken.
Whatever your reasons are for wanting to learn Tagalog, you have more resources available now than in the past. A quick internet search returns several websites where you can learn Tagalog. You may even be able to order programs for more advanced study.
To whet your appetite, here are a few common English words with their Tagalog translations.
- Thank you–Salamat
- How are you?–Kamusta?
- Beautiful day!–Magandang araw! (This is also the phrase most Tagalog people use in place of our “hello”.)
- Farewell–Paalam (Or, for an informal parting, ba-bay.)
- Wait–Sandali lang
- Take care–Ingat ka
- I love you–Mahal kita
Another interesting feature of the Tagalog language is their use of the word “po” as a way of showing respect. If you’re speaking to someone older than you, or otherwise worthy of showing deference, you should add the word po at the end of your phrase. So, for instance, if you greet an elder, you would say, “Kamusta po?” instead of simply, “Kamusta?”
Learning any foreign language can be a difficult task, and Tagalog is no exception, but you’ll be rewarded for your effort by learning a beautiful language and joining in an ancient tradition.