If learning Tagalog isn’t on your radar as one of the most helpful languages to speak, it should be. More than 50 million Filipinos speak Tagalog as a first or second language, and the standardized form of Tagalog, called Filipino, is the national language of the Philippines. There are twenty-two million speakers of Tagalog in the Philippines—with large populations who speak the language in Canada, Guam, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, more than 1.6 million people speak Tagalog, making it one of the most widely spoken languages besides English. According to research, it is the fifth most commonly spoken non-English language in American households, ranking just behind Spanish, French, Chinese, and Hindi.
Useful Tagalog phrases and expressions
Tagalog can be incredibly approachable for the average learner simply because it adapts quite a bit of vocabulary from both English and Spanish. The language is part of the Austronesian language family and is influenced not only by Spanish and English, but also Chinese, Malay, Arabic, and Persian. It’s important though to differentiate Tagalog from Filipino. While the language can sometimes be referred to as Filipino, it is not the same language. Filipino is the standardized version of the Tagalog adapted from dialects spoken around Manilla and injected with a heavy dose of Spanish and English vocabulary.
Here are some common Tagalog words and phrases to get your started:
- Hello (informal) = Musta
- Hello (formal) = Kumusta
- What is your name? (informal) = Anong pangalan mo?
- What is your name? (formal) = Ano po ang pangalan nila?
- Nice to meet you = Kinagagalak kong makilala ka
- Good morning (informal) = Magandang umaga
- Good morning (formal) = Magandang umaga po
- Thank you (informal) = Salamat
- Thank you (formal) = Salamat po
Rosetta Stone will help you build confidence in speaking and understanding Tagalog. Whether you’re a beginner, or an intermediate speaker looking to advance your fluency, Rosetta Stone can help. With an immersive approach that focuses on contextualizing learning, Rosetta Stone uses an award-winning mobile app to deliver bite-sized lessons that help you learn Tagalog anytime and anywhere.
There are a number of characteristics of Tagalog that make it an attractive language to learn for beginners. In addition to many similarities in vocabulary between English and Tagalog, the language is non-tonal and contains a fairly small number of pronunciations that cause a difference in a word’s meaning. Tagalog has five vowels and 18 consonants, and syllables that follow a simple and straightforward structure. Most Tagalog syllables are open, meaning they end either in a vowel, or they end in /m, n, ŋ/. And Tagalog nouns don’t vary based on case or number. What’s more, just a few nouns, mostly those that originated with the Spanish language, are gendered nouns.
But instead of focusing in on the structure of the Tagalog language, it’s recommended that new language learners first work to become comfortable with the sounds and pronunciations of the Tagalog language. In Tagalog pronunciation, the stress falls on either the last or next-to-last syllable of a word, and this pronunciation is paired with a lengthening of the vowel. Once you’ve become familiar with the basic sounds of Tagalog pronunciation, you’ll be able to move on to learning longer phrases and more complicated concepts, as you work to become comfortable and confident understanding and speaking in Tagalog.
Developing the ability to properly pronounce Tagalog requires that you receive immediate feedback. This real-time feedback will allow you to make timely corrections to your pronunciation. Rosetta Stone helps you get the pronunciation right in a snap with our TruAccent™ speech engine. TruAccent compares your voice to native and non-native speakers—in real-time—so you get the feedback you need for the most accurate pronunciation. It’s also adjustable, which allows you to tweak your accent as needed. TruAccent is a powerful tool for helping you learn and speak the Spanish language.
Once you have acquired basic words, short phrases, and their pronunciation, you will be able to make the transition to learning longer Tagalog phrases that make up much of real-world, everyday conversation. Rosetta Stone’s brief and digestible, 10-minute language lessons are designed to help you learn in just this way—first teaching the basic words and short phrases, then teaching longer phrases, and always emphasizing proper pronunciation. Rosetta Stone language lessons will help you acquire the skills you need to comfortably understand and confidently speak in Tagalog.
Try our award-winning app
Surround yourself with Filipino (Tagalog) whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app.
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.