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Strictly speaking, Tagalog is a regional language spoken in the southern part of the Philippine islands of Luzon (including Manila, the national capital) and Mindoro. But as the official national language of the Philippine Republic, officially called Filipino or Pilipino but widely called Tagalog, it is now spoken as either first or second language by most Filipinos.

Language summary


Information from Ethnologue, 2009-08-13


Information from Ethnologue, 2009-08-13

  • ISO 639-3 code: fil
  • Spoken in: Philippines (widespread).
  • Population: 25,000,000 (2007).
  • Script: Latin script.
  • Comments: Based on Tagalog with terms from other regional languages.

Linguistic notes

Tagalog syntax is dominated by a complex system of verb-argument agreement, in which any of the verb's arguments (the "trigger" or "focus") may be selected by a verbal affix.

The morphology is rich in affixation, using prefixes, suffixes, infixes, and ambifixes for derivation in nouns, adjectives, and for derivation and inflection in verbs. Reduplication is also common.


Tagalog is written in the Roman alphabet with occasional diacritics, usually those found in Spanish (á é í ó ú ñ). The orthography corresponds closely, though not perfectly, to the segmental phonology of the language. The letters c f j ñ q v x z are generally used only in loanwords and names.

The official alphabet has been revised several times during the 20th century. The official alphabet omits c f j q v x z, adds ng (considered to be a single letter) after n, and moves k to the place of c:

a b k d e g h i l m n ng o p r s t u w y

Officially ng is to be sorted after n (natin, nila, ngalan) but in many publications it is intermixed (natin, ngalan, nila).

Linguistic resources




On web

  • SEASite: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University
    • These web pages are designed for interactive use and are not easily downloaded as a group.
    • Translation lessons: the homepage
    • Grammar very introductory, for non-linguists
  • 1998 Brisbane workshop
    Workshop on Voice and Grammatical Functions in Austronesian Languages, University of Queensland, Brisbane, July 1, 1998.
    • The introduction and two of the papers seem to have content relevant to Tagalog. [Unfortunately, the site returns "server not found".]
      • Simon Musgrave. Introduction: The problem of voice and grammatical functions in Western Austronesian languages
      • Bill Foley. Symmetrical Voice Systems and Precategoriality in Philippine Languages
      • Paul Kroeger. Nouns and Verbs in Tagalog: A Response to Foley.
  • Language Reference Guide for Tagalog
    • A brief presentation of the Tagalog language; includes grammar and spelling, punctuation, measurements and abbreviations, hyphenation, geographic distribution and character set. A very elementary introduction.


Topical word lists

Loan words
  • Santos, Hector. 1998. Katálogo ng mga Apelyidong Pilipino (Catalog of Filipino Names). 2300 Filipino surnames, 340 of them Tagalog. Separate lists of 170 Chinese-Filipino names.


Conference proceedings

  • 10-ICAL, The Tenth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics (17-20 January 2006, Palawan, Philippines), presented a number of papers on various aspects of Tagalog as well as many other other Austronesian languages.
  • AFLA 12 UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 12: Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Conference of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA). Edited by Jeffrey Heinz & Dimitris Ntelitheos.


  • Blake, Frank R. 1916. The Tagalog Verb. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 36. (1916), pp. 396-414.
  • Zuraw, Kie. 2006. Using the web as a phonological corpus: a case study from Tagalog. EACL-2006, pp. 59-66. Describes the construction of a written corpus of Tagalog from the web and how it can be used to investigate phonological phenomena. Focus is on intervocalic tapping.

Linguistic portals and bibliographies

Data Sources

Some of the sources not listed under Parallel text have some parallel material.




  • Matanglawin. Official magazine of Ateneo de Manila University.
  • The Varsitarian Official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas, approx. monthly. Filipino link for Tagalog articles in current issue.



  • Buhayin ang Tanaga! (Resurrecting The Tanaga). Traditional short poetic form.
  • Likhang LaSalle. Online publication of De La Salle University (Dasmarinas campus) students' contributions. Written in English and Tagalog Requires login.
  • PINAS. Articles, essays and pieces on Philippine literature, history and religion
  • Project Gutenberg Tagalog downloads. Some texts are also provided in English and Spanish.
  • Tinig. Compiles submissions of short stories, poetry, essays, etc. by Filipino youth. Some pieces in English, some in Tagalog, some mixed.

Parallel text



  • ABS-CBN. Website text mostly in English. Some titles are in Tagalog.
  • DZRH Love Chat. Talk after musical intro. A number of programs in Prepys' archive, in Philippine Radio category. WMV format
  • Tagalog TV (World News Network): Links to a number of sections, some in Tagalog. [Accessed 2009-08-17]


  • Pilipino Komiks. Personal blog focusing on Philippine comics. Mostly in English, but may be useful for info on the topic.


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