Learn Listen Speak
Basic Tagalog phrases

Even if you only to learn a few key Tagalog expressions, it is useful to know that Tagalog has been influenced by both Spanish and English.

This can give you a headstart in learning Tagalog words fast:)

And if you want to know why there are Spanish and English loanwords in Tagalog, then read on for a very condensed history lesson.

Spain colonised (or occupied depending on your point of view) the Philippines in 1565. Spanish colonialism ended in 1898 with Spain's defeat by the Americans, who then colonised (or occupied ...) the Philippines. As a result of this Spanish was an official language during the centuries of Spanish rule. In fact, it remained as one of the official languages until 1973. As American rule replaced Spanish rule, English not surprisingly started to replace Spanish.

Although not obvious from these basic phrases, the Filipino language has many words of Spanish origin (up to 33%), and speaking Spanish will help you guess at some meanings. The wiki gives a few examples. Closer to home, the Tagalog Days on Surface languages very strongly show the earlier Spanish influence.

The Philippines become independent in 1946. Despite the relatively short period of American rule, English had become entrenched as a dominant second language for various factors. It can be seen that on the one side there was a long history of Spanish being spoken in the Philippines, and on the other a cultural shift towards English.

English (reflecting the history of the Philippines) after Spanish makes up second largest foreign vocabulary in Tagalog, which as an English speaker will give you a head start in expanding on a basic vocabulary. See the wiki entry for examnples.

Regardless of the reasons these extra words are useful for English (and Spanish) speakers who want to expand their Tagalog phrases rapidly.


See also First words in Tagalog. 2 and holiday phrases.

An entire video on how to say hello in Tagalog. It includes the fact (see above) that kumuste (hello) is derived from the Spanish como esta.