History Of The Tagalog Language: 9 Amazing Facts

History Of The Tagalog Language Ling App

The history of the Tagalog language is one of the most complex ones out of all the languages in Southeast Asia due to its history. In fact, some linguists believe that Chinese, Spanish, and English have influenced the whole system since the Philippines is one of the countries where international trades usually happen because of its location.

However, today, Filipinos speak Filipino as an official language, and Tagalog has directly shaped this one. So, if you want to learn the Tagalog language, this post is for you! Let’s get started.

What Is The Origin Of The Word Tagalog?

The Tagalog word is known to be derived from taga-ilog, which means river settlers in English. People who first used the Tagalog language were from the regions Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon (which is collectively known as CALABARZON), Marinduque, Mindoro, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Paracale, Camarines Norte and Metro Manila.

What Is The History Of The Tagalog Language?

Where did Tagalog come from?

The Tagalog language has existed for thousands of years, but no documents or archeological evidence directly confirm the earliest sources of it. No one exactly knows its origin, but theories suggest that many of its features were influenced by Sanskrit. Additionally, it was initially written using the Baybayin writing system.

Historical data also shows that aside from Sanskrit, Tagalog was also from the Malayo-Polynesian race (mostly people from Taiwan). That is why it is now part of the Austronesian language family.

The initial development of the Tagalog words and grammar structures can be linked to the Malays and Chinese influences. However, the Spanish and American colonization also brought about major changes.

History Of The Tagalog Language Ling App Spanish Influence

The Spanish Influence In The History Of The Tagalog Language

In the 16th century, the Philippines was officially known to the world as a country under the colonial power of Spain. Due to its strategic location, the tropical country was seen as a paradise. So, several powerful countries wanted to claim it. The Philippines is a major trade route for the spice trade, and it is pretty close to powerful countries like China and Japan. With this being said, the country has been under the Spanish government for over 333 years. So, it is no surprise how much influence Spain has over the culture, language, and way of living of the Filipinos.

During this time, Tagalog was viewed as a “commoner’s language.” And you have to learn Spanish to transact with the government and fit into society. Aside from the massive use of the Spanish language, the writing system also changed to the Roman alphabet. To accommodate everyone and ensure Filipinos understand every government policy, most of the announcements are written in both Spanish and Tagalog language using the Roman alphabet and Tagalog characters.

Even today, some of the Spanish words are part of the official Tagalog loan words and are still being used today.

History Of The Tagalog Language Ling App The American Influence

The American Influence In The History Of The Tagalog Language

The Americans came to ‘rescue’ the Philippines just before the 19th century and held the country for about 40 years. During this time, English was introduced, and it was grasped by Filipinos as the main medium for teaching. Then, seeing that many were fluent and comfortable with the English language, the country’s official language was declared next to Filipino in the 1935 constitution.

The State Of The Philippine National Languages Today

May it be in written or spoken discourse, Spanish and English remain present in the Philippines’s modern world. Even the names today are still borrowed from Spanish-sounding ones like Manuel, Angelito, or Garcia. The borrowed words are also still widely spoken, and there are even groups who can speak Chavacano, a Spanish-based creole language of the Philippines.

At some point, Filipinos have even created Taglish, which is a unique combination of Tagalog-English words. For example, instead of plainly saying, “I’m going to the mall to buy some fruits,” the Taglish speakers may say, “pupunta ako ng mall to make bili some fruits.”

History Of The Tagalog Language Ling App The National Language Of The Philippines

Frequently Asked Questions About The History Of The Tagalog Language

How Old Is The Tagalog Language?

Historians say that Tagalog dates back around 1,000 years ago, and was used by the natives of ethnic Tagalog for communication. It was used as an official language in the Philippines for 30 years. Tagalog was approved as the official language in 1937 by then-President Manuel L. Quezon. It was then replaced by Filipino in 1987.

Does Tagalog Have Spanish Roots?

Tagalog is not at all closely related to the Spanish language. In fact, it is mostly related to the Austronesian language. Although the Tagalog evolved borrowed some Spanish words, it was only done after their colonization. This language existed years before the Spanish influence.

Is Tagalog A Tonal Language?

The direct answer is no. It is not a tonal language. However, it does have another caveat that many language learners find hard to study. A simple change in the melody or pronunciation of the Tagalog word may change its meaning.

The Ling app has an extensive explanation of the question, “Is Tagalog a Tonal Language?” So, language enthusiasts, you know what to do next!

What Are Some Interesting Facts About Tagalog Language?

Some of you may even find it hard to study. But there are many benefits of learning the Tagalog language, especially its history. Below are 9 facts you need to know about the languages of the Philippines, especially if you want to master Tagalog.

Taga-Ilog: The River Root of Tagalog

As mentioned earlier, the word Tagalog was derived from taga-ilog term which means ‘from the river.’ This reflects the significant role that rivers played in Philippine society. These waterways were central to transportation, commerce, and social interactions, hence the emergence of a language named after them. While it’s unclear which river is being referred to, certain documents suggest that the Pasig River in the Philippines is a high contender.

Taglish: A Local Bilingual Blend

English is the second language of the Filipino locals, so there’s no surprise as to why locals often use Taglish, a natural code-switching when the exact translation becomes elusive. This linguistic crossover is a testament to the affordance and flexibility of the Tagalog language. It is even said that Taglish is the unofficial language of the Philippines!

Spanish Has A Huge Influence In Tagalog Vocabulary

Although it may not be directly related or even the closest language to Tagalog, Spanish has had its many years in the Philippines. As a lasting effect of the Spanish colonial period, many Spanish words have found their way into the Tagalog language. Many of the Spanish loanwords have been fully integrated as Tagalog counterparts, with some words simply modified in spelling, yet retaining their original meaning over the years.

Baybayin Is Being Revived

The Philippine script, known as Baybayin, is experiencing a revival by millennials today. Forefronts of this movement can be seen in places like the Lagusnilad in Manila, where Baybayin graces the signage. It’s resurgence, especially among young people, helps pass on a unique piece of Philippine history to future generations.

The Global Reach Of The Filipino Language

Oover 24 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) use the Filipino language even outside the country. In fact, Tagalog is one of the most widely scattered languages globally. This is the reason why many citizens from the United States and Arab countries are also keen on learning how to speak Tagalog.

Tagalog Has A Connection To Proto-Malayo-Polynesian Languages

Tagalog traces its roots back to the Proto-Malayo-Polynesian language (one of the Austronesian languages), with over 100 Tagalog terms derived from it. This connection to an array of regional languages underscores the diverse linguistic influences that helped form, shape, and pronunciation of the Tagalog language.

Filipino Is The Updated Version Of Tagalog

Filipino is considered a modernized Tagalog. Predominantly used by the younger generation, this shows the evolving nature of languages and how they adapt to meet the changing needs of their speakers.

Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere Is A Silent Protest

Instead of using Tagalog, the iconic work Noli me Tangere by Jose Rizal was written in Spanish. This choice was made deliberately to expose the suffering inflicted by the Spanish government unanimously, showing how language can be a powerful tool for political and social commentary.

Learning Tagalog Is Easy

Last but not least, learning Tagalog is easy! You have to use the right tools and learning courses. In today’s digital world, we have unprecedented resources to explore and understand the wealth of cultures out there. Take the Ling app, for instance. It’s designed to make language learning accessible and enjoyable. These resources are downloadable on your Apple and Android devices.

What Makes The Tagalog Language Amazing?

Whenever you think about the Philippines, what usually comes to mind are the Instagram-worthy attractions, unique Tagalog delicacies, and perhaps the obsession of the Filipinos about beauty pageants. But, aside from all those, the Philippines is unique because it is one of the countries in the world with a huge number of local dialects and languages. Approximately, there are about 120 to 175 distinct languages and dialects of the Philippines today representing every single region in the country!

Reigning supreme out of all of them is Tagalog which is mainly spoken in central and southern Luzon and some of the closest islands. 20 million people speak it, and it is considered the first-ever language that most native Filipinos used back in the day. Let’s get to know more about this in the next section below.

What Is The National Language Of The Philippines: Tagalog Or Filipino?

While Tagalog is closely related, the national language of the Philippines is still Filipino and English. Filipino is based on Tagalog and other languages spoken in the archipelago like Ilokano, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, etc.

As you probably noticed, Tagalog is an ethnic language and is basically from Southern Luzon (Metro Manila). Therefore, it is not true that everyone from the country knows how to speak Tagalog, but most people know the Filipino language. In terms of the alphabet, the Filipino is made of 28 letters, and 20 of those came from Tagalog while the extra letters are English and Spanish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.