Like learning any foreign language, mastering Tagalog requires time and effort. So, if you’re wondering how long does it take to learn Tagalog, the answer depends on your enthusiasm for learning and the actions you’re willing to take to achieve results. Let me guide you through the process of learning more about the Tagalog language.
Mabuhay! It’s a Tagalog word that translates to “live,” but when used as a greeting, it conveys “welcome” or “cheers.”
So, “mabuhay” to your first lessons in expanding your Tagalog vocabulary and learning the language spoken by most Filipinos. To avoid confusion, it’s essential to note that Filipino is the national language of the Philippines. However, the term is often used interchangeably with Tagalog, which specifically refers to the people living in the region of Luzon and their dialect.
Tagalog is the most widely spoken language in the archipelago, with an estimated native-speaker population of over 80 million. It also ranks among the most spoken languages in Asia.
As more Filipinos migrate, travel, or work in different parts of the globe, they bring their language with them. Consequently, Tagalog has spread its usage to countries where Filipinos frequently visit, including the U.S., the Middle East, Europe, and beyond.
The Constitution of the Philippines emphasizes the importance of its national language in promoting unity and identity. It is used in conversations, cultural expressions, and various forms of arts and media.
How Long Does It Take To Learn Tagalog
Learning Basic-Level Tagalog
Timeline: For beginners with no prior knowledge of Tagalog, achieving a basic level of proficiency may take approximately 3 to 6 months of regular study and practice. At this level, learners can understand and use simple phrases, engage in basic conversations, and grasp essential vocabulary and grammar.
The Tagalog language predominantly employs the basic Latin alphabet’s ISO, with the addition of ng and ñ. As a beginner, you can start with simple words or questions, such as asking people how they are. Additionally, try familiarizing yourself with common Tagalog words used for expressions, greetings, body parts, days, numbers, and more.
If you are in the Philippines and your native language is English, finding someone to converse with won’t be difficult. The first step in learning more Tagalog words, phrases, and their usage is by speaking with native speakers as often as possible. If you commit an hour each day to a Tagalog lesson and are already fluent in English, it will take about 200 hours to achieve basic fluency.
Learning Intermediate-Level Tagalog
Timeline: To reach an intermediate level of Tagalog proficiency, learners may need around 6 months to 1 year of consistent learning. At this stage, learners can hold more complex conversations, understand native speakers at a reasonable pace, and express themselves with a wider range of vocabulary and grammar structures.
After you’ve mastered the basics, understanding more advanced usage of the words and phrases you’ve learned will become easier. At the intermediate level, you will expand your vocabulary, including conjugation and grammatical tenses.
The goal at this stage is to express yourself more effectively when sharing your experiences or describing actions to a native speaker. It’s also crucial to start memorizing the proper pronunciation of the words.
In addition to formal lessons, make sure to engage in frequent conversations with native speakers. Reading Filipino books or watching movies and shows with subtitles can also be helpful. To reach the intermediate level, expect to invest around 300 hours if you consistently do your homework.
Learning Advanced-Level Tagalog
Timeline: Achieving an advanced level of proficiency in Tagalog typically requires 1 to 2 years or more of intensive study and immersion. At this level, learners can communicate fluently, understand colloquial expressions, and participate in various contexts, such as professional settings or cultural discussions.
To reach the advanced phase of learning Tagalog, it is advisable to have a tutor or take formal lessons. While books and shows can aid in grasping the correct usage of words and phrases, having someone who can correct your mistakes and provide feedback on your progress will be even more beneficial.
Achieving the advanced level of the language typically requires approximately 600 hours of dedicated learning and regular practice.
Commonly Asked Questions About Learning Tagalog
Now that you have an idea of how long it will take to learn the language let’s address some frequently asked questions related to the process:
Can I Learn Tagalog By Myself?
Yes, you can! You can achieve this by frequently interacting with native speakers, reading books, or watching movies and shows with subtitles. Additionally, language translation apps like Ling can be useful for practicing the language whenever you want.
Is Tagalog Difficult To Learn?
It can be, especially for native English speakers. However, nothing is impossible with dedication and commitment to learning the language.
How Fast Can I Learn Tagalog?
With regular practice and consistently learning more words, phrases, and their usage, you can progress beyond the intermediate level in 3 to 4 years.
How Many Hours Do You Need To Learn Tagalog?
According to research from the Foreign Service Institute, the U.S. government center for foreign language learning, learning Tagalog takes up to 1100 hours. This is because it falls under a category III language, meaning it’s considered more challenging to learn compared to Spanish, French, or Italian.
Is Tagalog Worth Learning?
Absolutely! Learning something new, whether it’s a hobby, sport, or language, is always worth the effort. Apart from adding another language to your skills, learning Tagalog will be beneficial if you plan to travel to the Philippines. It will make it easier to navigate the place, interact with locals, and make the most of your stay.
Is It Too Late To Learn Tagalog?
No. You can learn anything, including Tagalog, regardless of age, as long as you put your heart into it.
Speed Up Learning Tagalog With Ling!
Now you can have a buddy in learning the Filipino language and a host of other languages, including Spanish, Serbian, Japanese, English, Khmer, and more, thanks to Ling, a language learning application that makes the process easy and enjoyable.
The app is designed to help learners retain new words and phrases through interactive activities and games. Wondering how long it takes to learn Tagalog? With the Ling app, the process will undoubtedly be faster and more efficient.