25+ Easy Loan Words In Tagalog: Power Of Language Fusion

A smiling Filipino man in black shirt beside the Loan Words In Tagalog texts.

In the heart of Manila, Spanish words mingle with the local dialect. Surprised? Yes, the Tagalog language, one of many Philippine languages, embraces a unique blend. 

It’s a mix of native words, Spanish, English, Chinese, and even Arabic and Sanskrit loanwords. It’s actually a linguistic melting pot!

Take ‘oras,’ the Tagalog word for time. Bet you didn’t know it’s a Spanish loanword, did you? Or when a Filipino says “salamat” or thank you, that’s a nod to Arabic. 

These are mere snippets of the vast linguistic influence on Tagalog. So, are you eager to delve deeper into the rich tapestry of loan words in Tagalog? Let’s get started.

The Rich History Of Loanwords In Tagalog

Tagalog, the primary language of the Philippines, is a complex mix. It’s like a stew filled with ingredients from various cuisines. 

The chief flavor enhancers here? Loanwords. They’re foreign words that have slipped into the everyday Tagalog sentence we hear.

Look at the history of the Philippines. You’ll find it full of overseas influences. 

Spain, America, and nearby Asian neighbors all left their marks. How? Through their words. 

These words hitched a ride with merchants, missionaries, and colonizers. Then, they made a home in Tagalog.

Think of the Tagalog word ‘anak.’ It means child. But did you know its roots trace back to Malay? 

Or consider ‘sweldo.’ This Filipino word for salary is an adaptation of the Spanish word ‘sueldo.’ Amazing, right?

Every time the same particular Tagalog word is used, it carries a tale. Through them, we see how the Filipino language has danced with other tongues over time.

Tagalog words translated into these various languages show how diverse and interconnected our linguistic history is.

Let’s hear these stories and see how these foreign words became Filipino.

A photo of a Spanish woman exchanging smiles and loan words in Tagalog to a Filipina.

Spain’s Colonial Era Influence And Spanish Loanwords

Think about it. The Philippines was under Spanish rule for 300 years! 

Naturally, many Spanish words proliferated throughout the Tagalog language. Everyday items got Spanish names. 

Let’s look at a few:

  • “Kutsara”: Sounds like the Spanish’ cuchara,’ right? It means spoon in Tagalog.
  • “Mesa”: Just like in Spanish, it means table.
  • “Silya”: It’s a chair in Tagalog, borrowed from the Spanish’ silla.’
  • “Relo”: A watch or clock in Tagalog, adapted from the Spanish’ reloj.’
  • “Kuwintas”: It means necklace in Tagalog, a nod to the Spanish ’cuentas.’

American Influence And English Loanwords

The American era left its mark on the Tagalog language through many English words borrowed and adapted.

English words related to technology, governance, and modern lifestyles became a part of everyday Tagalog. 

Here are some examples of English loan words in Tagalog:

  • “Trabaho”: Tagalog for work. It’s pronounced like the Spanish ‘trabajo’ but has an American accent.
  • “Komyuter”: The word for “commuter,” highlighting the American influence on transportation.
  • “Tiket”: Borrowed from the English “ticket,” a nod to the world of travel and entertainment.

Asian Influences

Asia, our close neighbor, has also influenced Tagalog. 

Chinese, Malay, and Sanskrit each left their unique imprints. Let’s dive into this exciting mix.

Chinese Loanwords

Before the Spaniards, Chinese traders and immigrants were here. They spoke Hokkien, and their words found a home in Tagalog. 

Let’s see some examples:

  • “Suki”: A regular customer in Tagalog, it comes from Hokkien ’sio-kî.’
  • “Kongki”: Sounds like ‘kong-kî’ in Hokkien, right? It’s the word for peanut.
  • “Pansit”: Noodles in Tagalog, from the Hokkien ’pian i sit.’
  • “Mami”: Tagalog for noodle soup, borrowed from Chinese, a nod to the beloved food culture.
  • “Siomai”: A type of dumpling in Tagalog, it shows the Chinese influence on Filipino cuisine.

Sanskrit And Malay Loanwords

Ancient Philippine society had Hindu-Buddhist influences. So, several Sanskrit words made their way into Tagalog. 

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ geographical and ethnic ties with Malaysia gifted us with Malay words. 

Ready for some examples?

Sanskrit Loanwords:

  • “Dusa”: Means suffering in Tagalog. It comes from the Sanskrit word ‘duḥkha.’
  • “Guru”: A direct lift from Sanskrit, it means teacher.

Malay Loanwords:

  • “Bantay”: Guard in Tagalog, borrowed from Malay ‘bantai’.
  • “Bundok”: Mountain in Tagalog, taken from the Malay word ‘buntuk.’
  • “Utang”: Tagalog for debt, a word shared with Malay.
A photo of a smiling Muslim and a Filipino doing a high-five.

Arabic Influence And Arabic Loanwords

Islam brought Arabic words into the Tagalog language. They’re mostly used in religious and legal discussions. 

For instance:

  • “Sala”: It means sin in Tagalog. The word comes from the Arabic ’salah.’
  • “Hukom”: Borrowed from the Arabic ’hakam,’ this means judge or arbitrator in Tagalog.
  • “Hari”: The word for king in Tagalog, taken from the Arabic ’harr.’
  • “Amin”: In Tagalog, this word signifies ‘ours’ and comes from the Arabic ’amin.’
  • “Wais”: It means smart in Tagalog, derived from the Arabic ‘wise.’

The Adaptation Of Loanwords In Tagalog

Tagalog loanwords aren’t direct copies. They morph to match the Tagalog phonetic spelling and grammatical rules. 

An example? The English word ‘basketball’ becomes ‘basketbol’ in Tagalog. 

The spelling changes to suit Tagalog pronunciation. We see this in countless other loanwords too.

The Role Of Loanwords In Everyday Tagalog

Picture an everyday Tagalog conversation. Loanwords pop up everywhere. 

The word ’internet’ from English is widely used in the Philippines as ‘internét.’ 

And have you heard of “Taglish”? 

It’s an exciting fusion of Tagalog and English traditional words. 

Phrases like ‘Ano ang game plan?’ (‘What’s the game plan?’) are commonplace.

False Friends And Semantic Shifts In Tagalog Loanwords

Loanwords sometimes turn into “false friends.” 

Take the Spanish ’embarazada’ and the Tagalog ’embarasada’. 

In Spanish, it means ‘pregnant.’ In Tagalog, it means ‘embarrassed.’ 

Then we have semantic shifts, where loanwords change meaning over time. 

The word ‘salvage’ in English means to save. 

But in Tagalog, it refers to extrajudicial killing, a grim reminder of the dark martial law era.

Continual Evolution Of Tagalog Vocabulary

New loanwords constantly enrich Tagalog vocabulary

Take ‘selfie,’ for example, a word born in the era of smartphones. In Tagalog, it’s ‘selpi’. 

Global culture, including the rise of social media, adds more flavor to the language. 

The language evolves, reflecting the ever-changing world we live in.

Learn Loan Words In Tagalog With Ling!

Tagalog’s rich tapestry of loanwords sure is interesting, isn’t it? Now it’s time to immerse yourself further, and Ling is here to guide you.

See, the Ling app is more than just an app. It’s your language-learning companion. 

Offering access to over 60 languages, including Tagalog, the Ling app provides fun lessons, engaging quizzes, and real-life dialogues.

Want to get a grip on the unique mix of native and loan words in Tagalog? The Ling app has your back. 

It’s designed to make learning these words a breeze!

What’s stopping you? Get it on Google Play and App Store now. 

Kickstart your Tagalog adventure with us!

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