Solving The #1 Mystery: Should I Learn Tagalog Or Filipino?

How come the Philippine archipelago has many languages? Well, we’ve given you a clue! It’s a massive island with many inhabitants speaking their native tongue. You’ll find at least eight major Philippine Languages, complete with dialects spoken in various parts of the country. But Filipino and Tagalog are both widely spoken languages in the Philippines. Should I learn Tagalog or Filipino? Let’s clear up the similarities and differences between these two languages.

It’s not surprising that many people want to learn more about the Philippines. Apart from the amazing smiles and the tight-knit feeling of camaraderie you’ll get from the Filipinos, its language is one of the most influential and widely spread native languages in the world. But how hard is it to learn Tagalog?

According to the US Foreign Service Institute (FSI), English speakers will need 1,100 hours to master the Tagalog language fully. It’s categorized as one of the most complex languages in the world and ranked as Category III, along with Polish, HungarianThaiAlbanian, and more.

As a Spanish speaker, you’ll be more comfortable learning Tagalog or Filipino as they share cognates. The early Filipino generation understood Tagalog words as they used the exact Spanish words. But native English speakers can also Learn Filipino or Tagalog easily. English is actually one of the two official languages of the Philippines other than Filipino.

Today, only a fraction of Filipinos use deep Tagalog vocabulary, as Filipino is widely spoken in the Philippines. It’s even more known in Visayas and Mindanao too!

So stop asking yourself, “should I learn Tagalog or Filipino?” and let’s uncover what shapes basic Tagalog vocabulary to Filipino words and phrases.


How Did The Filipino Language Came To Be?

Tagalog was one of the official languages of the Philippines due to how many prominent figures like Rizal and respected government authorities used it before. However, it still was a local language in Luzon, and not many Filipino people understood Tagalog or its vocabulary.

Today, Filipino is the official language of the Philippines. It was decided that Filipino should be the standardized form of Tagalog due to many Filipinos not understanding this language. Filipino became the main language of the Philippines in 1987 under the 1987 constitution replacing Pilipino.

The Filipino language is the primary language in government offices, educational curriculums, signages, sports, news, and casual conversations. Moreover, Filipino is mutually intelligible with Tagalog. You’ll most likely see a native speaker of Tagalog and Filipino simultaneously switching these two languages. Hence, you might try learning Tagalog first before fully understanding Filipino. Yet, they’re not entirely different, unlike when you try to learn Bisaya, Chavacano, Hiligaynon, or other Philippine languages.


Who Still Uses The Tagalog Language?

Did you know that Tagalog actually came from the Austronesian Language family? The word Tagalog is an endonym from the words “taga” and “ilog” which, put together, mean taga-ilog or river dweller. Most inhabitants of areas in the Philippines, like Bataan, Batangas, Metro Manila, Camarines Norte, and so on, speak Tagalog as part of their mother tongue. However, as families spread throughout the country, Tagalog became their second language.

Almost 20 million people have Tagalog as their native language worldwide. The majority of Tagalog speakers are also found in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, many parts of the Middle East, Hawaii, Guam, Canada, London, New Zealand, South Korea, and more. Without a doubt, you can practice Tagalog (or even Filipino) as you’ll meet Filipinos everywhere. So what’s stopping you from learning this widely spoken language?


What’s The Difference Between Tagalog And Filipino?

Should I learn Tagalog or Filipino which to learn

Before you scratch your head and say you don’t know the difference, we’re here to clarify it for you. The national language of the Philippines is Filipino. But it wasn’t until that Filipinos switched from using the Tagalog language as their lingua franca to the standardized form, the Filipino language.

Want to learn Tagalog or Filipino? How do you know which one to choose? Here are the similarities and differences when studying any of these Philippine languages.

Similarities And Differences In Tagalog And Filipino Grammar

  • Tagalog was the native language of the Philippines until 1935, but it became the official language in 1946.
  • The Filipino language became the official language in 1987, along with English.
  • Tagalog modifies many English, Malay, Chinese, and Spanish words to form its own Tagalog words.
  • Tagalog is seen more as an archaic language, while Filipino modernizes syntax, phonology,
  • Tagalog is the foundation of Filipino. On the other hand, Filipino is the standardized form of Tagalog.
  • Both Tagalog and Filipino use Verb-Subject-Object (VSO) sentence patterns.
  • Tagalog and Filipino alphabet use letters in the Latin alphabet.
  • You’ll find many cognates and borrowed words in Tagalog and Filipino if you speak English.

Words And Phrases That Are Different In Tagalog And Filipino

You’ll find many words and phrases in Tagalog and Filipino that share the same meaning. But, for beginners, these words may seem unique or even dissimilar. That is because most of these words have different spelling or even a whole separate vocabulary. In which other language does mutual intelligibility happen? Brazilian and European Portuguese, Spanish and Latin America, Afrikaans and Dutch. In fact, many Chinese words may appear in the Japanese or Korean context. Sometimes the difference is a letter or two. Sometimes there are separate words that will entirely change what they were meant for their reference language.

You’ll notice right away that Tagalog or Filipino has the same Spanish word. Even Romance language speakers of French, Italian, or Portuguese will see cognates regardless of whether they are false cognates.

Make Tagalog your second language and become familiar with both subtle and significant changes in the letters and words.

FilipinoTagalogEnglish Translation
Kumusta ka?Kamusta ka?How are you?
NaisNaisinTo Want/To Wish
ChorizoSorisoPork sausage
IrekomendaMagpayoTo Recommend
IstriktoMahigpitTo be strict
KawaniEmpleyado sa OpisinaEmployee

Want to know more Tagalog words and phrases? First, you’ll have to learn the techniques for learning Tagalog faster if you’re going to meet more Filipino friends. Surround yourself with native Filipino speakers and avoid using an app for Tagalog translation. Another key point in becoming fluent is learning Tagalog grammar as you go through the different language levels. It’s beneficial to read Tagalog books and newspapers, watch Filipino movies, and listen to Original Pinoy Music (OPM) to really immerse yourself in your language learning.


Which One Should I Learn, Tagalog Or Filipino?

Are you still confused about what new language you want to learn? We’ve already shown you the differences and similarities between these significant languages of the Philippines. You’ve also seen how much of this vocabulary changes through spelling or is an entirely different word that may seem like a new language.

The majority of language learners choose Tagalog because it’s spoken worldwide, and most Filipinos still use Tagalog as their own language when communicating. On the other hand, Filipino is the national language of the Philippines. For serious language learners, it’s a lingua franca that’s quite important to study, especially if one is interested in expanding their knowledge in Southeast Asia or exploring more Austronesian languages.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. You can learn deep Tagalog words, basic Tagalog, or the new Filipino language or choose the same language. The best news is that an app allows you to learn other languages without paying so much. Want to learn more? Make the right choice in learning a new language with Ling!


Learn Tagalog With The Ling App

Should I learn Tagalog or Filipino by Ling app

No matter if it’s one or two languages you’re going to learn, the wisest choice is to immerse yourself in your target language. You can do this by listening to podcasts, talking with native speakers of your target language online, or even traveling to that country. Frequently, people think that you have to spend so much time, money, and effort when learning the language you desire so much. But there’s a free way to speak more than your first language. With Ling, you’ll discover 200+ lessons in 60+ choices that you’ll find in Southeast Asian, African, American, Oceanian, or European languages.

Language enthusiasts can also discover other languages with this efficient app. Speak Tagalog fluently and become a master of languages with Ling. You can practice your Tagalog pronunciation when downloading Ling on your Android or iOS phone. Embrace Filipino culture, learn Tagalog, and talk to native speakers now!

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