What Is The Closest Language To Tagalog? #1 Best Answer

A girl asking herself what is the closest language to tagalog.

Are you interested in learning about the Philippines and its rich linguistic heritage? With over 180 languages spoken in the country, it’s no wonder the Philippines is often referred to as one of the most linguistically diverse places in the world. But among these languages, there is one that stands out – Tagalog. So, what’s the deal with it? And what is the closest language to Tagalog? Keep reading to find out!

Basically, Tagalog is a native language of the Philippines and a member of the Central Philippine branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family spoken by millions across the country. It’s also the basis for the official language, which is Filipino. Since this dialect is so widespread, many other dialects in the country are also significantly influenced by the Tagalog language.

Curious to learn more? Let’s dive deeper into this topic in the sections below!

Philippine Languages And Their Relationship To Tagalog

The Philippines is home to various vocabularies belonging to the Austronesian languages, one of the world’s most prominent language families. This includes Malaysia, Indonesia, and many other countries in the Pacific and Indian Regions. But how does this relate to Tagalog? 

Well, it turns out that many of the languages spoken in the Philippines are closely related to Tagalog in terms of mutual intelligibility. This means that speakers of these languages can easily understand each other, despite some differences in grammar and vocabulary. Here are some examples of Philippine languages that are closely related to Tagalog:

  • Ilocano: spoken in the northern Philippines, primarily in the Ilocos region.
  • Kapampangan: spoken in Central Luzon, particularly in the province of Pampanga.
  • Bicolano: spoken in the Bicol region, located in the southeast of Luzon.
  • Waray: spoken in the Eastern Visayas region, particularly in the provinces of Leyte and Samar.
  • Pangasinan (Pangasinense): spoken in the Pangasinan province in the northern Philippines.

Although each language has unique characteristics and regional dialects, they are often considered dialects of a larger language group, referred to as the Central Philippine language group.

So what is the closest language to Tagalog? Let’s find out.

Closest Language To Tagalog

Introducing Cebuano, “one” of the closest languages to Tagalog! Although used uncommonly as a literary language, Cebuano is spoken by millions across the Philippines, particularly in the Visayas region. The two languages share many similarities in terms of grammar and vocabulary, but there are also some differences. For example, Cebuano has more Spanish loanwords than Tagalog, while Tagalog terms were borrowed from other languages.

But despite these differences, speakers of Cebuano and Tagalog can easily understand each other. This makes Cebuano an essential language in the Philippines and a testament to the country’s linguistic diversity.

Southeast Asian friends learning Tagalog with Ling app.

Cebuano may be the closest language to Tagalog, but it’s not the only one. Other local languages spoken in the Philippines are closely related to Tagalog, including Hiligaynon, Bicolano, Ilocano, Waray, and Pangasinan. For example, like Tagalog, Hiligaynon has a complex verbal system and uses particles for aspect and mood. On the other hand, Bicol has many loanwords from Spanish, just like Cebuano.

Influence Of Other Southeast Asian Languages On Tagalog

Have you heard of Malaysian and Indonesian? These two languages spoken in Southeast Asia are closely related to Tagalog as well. Both of these languages have been heavily influenced by Sanskrit, Arabic, and Portuguese, among other languages. This has led to unique vocabulary and grammar development, similar to Tagalog.

Despite these differences, there are still many similarities between Tagalog, Malaysian, and Indonesian. For example, the three languages share many of the same words, making it easier for speakers of these languages to understand each other even if the exact words differ.


This goes to show just how diverse and interconnected the languages of Southeast Asia are. And it’s not just Tagalog and the Philippines that are affected – other languages in the region, such as Malay and Javanese, are also heavily influenced by these Southeast Asian languages.

Students from various countries speaking in different languages.

The Influence Of Spanish And English On Tagalog

Did you know that Spanish and English have played a significant role in shaping the Tagalog language? 

During the Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines from the 15th to the late 18th century, Spanish became the official spoken language used for administration, education, and religious purposes. This caused many Spanish words to be incorporated into the Tagalog language, particularly in areas with a high concentration of Spanish speakers.

In fact, even today, you can still see the influence of Spanish in Tagalog words like “banyo” (bathroom), “lampara” (lamp), and “mesa” (table).

But the Spanish rule wasn’t the only one to leave its mark on Tagalog. The American colonial rule in 1899 also impacted, as the English language was introduced in the Philippines as a medium of instruction in schools. This led to incorporating of many English words into the Tagalog language, mainly in technology, science, and politics.

So, if you’re learning Tagalog, don’t be surprised if you come across some words that look or sound familiar!

Tagalog As A Lingua Franca

Have you ever been to the National Capital Region, Metro Manila? If so, you may have noticed that Tagalog is widely used in the region as a lingua franca or a common language.

Why is Tagalog so essential in Metro Manila? Well, it’s because the region is home to a diverse array of people, many of whom come from different linguistic backgrounds. By using Tagalog as a common language, people can effectively communicate with each other, regardless of their origins.

The use of Tagalog as a lingua franca in Metro Manila has dramatically affected the linguistic diversity in the Philippines. While it has helped to bring people together, it has also led to the marginalization of some of the country’s less widely spoken languages.

Android and/or IOS phone with Ling app installed.

Learn The Filipino Language With Ling App

So what is the closest language to Tagalog? We already know that Tagalog is the boss in the Philippines, is part of the Austronesian language family, and was heavily influenced by Spanish and English. Cebuano is the closest sib, but other Philippine languages like Ilocano, Bikolano, Waray, and Pangasinan are also related. And don’t forget, Malaysian and Indonesian are also part of the Tagalog squad in Southeast Asia!

Ready to explore the world of Tagalog and other Philippine languages? Check out Ling! Our app is dedicated to making language-learning fun and accessible. With interactive games, the latest language content, and more, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in a new language right from your phone. Begin your language adventure by downloading Ling on App Store and Google Play now!

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