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English to Tagalog Word Dictionary

English Tagalog
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adorn ~ maggayak.



Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines by about 22 million people. It is related to such languages as Indonesian, Malay, Fijian, Maori (of New Zealand), Hawaiian, Malagasy (of Madagascar), Samoan, Tahitian, Chamorro (of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands), Tetum (of East Timor), and Paiwan (of Taiwan). It is the lingua franca of the Philippines' Region IV (CALABARZON and MIMAROPA) and is the basis for the national and the official language of the Philippines, Filipino.


The word Tagalog derived from tagailog, from tagá- meaning 'native of' and ílog meaning 'river.' Thus, it means 'river dweller.' Very little is known about the history of the language. However, according to linguists such as Dr. David Zorc and Dr. Robert Blust, the Tagalogs originated, along with their Central Philippine cousins, from Northeastern Mindanao or Eastern Visayas.

The first written record of Tagalog is in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, written in the year 900 and uses fragments of the language along with Sanskrit, Malay, and Javanese. Meanwhile, the first known book to be written in Tagalog is the Doctrina Cristiana (Christian Doctrine) of 1593. It was written in Spanish and two versions of Tagalog; one written in the Baybayin script and the other in the Latin alphabet. Throughout the 333 years of Spanish occupation, there were grammar and dictionaries written by Spanish clergymen such as Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala by Pedro de San Buenaventura (Pila, Laguna, 1613), Vocabulario de la lengua tagala (1835) and Arte de la lengua tagala y manual tagalog para la administración de los Santos Sacramentos (1850). Poet Francisco Baltazar (1788–1862) is regarded as the foremost Tagalog writer. His most famous work is the early 19th-century Florante at Laura.

Tagalog and Filipino

In 1937, Tagalog was selected as the basis of the national language of the Philippines by the National Language Institute. In 1939, Manuel L. Quezon named the national language 'Wikang Pambansâ' ('National Language'). Twenty years later, in 1959, it was renamed by the Secretary of Education, Jose Romero, as Pilipino to give it a national rather than ethnic label and connotation. The changing of the name did not, however, result in acceptance at the conscious level among non-Tagalogs, especially Cebuanos who had not accepted the selection.

In 1971, the language issue was revived once more, and a compromise solution was worked out a 'universalist' approach to the national language, to be called Filipino rather than Pilipino. When a new constitution was drawn up in 1987, it named Filipino as the national language. The constitution specified that as the Filipino language evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.


Tagalog is a Central Philippine language within the Austronesian language family. Being Malayo-Polynesian, it is related to other Austronesian languages such as Javanese, Indonesian, Malay, Fijian, Maori (of New Zealand), Hawaiian, Malagasy (of Madagascar), Samoan, Tahitian, Chamorro (of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands), Tetum (of East Timor), and Paiwan (of Taiwan). It is closely related to the languages spoken in the Bicol and Visayas regions such as Bikol and the Visayan group including Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, and Cebuano.

Languages that have made significant contributions to Tagalog are Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Sanskrit, Old Malay, Chinese, Javanese, Japanese, and Tamil.


At present, no comprehensive dialectology has been done in the Tagalog-speaking regions, though there have been descriptions in the form of dictionaries and grammars on various Tagalog dialects. Ethnologue lists Lubang, Manila, Marinduque, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Tanay-Paete, and Tayabas as dialects of Tagalog. However, there appear to be four main dialects of which the aforementioned are a part; Northern (exemplified by the Bulacan dialect), Central (including Manila), Southern (exemplified by Batangas), and Marinduque.

Some example of dialectal differences are:

* Many Tagalog dialects, particularly those in the south, preserve the glottal stop found after consonants and before vowels. This has been lost in standard Tagalog. For example standard Tagalog ngayon (now, today), sinigang (broth stew), gabi (night), matamis (sweet), are pronounced and written ngay-on, sinig-ang, gab-i, and matam-is in other dialects.
* In Teresian-Morong Tagalog, [r] is usually preferred over [d]. For example, bundók, dagat, dingdíng, and isdâ become bunrok, ragat, ringring, and isra, as well as their expression seen in some signages like 'sandok sa dingding' was changed to 'sanrok sa ringring'.
* In many southern dialects, the progressive aspect prefix of -um- verbs is na-. For example, standard Tagalog kumakain (eating) is nákáin in Quezon and Batangas Tagalog. This is the butt of some jokes by other Tagalog speakers since a phrase such as nakain ka ba ng pating is interpreted as 'did a shark eat you?' by those from Manila but in reality means 'do you eat shark?' to those in the south.
* Some dialects have interjections which are a considered a trademark of their region. For example, the interjection ala e! usually identifies someone from Batangas as does hane?! in Rizal and Quezon provinces.

Perhaps the most divergent Tagalog dialects are those spoken in Marinduque. Linguist Rosa Soberano identifies two dialects, western and eastern with the former being closer to the Tagalog dialects spoken in the provinces of Batangas and Quezon.

One example are the verb conjugation paradigms. While some of the affixes are different, Marinduque also preserves the imperative affixes, also found in Visayan and Bikol languages, that have mostly disappeared from most Tagalog dialects by the early 20th century; they have since merged with the infinitive.


Geographic distribution

The Tagalog homeland, or Katagalugan, covers roughly much of the central to southern parts of the island of Luzon - particularly in Aurora, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Camarines Norte, Cavite, Laguna, Metro Manila, Nueva Ecija, Quezon, Rizal, and large parts of Zambales. Tagalog is also spoken natively by inhabitants living on the islands, Marinduque, Mindoro, and large areas of Palawan. It is spoken by approximately 64.3 million Filipinos, 96.4% of the household population. 21.5 million, or 28.15% of the total Philippine population, of which speak it as a native language.
Tagalog speakers are found in other parts of the Philippines as well as throughout the world, though its use is usually limited to communication between Filipino ethnic groups. It is the fifth most-spoken language in the United States with over a 1.4 million speakers (2005 census). In Canada it is spoken by 235,615.

Official status

Filipino language

Tagalog was declared the official language by the first constitution in the Philippines, the Constitution of Biak-na-Bato in 1897.

In 1935, the Philippine constitution designated English and Spanish as official languages, but mandated the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages. After study and deliberation, the National Language Institute, a committee composed of seven members who represented various regions in the Philippines, chose Tagalog as the basis for the evolution and adoption of the national language of the Philippines. President Manuel L. Quezon then, on December 30, 1937, proclaimed the selection of the Tagalog language to be used as the basis for the evolution and adoption of the national language of the Philippines. In 1939 President Quezon renamed the proposed Tagalog-based national language as wikang pambansâ (national language). In 1939, the language was further renamed as 'Pilipino'.

The 1973 constitution designated the Tagalog-based 'Pilipino', along with English, as an official language and mandated the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino. The 1987 constitution designated Filipino as the national language, mandating that as it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.

As Filipino, Tagalog has been taught in schools throughout the Philippines. It is the only one out of over 170 Philippine languages that is officially used in schools and businesses, (info from culturegrams) though Article XIV, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines does specify, in part:

Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system.

The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein.

Other Philippine languages have influenced Filipino, primarily through migration from the provinces to Metro Manila of speakers of those other languages.

Besides the Philippines, the language enjoys relative minority status in Canada], the United Kingdom, and also Hong Kong, where street signs commonly display the language. In the United States, the language is used in censuses and elections. It also enjoys official status in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia.


Taglish and Englog are names given to a mix of English and Tagalog. The amount of English vs.Tagalog varies from the occasional use of English loan words to outright code-switching where the language changes in mid-sentence. Such code-switching is prevalent throughout the Philippines and in various of the languages of the Philippines other than Tagalog.
Nasirà ang computer ko yesterday!
'My computer broke yesterday!'
Huwág kang maninigarilyo, because it is harmful to your health.
'Don't smoke cigarettes, ...'

Code switching also entails the use of foreign words that are Filipinized by reforming them using Filipino rules, such as verb conjugations. Users typically use Filipino or English words, whichever comes to mind first or whichever is easier to use.

Magshoshopping kami sa mall. Sino ba ang magdadrive sa shoppingan?
'We will go shopping at the mall. Who will drive to the shopping center anyway?'

Although it is generally looked down upon, code-switching is prevalent in all levels of society; however, city-dwellers, the highly educated, and people born around and after World War II are more likely to do it. Politicians as highly placed as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have code-switched in interviews.

The practice is common in television, radio, and print media as well. Advertisements from companies like Wells Fargo, Wal-Mart, Albertsons, McDonald's, and Western Union have contained Taglish.

The Chinese and the non-Tagalog communities in the Philippines also frequently code-switch their language, be it Cebuano or Min Nan Chinese, with Taglish.


This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Tagalog has 21 phonemes; 16 consonants and five vowels. Syllable structure is relatively simple. Each syllable contains at least a consonant and a vowel, and begins in at most one consonant, except for borrowed words such as trak which means 'truck', or tsokolate meaning 'chocolate'.


Before appearing in the coastal region of Manila, Tagalog had three vowel phonemes: /a/, /i/, and /u/. This was later expanded to five vowels with the introduction of Kapampangan and Spanish words.

They are:
* /a/ an open central unrounded vowel similar to English 'father'; in the middle of a word, a mid central unrounded vowel similar to English 'cup'
* /ɛ/ an open-mid front unrounded vowel similar to English 'bed'
* /i/ a close front unrounded vowel similar to English 'machine'
* /o/ a close-mid back rounded vowel similar to English 'forty'
* /u/ a close back unrounded vowel similar to English 'flute'

There are four main diphthongs; /ai/, /oi/, /au/, and /iu/.


Below is a chart of Tagalog consonants. All the stops are unaspirated. The velar nasal occurs in all positions including at the beginning of a word.

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