Pilipino, Tagalog, Ilocano
Pilipino - The National Language of the Philippines
On November 13, 1937, the First National Assembly approved a
law creating a National Language Institute to make a study
and survey of each of the existing native dialects, with a
view to choosing one which was to be used as a basis for the
national language of the Philippines... The Institute selected
Tagalog to be the basis of the national language. Thus, on
December 31, 1937, President Quezon proclaimed the language
based on Tagalog as the National Language of the Philippines...
Commonwealth Act No. 570 was promulgated on July 4, 1946, when
the independence of the Philippines was granted by the United
States. It provides for the use of the National Language as
one of the official languages of the Philippines (with Spanish
and English) in government offices... In 1961 the office of
the Secretary of Education introduced the use of the term
Pilipino when referring to the National Language...
- Basic Tagalog - Paraluman S. Aspillera
- Tagalog has absorbed many Spanish and some English words over
the centuries. When foreign words enter Tagalog, the spelling is
changed to reflect Tagalog Orthography... which turns out to be
quite pleasing to the Englishspeaker's eye. Spanish words are spelt
as a native English speaker might (mis)spell them...
|hard c becomes k
||cajon becomes kahón (box)
|soft c becomes s
||circo becomes sírko (circus)
|ch becomes ts
||lechon becomes lítson (roast pig)
|f becomes p
||Filipinas becomes Pilipínas (Philippines)
|j becomes h
||cajon becomes kahón (box)
|ll becomes ly
||calle becomes kálye (street)
|ñ becomes ny
||piña becomes pinyá (pineapple)
|q becomes k
||maquina becomes mákina (machine)
|v becomes b
||cerveza becomes serbésa (beer)
|x becomes ks
||taxi becomes táksi (taxi)
|z becomes s
||azul becomes asúl (blue)
- The names of months and days come from Spanish. Observe Tagalog
Orthography at work! The only oddity is the word for Sunday;
linggó (week) is capitalized and used for the name
of that day...
- Although Pilipino has words for numbers, the Spanish words are
commonly used, particularly for casual monetary transactions...
- Pilipino is pretty easygoing when it comes to plurals. If there's a
number or pluralized adjective or article modifying the noun, you don't
need to pluralize the noun. If the noun is plural, you don't need to
pluralize the adjective. If the noun is pluralized, you don't need to
pluralize the verb, and vice versa. Repetition of the root word is one
of the methods of pluralization. A one- or two-syllable word is
repeated; in longer words, only the first two syllables are repeated.
Halo is a mixture. A popular dessert in the Philippines is
halu-halo, a mixture of ice, sugar, chunks of fruit, and milk.
(Tagalog doesn't like two os in sequence, so wherever they might
appear, the first becomes u.) The plural of kaníno
(whose) is kaní-kaníno. And when speaking English,
a Filipino will often say Thank you thank you!, carrying this
same idea over into English.
- Pilipino does not distinguish gender in third person pronouns.
Siya is the English he/she,
kaniya(preposed)/niya(postposed) the English his/her, and
sa kaniya the English him/her.
- Whereas English uses stress to emphasize a word in a sentence, Tagalog
indicates emphasis by making the emphasized word the subject of the
sentence. Each kind of subject requires a unique verbal affix, making
Tagalog verbs quite difficult for the student. On the other hand...
- Tagalog and several other Philippine languages have a very (perhaps
overly!) powerful preposition: sa. It is used for the English
in, to, into, from, on, for,
through, at... and others! This is troublesome for
Filipino students of English.
- The words ang (singular) and ang mga (plural) are subject
markers for things and places; si (singular) and sina
(plural) are markers for names of people, whether subject or predicate.
Mga is the Tagalog pluralizer for names of things and places.
The normal sentence structure is Predicate-Subject. When this
order is reversed, the position marker ay is used to mark
the end of the Subject and the beginning of the Predicate.
For example, The house (bahay) is big (malakí)...
- Malakí ang bahay.
- Ang bahay ay malakí.
Another example, William and (at) Mary are children (batà)....
- Mga batà sina William at Mary.
- Sina William at Mary ay mga batà.
- It is possible to use any part of speech as a noun, simply by putting
an article in front of it.
- The Adverb of Negation (That capitalization was my own doing; somehow,
the phrase just demands capitalization!) is hindî. Sometimes
hindî is used as is; sometimes it is shortened to dî;
but most often it is used as a prefix and attached to the word
with a hyphen. For example, The child (batà) is not
- Ang batà ay hindî mabaít.
- Ang batà ay dî mabaít.
- Ang batà ay di-mabaít.
- The unit of currency in the Philippines is the piso, pronounced
like pesso (that's how it sounded to me anyway), and called the
peso by many outsiders. Its symbol is an uppercase P with two
horizontal lines crossing the bumpy bit. The piso is divided into
100 sentimos, or pera.
- Don't let me give you the wrong impression; most Pilipino doesn't
look or sound anything at all like Spanish or English! My initial
reason for investigating Pilipino was simply that a business
trip took me to Las Piñas City, and language being a
hobby of mine, the National Book Store was naturally one of my
first recreational stops. I purchased a textbook (Basic Tagalog)
and several dictionaries of Ilocano, Tagalog, and Pilipino. I
found the isolating and agglutinative aspects of the grammar
particularly interesting. At the same time, though, the frequent
Spanish and occasional English sounds kept catching my ear...
Las Piñas City! Kumustá ka?
I suspect that the presence of so many true friends (as opposed to
would make foreigners much more comfortable with the language
than they would be otherwise, since the words which are unlike
Spanish and English (and that's most of them) are like nothing
else I've ever studied!
Opening quotation, tables, and most examples from Basic Tagalog
by Paraluman S. Aspillera.
Created 1999-06-16, Modified 2009-08-06. Bahala na!