History and Background of Tagalog

Tagalog is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.  Although it originated in the Philippines, it contains traces of other languages, such as English and Spanish. In the United States alone, it is one of the most common languages aside from English with an estimated 1.69 million speakers.

Find out why this widely known language is so important, and why it should be on your radar.

What Is Tagalog?

Tagalog is a language that originated in the Philippine islands. It is the first language of most Filipinos and the second language of most others. More than 50 million Filipinos speak Tagalog in the Philippines, and 24 million people speak the language worldwide.

The direct translation of the word Tagalog means, “from the river.” It combines language influences from China, Malaysia, Spain and America. It is the result of the occupation of the Philippines by several other nations.

The origins of this language date back to more than 1,000 years ago. Interestingly, Tagalog has changed throughout the years as various countries have influenced the Philippines.

Tagalog Facts

  1. Today, it’s estimated that over 24 million people speak Tagalog outside of the Philippines. Some of the many countries where this language is spoken include Canada, Guam, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  2. Tagalog began appearing in written language as far back as 900 CE. The oldest Filipino document found in the Philippines, the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, was written in Tagalog. It was discovered in 1989. In the beginning of the 18th century, Pablo Cain wrote the first Tagalog dictionary.
  3. In 1879, Tagalog became the official language of the Philippine islands, but its reign was short lived; in 1935, Spanish was established as the national language.

Over times of various occupations, Tagalog incorporated words, phrases and pronunciations of other languages. Some Filipinos refer to the combination of Tagalog and English as Taglish. Most Filipinos still speak Tagalog, though many of the younger generations also learn other Filipino dialects as well.

Tagalog in the United States

Tagalog is the third most spoken non-English language in the United States. The majority of Tagalog speakers live in California, Nevada and Washington. Therefore, it’s no surprise that many celebrities living and working stateside also speak Tagalog.

Black Eyed Peas member apl.de.ap – whose given name is Allan Pineda Lindo – is from the Philippines and speaks Tagalog; he was recently featured as a judge on the Filipino version of The Voice.

Famed American actress Meghan Markle (who also happens to be married to Prince Harry of England) speaks Tagalog. She recently surprised a Filipino fan by speaking to her in her native language.

Tagalog Translation

It’s not surprising that Tagalog is a language with significant global reach and impact. Luckily, Dynamic Language offers language translation services that can help you connect with your Tagalog-speaking audience.

Basic translation services, such as Google Translate, aren’t always reliable in Tagalog due to the variation in dialects. Accuracy is important when it comes to translation services, which is why professional translation is necessary.

Dynamic Language has over 30 years of translation experience. We employ more than 3,000 native-speaking translators to ensure your translation is always accurate — regardless of your industry.