Now is the perfect time to learn a new language because it is fun and is a productive past-time. Learning a new language is easy, and there are different ways and methods to learn a new language for beginners. Perhaps you are considering and want to learn how to speak Tagalog because you plan to visit the Philippines or know someone who is a Filipino. Maybe you just want to have an understanding of this language in general.
Whatever your reason may be, learning Tagalog will still give you an extra edge not only because it will help you look smarter but because Filipinos are present in different countries as well. You will make a good impression on Filipinos as they adore a foreign person who made an effort to learn their language.
Introduction to Tagalog Language
As much as the English language is essential to Americans, Tagalog, on the other hand, is also vital to Filipinos. According to Investopedia, there’s a survey conducted by the Philippine National Statistics Office shows that 96.4% of Filipinos speak Tagalog.
Although there are almost 200 different kinds of dialects in the Philippines, Tagalog is the Filipino’s standardized language; thus, it is considered their national language.
Tagalog is a language that is simple and easy to learn. It only has a small vocabulary with words that are greatly influenced by Spanish and English. To share a brief history, the Philippines was under the Spanish settlement and rule from the late 1500s to 1898 and the American government from 1898 to 1946.
That is also the reason why most Filipinos are fluent in the English and Spanish languages. In fact, about 63.7% of Filipinos know how to speak English, making it the second language of the Philippines.
Useful Tagalog Words and Phrases
Now let’s start learning some Tagalog words or phrases and what they mean.
First and foremost, we must learn the essential and commonly used Tagalog words or phrases. These are everyday words or phrases used by Filipinos. As a beginner, you must learn about this to start a simple conversation.
How do you greet someone in Tagalog?
There are many ways you can greet someone using the following words or phrases:
“Magandang araw,” “Magandang umaga,” “Magandang tanghali,” “Magandang hapon,” “Magandang gabi”
These are different greetings varying with the time of the day. Let’s start with the generic day greeting, “Magandang araw.”
“Maganda” or “magandang” means “beautiful,“ but in this phrase, “maganda” also means “good” in English, while “araw” means “day.” Thus, “Magandang araw” means “Good day.”
“Magandang umaga” means “Good morning.”
“Magandang tanghali” means “Good noon.”
“Magandang hapon” means “Good afternoon.”
“Magandang gabi” means “Good evening” or “Good night.”
“Kamusta” or “Musta” (shortened version)
“Kamusta” is a general greeting. This word is used to ask someone how they are (“Kamusta” or “How are you?” in English). However, Filipinos also use the word “kamusta” to say “hi” or “hello.”
“Kamusta” came from the Spanish phrase “Como estas,” which means “How are you?” in English. This is an example of the Spanish influence in the Tagalog language.
So, when you tell someone “kamusta,” you will expect a response on how they are currently doing or what their current situation is.
The common Tagalog reply to this answer is “mabuti” or “Mabuti naman” which means “good” in English.
How do you introduce yourself in Tagalog?
Now that you are familiar with the different greetings you can use. Let’s now conduct your introduction.
“Ang pangalan ko ay” or “Ako si” (shortened version)
When someone is asking for your name, or if you want to let someone know your name, you will say:
“Ang pangalan ko ay.” (“My name is.”)
“Ako si.” (“I am.”)
You can also add your greeting before you introduce yourself. For example, if you want to say,
“Good morning! My name is. How are you?”
You will say:
“Magandang umaga! Ang pangalan ko ay (or ako si). Kamusta?”
How to answer Yes or No in Tagalog?
“Oo” and “Hindi”
These are Tagalog words that you can use to give an affirmative or negative response and if you are willing to accept or refuse to do something.
“Oo” means “yes.”
“Hindi” means “no.”
“Po” and “Opo”
Part of the Filipino culture is showing respect to elders or those in the older generation and superiors or authorities (bosses, teachers, royalties, etc.). One of the Filipinos’ trademarks or practice in communicating to show respect to these people is by saying “po” and “opo,” which basically means “yes.”
Take note that the informal way of saying “yes” is “oo” and the formal way is “po” and “opo.” Also, “po” often occurs after a verb or at the end of a statement or sentence and not at the beginning of a sentence. “Opo,” on the other hand, is often used at the beginning of a sentence and can be used as a standalone.
An example of how to use “opo”:
When someone asks you, “Have you eaten lunch?” [in Tagalog: “Kumain ka na ba ng tanghalian?”] and you already had your breakfast; you will say “opo,” which means “yes” in English.
Examples of how to use “po”:
You can use “po” in most conversations by adding it in your sentence or statement, whether it is in question, declarative, command, or exclamatory form.
“Magandang umaga po.“
“Ako po si.”
How to say thank you in Tagalog?
“Salamat,” “Maraming Salamat” and “Walang anuman”
You will say “salamat” or “Maraming salamat.“
“Salamat” means “Thank you.”
“Maraming salamat” means “Thank you so (or very) much.”
“Marami” or “maraming” means “many,” “much,” or “a lot” in English.
“Walang anuman” means “You’re welcome.”
How to say goodbye in Tagalog?
“Paalam” and “Ingat”
You can use these words when parting or after a conversation.
“Paalam” means “Goodbye.”
While, “ingat” means “Take care.”
How to count 1-10 in Tagalog?
Counting numbers (1-10) in Tagalog
“Isa” – One
“Dalawa” – Two
“Tatlo” – Three
“Apat” – Four
“Lima” – “Five”
“Anim” – “Six”
“Pito” – “Seven”
“Walo” – “Eight”
“Siyam” – “Nine”
“Sampu” – “Ten”
Best ways to learn Tagalog
Copying what native Tagalog speakers say
If you want to learn to speak Tagalog like a native speaker, you need to practice and copy exactly what a native speaker says, from the pronunciation to the speed, tempo, and sound of the word. You just need to listen carefully to the word or phrase and repeat it exactly as you hear it.
A great way to start is by watching Tagalog videos. You will get exposed to Tagalog pronunciations, speaking styles, and you will also have the chance to review the speaker’s lip movements so you can copy them.
Hire a Tagalog/Filipino tutor
A tutor can help you learn Tagalog fast for two reasons. One, a tutor can be a great accountability partner, and you can practice Tagalog with a native speaker. Two, a tutor can help you stick with your daily habit of speaking Tagalog.
To become fluent in Tagalog, you need a native speaker to practice communicating in Tagalog and an expert tutor or teacher who knows how to teach what you need, dictate what you need to learn, how you will learn, and give you feedback on your performance.
Taking online courses
There are a lot more words and phrases you can learn as a beginner. A fun and easy way to study Tagalog is through Tagalog online courses, where you can quickly cover the basics to become a good Filipino conversationalist in no time.
One of the best Tagalog online courses that you can take is “Tagalog For Beginners: A Fun And Easy Way To Learn Filipino.” This online course covers the basics of introducing yourself, greeting others, describing yourself and your family members and friends, using personal pronouns in creating sentences, and being able to talk about food, including Filipino dishes.
Ready to enhance your language skills? Click here to get started.