Tagalog is a language spoken in the central part of the Philippines and belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian language family. There are about 90 million speakers of Tagalog worldwide. Tagalog is one of the major languages in the Philippines. The standardized form of Tagalog is called Filipino. Filipino is the national language of the Philippines, while Filipino and English are the two official languages of the Philippines. Within the Philippines, Tagalog is spoken in Manila, most of central Luzon, and Palawan. Tagalog is also spoken by persons of Filipino descent in Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Tagalog is the sixth most spoken language in the United States, spoken by over a million speakers.
Like English, Tagalog is an alphabetic language. According to the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, Filipino is composed of 28 letters, which includes the 26 letters of the English alphabet plus the velar nasal ng (treated as a separate letter) and the Spanish ñ. There are eight major Tagalog dialects: Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Lubang, Manila, Marinduque, Tanay-Paete, and Tayabas-Quezon. Although their intonation and lexicon differ, these dialects are mutually intelligible.
Search for Tagalog programs in the Heritage Language Programs Database.
The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages has developed the Heritage Voices Collection, an online series of documents designed to allow heritage language speakers and programs to share their unique voices with visitors to our website.
- Read about the Tagalog language. (PDF, 183 KB)
- Read about the Paaralang Pinoy program. (PDF, 585 KB)
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Meet the Language Representative
Dr. Valerie Malabonga serves as the Tagalog language representative for the Alliance. Learn more about Valerie Malabonga.