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Learn Filipino (Tagalog)

Learn Filipino (Tagalog)

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Filipino language is known as Tagalog (pronounced with a long "a" in the second syllable, like [Tagalog]) or vice versa. In any case, this Filipino language was declared the main language of the Philippines and is spoken by the majority of Filipinos. However, this tends to be the case in the north of the country and also in Palawan. The truth is, the country has a diverse range of dialects and there’s no single language that’ll let you talk to the entire population in the Philippines.

In the south, i.e. around Cebu and in Mindanao, mainly Visayas or Cebuano is spoken or some variants of it like "Waray-Waray". Filipino is at least in the capital Manila the number one language, although English is also very common and finds its way into Filipino / Tagalog.

In this article, we have collected some key phrases in Filipino for those who want to learn a little bit of Tagalog or Filipino (sometimes the correct pronunciation is written in square brackets [ ]):

Basic Expressions on Filipino / Tagalog

"Good morning" -"Magandang umaga" [emphasis on the last syllable, i.e. ma-gan-dang]

"Good afternoon" - "Magandang hapon"

"Good evening" - "Magandang gabi"(on Visaya the equivalent would be something like "maayong gabii", where the second "i" is also pronounced)

"Hello / How are you?" - "Kumusta?"

"I am well" - "Mabuti" (more like [mabute])

"Goodbye / Bye" - "Paalam"(the two successive "a" are also pronounced separately here, i.e. [pa-alam])

"Thank you / thank you" - "Salamat" [emphasis on the second syllable with a long "a", i.e. sa-laa-mat] (the form of politeness would be "Salamat po"; the appendix "po" should be used especially towards older gentlemen)

"You're welcome “ - "Walang anuman"

"yes" - "oo"(the two "o" are both pronounced here, like [o-o])

"No" - "Hindi"(the second "i" is pronounced like an "e", like [hinde]

"Tomorrow" - "bukas" (example: "Tomorrow we are going to Baguio." - "Bukas pupunta tayo sa Baguio.")

"Nice" - "Maganda"

"child" - "bata" (general)

"Baby" - "sanggol"

"pretty / attractive" - gwapa (female), gwapo (male)

Filipino on the Road

"Where is...?" -"Saan ang...?"

“Do you speak English?" - "Marunong ka ba ng Inglés?"

"I don't understand" - "Hindí ko náiintindihán"

"Where can I find a good hotel?" - "Saan pwedeng maghanap ng hotel? (The pronunciation of "saan" is such that both "a" are pronounced separately "sa-an"; "pwede" is pronounced like [poide]; the second "ng" in the example is pronounced like [nang])

"What time is the ferry from Cebu to Bohol? - Anong oras ang ferry galing Cebu papuntang Bohol?

"When does the bus arrive? -"Kailan darating ang bus?"

"Where is the toilet?" - "Nasaan ang kubita?"

"Do you have an extra room?" - "Mayroón ba kayóng kuwarto?"

Filipino when Shopping / Trading

"Did you/do you have...?" - "Mayroon ka / kayo nang...?"

"Expensive / cheap" - "Mahal / mura"

"I want..." - "Gusto ko..."

"How much (costs)...?" - "Magkano...?" ("magkano" is pronounced separately, i.e. [mag-kano]; example: "How much does one kilo of fish cost?" - "Magkano ang isang kilo ng isda?")

"banana" - "saging";

"pineapple" - "pinya"

"coconut" (young, to drink and eat the jelly-like pulp) - "buko"

"coconut" (ripe, pulp is hard) - "niyog"

"Left" - "Kaliwa"

"Right" - "Kanan"

Filipino at Dinner

"tasty" - "masarap"

"cut up" - "chop-chop"

"Tea" - "tsa" [chaya]

"(half) chicken" - "(kalahating) manok"

"Vegetables" - "gulay" (please note that Filipinos like to add some meat even to supposedly vegetarian dishes to make it "tastier"; if you really want to eat vegetarian, you have to make this clear when ordering "vegetables")

Numbers in Filipino

"One" - "Isa"

"Two" - "Dalawa"

"Three" - "Tatlo"

"Four" - "Apat"

"Five" - "Lima"

"Six" - "Anim"

"Seven" - "Pito"

"Eight" - "Walo"

"Nine" - "Siyam"

"Ten" - "Sampu"

The “W” questions in Filipino

"What?" - "Ano?"

"Where?" - Saan?

"Why?" - "Bakit?"

"Where is...?" - "Nasaan ang...?"

Explanation: Saan is used when referring to the verb "Where are you going?" Naasan is used when the noun is "Where is the church?"

"Who?" - "Sino?"

"What?" - "Paano?"

"Which one(s)" - "Alin?"

An excellent online lexicon for learning Tagalog - English can be found at www.tagalog-dictionary.com. 

While locals in the Philippines predominantly speak English - at least at a conversational level - this doesn't take anything away from the importance of learning Tagalog for a more pleasant vacation experience in the country. Not only will you earn the admiration and respect of the locals but you will also gain a deeper understanding of the heritage of the Philippines.

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