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The Tagalog Language

Tagalog is the official language (along with English) of the Philippines, and is the mother tongue for roughly 25% of its population. Over half of all Filipinos speak Tagalog as either a first or second language.1

Tagalog, also known as “Pilipino” or “Filipino,” is part of the Austronesian language family, and, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, is “notable for its complex verbal system, including in particular three distinct types of passive constructions.”2 Tagalog has been greatly influenced by several other languages such as Spanish, Chinese, English, and Arabic.

From among the estimated 70 different dialects and languages spoken in the Philippines, Tagalog was chosen as the national language (the wikang pambansâ) by the National Language Institute in 1937 and made official when the Philippines regained independence from the United States in 1946. Since that time, Tagalog has been mandatory learning in schools throughout the Philippines, and as a result has slowly become the language of choice for literature, radio and television, and governmental functions.3

Below are some brief but important facts about the country of the Philippines and its people.

Capital: Manila
Currency: Philippine peso (PHP)
Government Type: Republic
Population: 86,241,697 (July 2004 est.)
Internet Country Code: .ph
Internet Hosts: 38,440 (2002)
Internet Users: 3.5 million (2002)

For additional demographic information on the Philippines and its people, please see the following links:

For information on The Tagalog Writing System, please see our Quick Facts Library.

1 “Philippines” Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service.

[Accessed December 13, 2004]

2 “Tagalog language” Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service

[Accessed December 14, 2004]