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What Is The Language Spoken In Philippines

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The Philippines’ Language Report: What Language Is Spoken In The Philippines

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One of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world is the Philippines. As such, I thought it was high time to answer some language questions in relation to this beautiful part of the world. What language do they speak in the Philippines? Read on to find out. What’s the difference between Tagalog versus Filipino? Again, keep reading. How many languages are spoken in the Philippines? To find out you guessed it read on.

Filipino Vs Tagalog: What Is The Philippines Language

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Tagalog and Filipino seem like they are completely interchangeable. However, for all intents and purposes, Tagalog is a different language from Filipino. Explore how the Tagalog and Filipino language are different and why people find them so confusing.

The Languages Of The Philippines

While Filipino and Tagalog are the two major languages that you hear of and cause the most confusion, there are other important languages of the Philippines including Cebuano, Waray, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, and more. In total, there are about 140 different languages derived from mostly Malayo-Polynesian roots. Your head might be spinning, but once you consider the number of islands within the Philippines, it makes sense.

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Three Circles Of English

The Indian linguist distinguished countries where English is spoken with a . In his model,

  • the “inner circle” countries have large communities of native speakers of English,
  • “outer circle” countries have small communities of native speakers of English but widespread use of English as a second language in education or broadcasting or for local official purposes, and
  • “expanding circle” countries are countries where many people learn English as a foreign language.

Kachru based his model on the history of how English spread in different countries, how users acquire English, and the range of uses English has in each country. The three circles change membership over time.

Three Circles of English

Countries with large communities of native speakers of English include Britain, the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand, where the majority speaks English, and South Africa, where a significant minority speaks English. The countries with the most native English speakers are, in descending order, the , the , Canada , , South Africa , , and New Zealand . In these countries, children of native speakers learn English from their parents, and local people who speak other languages and new immigrants learn English to communicate in their neighbourhoods and workplaces. The inner-circle countries provide the base from which English spreads to other countries in the world.

What Languages Do They Speak In The Philippines Top 7 Most Famous

Top 10 most spoken languages in the Philippines and where they are ...

The Philippines is an archipelago, and most of each island has its language. There are over 120 to 175 languages in the Philippines. However, only eight significant languages are being used all over the country. Tagalog is the national language and is widely used by most Filipinos to understand and disrupt language barriers.

The most common language spoken in the Philippines is Tagalog and Cebuano, comprising half of the countrys population. But each region has its native language spoken. Tagalog and English are the two main languages used in the educational setting.

Since there are various languages spoken in the Philippines, this became a barrier to understanding each other. Under the 1987 Constitution, they designate Filipino, a standardized version of Tagalog to become the official language of the Philippines alongside English.

There is so much to share about the languages spoken in the Philippines however, I will be sharing the top 8 spoken languages in the country keep on reading.

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History Of The Languages Of The Philippines

There was no common language spoken in the Philippines until the 16th century when Spanish became the official language of the country.

Spanish remained the official language in the country for over 3 centuries after the Spanish colonizers came to the Philippines in 1565.

During the Seven Years War in 1762, the British invaded Manila, which was the first time when the Philippine people were confronted with the English language. However, it gained more influence later on, in the period between 1898 and 1946, known as American rule.

In the 1930s, the Commonwealth government decided that the Philippines should have a national language. This affair set the beginning of Philippine language history.

At that time, different languages and dialects were spoken in the territory of the Philippines. In Metro Manila, however, people primarily spoke Tagalog, which is why the language happened to be among the candidates for the countrys official language.

Not many people outside the capital, however, spoke Tagalog. Hence, this proposition was met with a lot of criticism. Eventually, no national language was chosen.

In the 1970s, the debate on a national language reappeared. This time, however, the government focused on creating a national language called Filipino, which would lay the grounds for a new society.

For instance, the word silya stemmed from the Spanish language and was invented to replace the Tagalog word salumpuwit.

Why Are There So Many Languages In The Philippines

An archipelagic wonder, the Pearl of the Orient is a treasure trove of vernaculars. There are 7,641 islands in the Philippines. With this, we cant question why the country persists as one of the most linguistically diverse nations in the world!

At present, the world bears 6,500 languages in total. This means that 3% of the worlds languages are from the Philippines! Out of all these languages, Filipinos still most widely use Tagalog. Around 95% of Filipinos can communicate in this language.

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Examples Of Taglish Phrases

  • Paki-explain sa akin.
  • Sumakay ka ng taxi.
  • Pakibuksan ang aircon.
  • Kailan ang deadline?
  • Pupunta akong airport.

In addition to this, countless foreigners travel to and temporarily live in the Philippines to learn English. Many Filipinos also work as English as a second language teachers nowadays, numerous Filipino ESL teachers instruct foreign students online.

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Depending on the speakers gender, different linguistic features might be used. The typical used by females is called joseigo and the one used by males is called danseigo .Josiego and danseigo are different in various ways, including for men) and sentence-final particles , na no , or kashira for joseigo, or zo , da , or yo for danseigo). In addition to these specific differences, expressions and pitch can also be different. For example, joseigo is more gentle, polite, refined, indirect, modest, and exclamatory, and often accompanied by raised pitch.

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How More Than A Hundred Languages Survived

The Philippines and Philippine languages have gone through several colonizers. It has also changed its Constitution a few times, especially in regard to the use of official language.

Still, many major languages in the Philippines have mother-tongue speakers. Those highly influenced by Spanish settlers in Zamboanga still use Chavacano as the lingua franca.

Several tribes in the Philippines like the Mangyan, Tboli, and Ivatan still use their indigenous languages and are not influenced by any other languages.

Those influenced by the Moslems in the southern part of the country still practice their rich language. These indigenous languages have withstood the test of time.

In fact, even if many conquerors tried to influence them, they held on to their roots. However, it is important to note that some can also speak Arabic beyond just liturgical use.

Trade and commerce in the past have also become the reason why there are still a lot of Filipinos who can speak foreign languages. These include Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, and even Japanese.

What Are The Official Languages Of The Philippines

There are two official languages in the country: English and Filipino.

This means that both English and Filipino are used in more formal settings and official documents, while the native languages are used colloquially as a means of everyday communication between the people.

Filipino and Tagalog

One of the two official languages in the Philippines is Filipino language, which is based on the Tagalog language.

The Filipino language is derived from the Tagalog language, but it also consists of a considerable amount of Spanish, Chinese, and English words. These words were nativized and are now a part of the Filipino language.

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How Do You Say Hello In Manila

That’s easy: “hello”!

The English greeting really is the norm among Tagalog speakers in Manila, too.

A common alternative is kumusta?, which means “how are you?”.

To be a little more formal, you can also use:

Magandang umaga

Magandang hapon

Magandang gabi

For all of these, remember to put po on the end–as in hello po or magandang umaga po–to show respect.

There’s a little more to it, but those should earn you plenty of pogi points.

What Language Is Spoken In Manila

Languages of Philippines

If you speak English, then rest assured that you’ll get by perfectly fine in Manila, and virtually everywhere else in the Philippines.

After decades of American control, and close cultural ties ever since, that’s to be expected–especially in such a huge, cosmopolitan city.

But English is obviously not indigenous, so what language is local to Manila?

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Malay Language In The Philippines

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Malay is spoken by a minority of Filipinos, particularly in the Palawan, Sulu Archipelago and parts of Mindanao, mostly in the form of trade and creole languages, such as Sabah Malay.

Historically, use of Malay as lingua franca prior to the Spanish colonization of the Philippines is witnessed by the first Philippine written document, the Laguna Copperplate Inscription of 900, which was written in localised Old Malay.

In the 16th century, Ferdinand Magellan used a Malay servant Enrique of Malacca to converse with the Visayans who lived in the central Visayan islands at the time.

Until the late of 18th century to the early 19th century, there are still many documents from Sulu and Mindanao that used Malay language such as The Sulu Treaties and the Royal Letters from The Sultanate of Maguindanao that were written in Malay language. The documents now are preserved in The British Library.

One variant of Malay spoken in the Philippines is Indonesian, which is spoken by Indonesians who have either settled or do business in the Philippines. It is also learned as a foreign language, by students and members of the armed forces.

Should I Learn Tagalog For Manila

As I mentioned earlier, English is so widely spoken around Metro Manila that foreigners do not need to learn Tagalog.

Learning a little bit can be fun and enriching, but it’s of no practical use for a short stay.

If you’re planning a long stay in Manila, let alone a more permanent move, then I do believe it’s worth the effort.

Not for professional reasons, not even for coping with problems, but for the satisfaction of understanding conversations around you, engaging in a language others can “relax” in, and simply participating more naturally in everyday life.

P.S. If this was helpful, then be sure to check out my Glossika Tagalog review here. When I decided to start learning Tagalog, it was a painfully slow process . Using the Glossika app has been a great kick-start, and probably the most efficient method I know of.

This article was updated on May 27, 2021

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Nouns And Noun Phrases

English nouns are only inflected for number and possession. New nouns can be formed through derivation or compounding. They are semantically divided into and common nouns. Common nouns are in turn divided into concrete and abstract nouns, and grammatically into and .

Most count nouns are inflected for plural number through the use of the plural –s, but a few nouns have irregular plural forms. Mass nouns can only be pluralised through the use of a count noun classifier, e.g. one loaf of bread, two loaves of bread.

Regular plural formation:

  • Singular: man, woman, foot, fish, ox, knife, mouse
  • Plural: men, women, feet, fish, oxen, knives, mice

Possession can be expressed either by the possessive –s , or by the preposition of. Historically the -s possessive has been used for animate nouns, whereas the of possessive has been reserved for inanimate nouns. Today this distinction is less clear, and many speakers use –s also with inanimates. Orthographically the possessive -s is separated from a singular noun with an apostrophe. If the noun is plural formed with -s the apostrophe follows the -s.

Possessive constructions:

  • With -s: The woman’s husband’s child
  • With of: The child of the husband of the woman


Pronouns, case, and person

Both the second and third persons share pronouns between the plural and singular:

English personal pronouns

theirs themselves


How Many Dialects Are There In The Philippines

Similarities Between Spanish and Cebuano

Many people mistakenly refer to the languages of the Philippines as dialects. To set the record straight: On top of the 170+ languages in the Philippines, there are also over a hundred dialects spoken across the country.

Most likely, the languages in the Philippines have all sorts of variations because of the separations of geographical locations. Look: The Agta language family has dialect variations in the provinces of Quezon, Camarines Norte, Dumagat, Bicol, Isabela, and Abra. Another example: The Ifugao language family has dialect variations in the villages of Batad, Amganad, and Kiangan.

While a myriad of vernaculars consume the archipelago, there is still no official list of dialects in the Philippines to date. Probably, the lack of an official list stems from difficulty in research. After all, there are innumerable ethnic groups in the Philippines and after years of colonization, the rash evolution of languages in the country has become inevitable.

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English 15 Billion Speakers

A few factors explain why English is one of the most common global languages used for business and academics worldwide. Simple grammar structures, specifically conjugation and gender, allow new speakers the opportunity to pick it up rapidly. For eastern countries, its status as not only widely used but neutral enables political neighbors to converse without feeling one region takes precedence over the other. Moreover, English was aided in its spread by the British colonization of the last several hundred years. Only a few differences exist between American English and British English, but speakers of each dialect pick a favorite and adamantly defend that choice.

History Of Languages In The Philippines

Throughout the 19th and 20th century, the lingua franca in the Philippines was the Spanish language as it has been under their colony. In fact, Filipinos were forced to abandon their regional languages.

They started using the Spanish language as means of communication, be it in the government or in schools.

When the country fell under the Americans, English became the national language spoken. It all but suppressed the existing native languages.

Textbooks used in schools were all translated into the English language and even in government transactions. The English language became widely used among other major immigrant languages.

A few years after the Philippines gained independence, Tagalog was declared its main language under the leadership of then President Manuel L. Quezon.

However, despite the fact that the Philippines has been through several colonizers, many places have retained the use of their native language as influenced by the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages.

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Spanish 548 Million Speakers

Another colonizing force, Spain’s influence on the globe carried with it the impact of their native language. Over 360 million people use it as a first language, and many countries throughout the Caribbean and Americas consider it their official language, such as Mexico and Costa Rica. It is also spoken in Africa. Several variants exist, with some dialects taking heavy influence from medieval occupiers who spoke Arabic, and Latin American Spanish has a handful of differences from Spain’s Castilian Spanish. The language is derived from Vulgar Latin, alongside French and Italian, so it is typical for a speaker of one to readily acquire the other two.

Top 10 Languages Used In The Philippines

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October 12, 2015 By Lyza R. Sabornido

Baybayin known as Tagalog alphabet is an ancient Philippine script.

I used to think that the only language we have here in the Philippines is Filipino. It may be our national language, but there are actually more languages here in our country than we know.

Because there are more than seven thousand islands in the Philippines, it is no wonder why we have many languages which most of us consider as dialects. There is a difference between dialect and language, though. According to, a language is used by people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition. While the dialect is a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary.

Here are the top 10 languages used in the Philippines:

1. Tagalog

Our national language was based from Tagalog. It is used mainly in Manila Area and nearby provinces such as Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, and Laguna. This is the only Filipino language that is generally used and can be understood around the country. Based on the Philippine census conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority, there were 26,387,855 Filipinos who speak this language in the country.

Example:Good morning â Magandang umagaGood evening â Magandang GabiI love you â Iniibig kita or minamahal kita

2. Cebuano

3. Ilocano

4. Hiligaynon

6. Kapampangan

7. Bicolano

8. Pangasinense

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