What Language is Spoken in the Philippines?

what language do filipinos speak

What Language is Spoken in the Philippines?

(Last Updated On: June 24, 2022)

Philippines Language

The Philippines is one of the most diverse countries in Asia, with no single dominant language across the 7,107 islands that make up the country. What language is spoken in the Philippines? This can be an essential question to ask if you are planning to visit or live in the Philippines or if you have any friends or family who were born there. This guide will help you answer this question and learn more about the languages spoken in the Philippines, including Tagalog and Cebuano.

Filipino Language: An Evolution

The Filipino language has undergone a long and complicated evolution, shaped by the various cultures that have influenced the Philippines throughout its history. Today, Filipino is the national language of the Philippines and is spoken by millions of people around the world.

The Spanish colonizers were the first to have a significant impact on the Filipino language. When the Philippines was under Spanish rule, the Spanish language was the dominant language spoken in the country. Many Filipino words were derived from Spanish, and the grammar and syntax of the Filipino language were also heavily influenced by the Spanish language.

The subsequent significant influence on the Filipino language came from the English language. This is because the Philippines was a colony of the United States for many years. English became the language of education and government, and as a result, many English words were adopted into the Filipino language.

Many other languages have influenced the Filipino language, such as Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and Tagalog. These languages have all contributed to the evolution of the Filipino language, making it the rich and diverse language it is today.

language in philippines

Filipino Alphabet

The Filipino alphabet is the alphabet used in the Filipino language. It consists of 28 letters, which are all based on the Latin alphabet. The Filipino alphabet is very similar to the English alphabet, with a few minor differences. The letters C and F are not used in the Filipino alphabet. The Filipino alphabet is used in the following languages: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Bicol, and Waray.

The first four letters of the Filipino alphabet are A, B, C, and D. These letters are all pronounced the same in Filipino as they are in English. The letter E is pronounced like the letter A in the English alphabet. The letter F is pronounced like the letter B in the English alphabet. The letter G is pronounced like the letter C in the English alphabet. The letter H is pronounced like the letter D in the English alphabet.

The following four letters of the Filipino alphabet are I, J, K, and L. The letter I is pronounced like the letter E in the English alphabet. The letter J is pronounced like the letter F in the English alphabet. The letter K is pronounced like the letter G in the English alphabet. The letter L is pronounced like the letter H in the English alphabet.

The subsequent four letters of the Filipino alphabet are M, N, O, and P. The letter M is pronounced like the letter I in the English alphabet. The letter N is pronounced like the letter J in the English alphabet. The letter O is pronounced like the letter K in the English alphabet. The letter P is pronounced like the letter L in the English alphabet.

Tagalog

This language may be familiar to you as Tagalog and Filipino are often used interchangeably. Around 73% of Filipinos speak Tagalog, which is closely related to other languages in nearby countries. There are more than 100 dialects of Tagalog that vary by region, including Cebuano, Ilocano, Bicolano and Waray-Waray.

It’s also a national or native language in The Philippines and an official language of Singapore.  Though it shares similarities with some Philippine languages, Tagalog isn’t considered a regional dialect of another language but rather its unique tongue. In fact, for many years, there was a push to replace English with Tagalog as The Philippines’ national language. That movement has lost steam over time, however, though it’s still taught in schools across the country.

Roughly 7 million people around Southeast Asia can understand the Tagalog language because they’ve been exposed to media from or produced in The Philippines—like TV shows and movies—and hear them on local radio stations or news programs like GMA Network News & Public Affairs and ANC Headlines.

Tagalog comes from tagá-ílog, which means people of the river bank. It’s a fitting name, as it was initially spoken by inhabitants of Manila Bay before spreading throughout other parts of the Philippines.

The Tagalog language is written using a Latin alphabet with some additional characters borrowed from Spanish, Arabic, and Hanzi (Chinese). In 1987, a standard form for writing Tagalog was agreed upon by linguists who met at Rizal Park in Manila. This spelling system has been adopted by many of The Philippines’ newspapers and magazines to help simplify spelling rules that had previously varied widely across different publications.

philippines language

Some Helpful Tagalog Phrases

Many helpful Tagalog phrases can be used in various situations. These phrases can be used to greet someone, show appreciation, ask for help, or apologize. Learning even a few of these phrases can help communicate with others who speak Tagalog.

One helpful Tagalog phrase is “kumusta ka?” This can be used as a greeting, equivalent to saying “how are you?” in English. Another phrase that can be used as a greeting is “Magandang Araw,” which means “good day.”

Another helpful Tagalog phrase is “salamat,” which means “thank you.” This can be used to show appreciation for something someone has done for you. For example, if someone holds the door open for you, you can say “salamat” to show appreciation.

Another helpful Tagalog phrase is “tulong” which means “help.” This can be used when you need assistance from someone. For example, if you are lost, you can ask someone for help by saying “tulong.”

Filipino Vs. Tagalog

There are many differences between Filipino and Tagalog, but the two most notable ones are the differences in pronunciation and vocabulary. While Filipino is the official language of the Philippines, Tagalog is just one of many significant languages spoken in the country.

One of the most significant differences between Filipino and Tagalog is how they are pronounced. Filipino is based on the Latin alphabet, while Tagalog uses a different alphabet called Baybayin. This can make it difficult for speakers of Filipino to understand Tagalog and vice versa.

Another difference between Filipino and Tagalog is the vocabulary. While both languages have borrowed words from other languages, Tagalog has borrowed more words from the Spanish language and English language than Filipino has. This can make Tagalog seem more foreign to speakers of Filipino.

One final difference between Filipino and Tagalog is the way they are written. Filipino is written in a more formal style, while Tagalog is written in a more conversational tone. This can make Filipino seem more challenging to understand for speakers of Tagalog. Do you know what is the meaning of Tampa in Tagalog? You must know before going ahead.

However, as other languages contribute to Filipino, language specialists expect that Filipino and Tagalog may split off and become entirely separate languages in the future.

What language is mainly spoken in the Philippines?

The Philippines is a unique country when it comes to language. There are more than 170 languages spoken in the Philippines, with Filipino and English being the most common. Filipino is the official language of the Philippines and is based on Tagalog. However, because of the country’s history of colonization, many other languages are also spoken in the Philippines. These include Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.

What is the Filipino's first language?

The first language of the Philippines is Filipino, which is based on Tagalog. However, there are many other languages spoken in the Philippines, including English, Spanish, and Chinese.

What are the 3 main languages in the Philippines?

The Philippines is an officially bilingual country, with Filipino and English being the two official languages. However, there are over 170 different languages spoken throughout the Philippines. The three most commonly spoken languages are Tagalog, Cebuano, and Ilocano.

Cebuano

Although Tagalog is considered an official language of the Philippines, many Filipinos also speak Cebuano. That’s because Cebuano, or Bisaya as it’s sometimes called, is a native language of Central Visayas and Mindanao.

It’s usually spoken by Bicolanos from Negros Occidental, Boholano Visayans, most people from Mindanao (except for ethnic groups who have indigenous languages), and inhabitants of Siquijor Island. In 2008 there were about 23 million people who spoke Cebuano at home; about 60% of these were based in Mindanao, with only 18% found in Central Visayas. The rest who talk to Cebuano live mainly in Metro Manila, while some reside in other parts of Luzon.

English

The English language became widely used among other major immigrant languages. Filipino residents have varying levels of English fluency. While many people speak some English, very few can fully comprehend or write it, which means that a large majority of Filipinos speak Tagalog as their primary language.

It’s estimated that around one-third of people who live in Metro Manila have at least some knowledge of English, but elsewhere it’s more likely to be as low as 10 percent. Generally speaking, Tagalog and English are thought to be talked interchangeably (mainly since many people mix Filipino slang words with their English equivalents).

You can use Google Translate to help you figure out what’s being said or learn how to say hello properly—you never know when someone might ask Anong gusto mo? (What do you want?)

Hiligaynon

Though Tagalog and Cebuano are spoken in various provinces, Hiligaynon – also referred to as Ilonggo, is now considered a third Philippine language by many Filipinos and linguists. Some official documents—including some laws, rules, and others—are translated into Ilonggo.

However, it’s important to note that for these documents to become valid throughout all of Iloilo province, they have to be translated into Tagalog. Over time, however, Ilonggo has become an essential language for everyday life among many Filipinos living on the island of Panay, although Tagalog speakers make up most of the people living on Panay Island.

Perhaps one day, we’ll see it grow more popular nationwide!

Waray

The official language of the province, known as Waray, is a variation of Cebuano with Tagalog influence. This can sometimes make it difficult for people from other regions to understand Waray speakers.

In addition to Waray, English and Filipino are also spoken in Samar. If you don’t speak any of these languages, however, you won’t have much trouble getting around because many residents speak English fluently.

Most signs and documents are written in English or Filipino. And if you need help finding something or someone, locals will be happy to assist you using simple hand gestures!

Bicolano

The Bikol group of languages spoken in the southern and eastern provinces of Luzon (Batangas, Mindoro, Marinduque, Masbate, Mindanao and Sorsogon) are related to Filipino and Tagalog. Bicolano has less than two million speakers. Because of its close relationship with Tagalog (both share roots in Malay-Polynesian languages), Bicolano speakers can pick up on a regional dialect after just one year or less exposure. For example, Cebuano-speaking Magdalo soldiers took just one year to be able to speak Visayan fluently during their occupation on Panay island in 1796.

Regional Languages Of The Philippines

There are over 175 languages spoken in the Philippines, each region having its unique dialect. While Tagalog is the national language, many Filipinos also speak English, which is widely used in business and education. The most commonly spoken language in the Philippines is Tagalog, the national language. Tagalog is spoken by approximately 24 million people, making it the second most spoken language in the country. However, Tagalog is not the only language spoken in the Philippines.

One of the most widely spoken languages in the Philippines is Cebuano. Cebuano is spoken by approximately 20 million people, making it the third most spoken language in the country. Cebuano is also the most widely spoken language in the Visayas region, located in the central part of the Philippines.

Another widely spoken language in the Philippines is Ilocano. Ilocano is spoken by approximately 10 million people, making it the fourth most spoken language in the country. Ilocano is also the most widely spoken language in the northern part of the Philippines.

How Many Dialects Are There In the Philippines?

There are an estimated 187 dialects spoken in the Philippines, with Tagalog being the most prevalent. Other popular dialects include Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, and Waray-Waray. While there is no official language in the Philippines, Tagalog is considered the national language.

Tagalog is the most widely spoken dialect in the Philippines, with an estimated 22 million speakers. It is the official language of the Philippines and is used in education, government, and media. Tagalog is a member of the Austronesian language family and is related to other languages spoken in the Philippines, such as Cebuano and Ilocano.

Cebuano is the second most widely spoken dialect in the Philippines, with an estimated 20 million speakers. It is spoken primarily on the island of Cebu, as well as in other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao. Cebuano is also a member of the Austronesian language family.

Ilocano is the third most widely spoken dialect in the Philippines, with an estimated 9 million speakers. It is spoken primarily in the northern part of the country, as well as in other parts of Luzon. Ilocano is also a member of the Austronesian language family.

Other Languages

The official languages of The Philippines are Filipino and English. Filipino is based on Tagalog, which was a combination of Kapampangan, Visayan, Ilocano, and Tagalog languages that were chosen by President Manuel L. Quezon as the national language of the Philippine Islands after he declared independence from Spain in 1898. At that time, he named Tagalog Wikang Pambansâ, or national language, because it was already being used widely compared to other native dialects.

Nowadays, Filipinos are mandated to learn both Filipino and English languages starting in grade school. However, there are still many people who do not know how to speak English. There are more than 170 different dialects spoken in The Philippines today. However, they all have one thing in common: they use the Latin alphabet system for writing words and sentences (unlike Chinese characters).

In addition to these two official languages, there are also other foreign languages like Arabic, Spanish and Chinese that can be heard spoken among locals, especially those living near tourist destinations like Boracay Island and Manila Bay Area. It’s important to note that although most residents speak multiple languages, Filipino is considered their primary language. This means you will find local newspapers and television shows only in Filipino, even if there are non-Filipino speakers living within their community.

philippines official languages

Loaned languages in the Philippines

The Philippines is a country with a rich history of borrowing words from other languages. This is due to the country’s colonial rule past, as well as its proximity to other countries with different languages. During the Spanish rule in the 19th and 20th century, the lingua Franca in the Philippines was Spanish. As a result, the Filipino language has been significantly influenced by other languages, and today, there are many loaned words in the Filipino vocabulary.

There are three main categories of loaned words in the Philippines: Spanish loanwords, English loanwords, and Chinese loanwords. Spanish loanwords are the oldest and can be traced back to the country’s colonial history. English loanwords became more common after the Philippines became a US territory, and Chinese loanwords were introduced through trade and migration.

Today, loaned words make up a significant part of the Filipino language. They are used in everyday speech and can be heard in formal and informal contexts. While some argue that loaned words should be avoided to preserve the Filipino language, others believe that they are a natural part of the language and add to its richness.

Spanish Loanwords

Spanish loanwords are the oldest type of loaned words in the Philippines. They can be traced back to the country’s colonial history when the Philippines was a Spanish colony. Many Spanish words were adopted into the Filipino language, and they remain in use today.

Some examples of Spanish loanwords in the Philippines include “barangay” (village), “eskwela” (school), and “sari-sari store” (neighborhood convenience store). Spanish loanwords often have a different meaning in the Philippines than in Spain. For example, the Spanish word “barrio” refers to a district in a city, while the Filipino word “barangay” refers to a small village.

Spanish loanwords are used in both formal and informal contexts in the Philippines. They are a part of the everyday speech of many Filipinos and can be heard in both spoken and written Filipino. English loanwords became more common in the Philippines after the country became a US territory. Many English words were adopted into the Filipino language, and they remain in use today.

English Loanwords

Some examples of English loanwords in the Philippines include “jeepney” (a type of public transportation), “t-shirt” (a type of clothing), and “basketball” (a sport). English loanwords often have a different meaning in the Philippines than in English. For example, the English word “jeep” refers to a type of vehicle, while the Filipino word “jeepney” refers to a type of public transportation.

English loanwords are used in both formal and informal contexts in the Philippines. They are a part of the everyday speech of many Filipinos and can be heard in both spoken and written Filipino. Chinese loanwords were introduced to the Philippines through trade and migration. Many Chinese words were adopted into the Filipino language, and they remain in use today.

Chinese Loanwords

Some examples of Chinese loanwords in the Philippines include “dim sum” (a type of food), “karaoke” (a type of entertainment), and “feng shui” (a type of belief). Chinese loanwords often have a different meaning in the Philippines than in China. For example, the Chinese word “dim sum” refers to a type of food, while the Filipino word “dim sum” refers to a snack.

Chinese loanwords are used in both formal and informal contexts in the Philippines. They are a part of the everyday speech of many Filipinos and can be heard in both spoken and written Filipino.

language spoken in philippines

Endangered Languages In The Philippines

There are many endangered languages in the Philippines. The Palawan, Cebuano, and Waray-Waray languages are all in danger of being lost. However, organizations are working to save these languages. By teaching them in schools and creating language materials, they are working to ensure that these languages will not be lost.

One of the endangered languages in the Philippines is the Palawan language. According to the Ethnologue, there are only about 8,000 speakers of Palawan left. The Palawan language is endangered because many young people are not learning it. They are instead learning Tagalog, which is the national language of the Philippines. The Palawan Language Academy is working to save the Palawan language by teaching it in schools and creating Palawan language materials.

Cebuano language

Another endangered language in the Philippines is the Cebuano language. There are about 21 million speakers of Cebuano, but the number is declining. The Cebuano language is endangered because many Cebuano speakers are switching to Tagalog or English. The Cebuano Language Commission is working to save the language by promoting it in the media and creating Cebuano language materials.

The third endangered language in the Philippines is the Waray-Waray language. There are about 2.5 million speakers of Waray-Waray, but the number is declining. The Waray-Waray language is endangered because many Waray-Waray speakers are switching to Tagalog or English. The Waray-Waray Language Academy is working to save the Waray-Waray language by teaching it in schools and creating Waray-Waray language materials.

FAQ’s

Do Filipinos speak Spanish?

No, Filipinos do not speak Spanish. The Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years, but today, the only remnant of that period is the Spanish names of some towns and provinces. The official languages of the Philippines are Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English.

Do the Philippines speak English?

Yes, the Philippines does speak English. English is one of the country’s official languages. Filipinos typically learn English in school and use it in daily life, work, and social settings. While there is some variation in English proficiency levels among different age groups and regions, overall English fluency is high in the Philippines.

How many languages are spoken in the Philippines?

There are over 170 different languages spoken throughout the country. The most common languages spoken in the Philippines, other than Filipino, include English, Chinese, and Spanish.

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