~ Basic Tagalog ~

by Paraluman S. Aspillera B.S.E., M.A.



Tagalog is the most important of the many tounges and dialects of the Philippines on account of it's being widely understood, and the most developed by contact with foreign idioms. Spoken by over ten million of an energetic race in the islands occupying the capitol city of Manila, eight provinces surrounding the metropolis and a number of outlying islands and districts beyond these limits, it is also understood by many far beyond its own territory, especially in seaport towns throughout the archipelago.

The language seems to be devided into a northern and a southern dialect, the former being spoken in Bulacan, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Rizal, and other parts of Tarlac, and the later occupying La Laguna, Batangus, Cavie, Tayabas, Marinduque, the coast of Mindoro and part of the Camarines Norte and Camarines El Sur. Dialect differencses though can only be distinguished by local mannerisms in pronunciation but very seldom meaning.

Philologically, Tagalog belongs to the Malayan branch of the great Malya-Polynesian linguistic family, which extends from Hawaii to Madagascar and Formosa to Easter Island west of Chile, including New Zealand, Tonga, and Samoa, as well as Borneo, Celebes, Java, Sumatra, the Maylay Peninsula, and the Philippines from east to west, a distance of 180*, or half the circumference of the earth.

Tagolog, together with the other civilized tounges of the Philippines such as Visayan, Pampango, Ilocano and Bicol, has preserved the verbal system better than any other. The basis for the comparative study of the family must be taken from the Philippine tounges and not from the more cultivated Malay, Kawi, or modern Javanese, all three of which have been profoundly affected by Sanskrit and to a lessor degree Arabic, something as English has been affected by Latin and French elements. The number of roots or primative idea words in Tagalog seems to be about 17,000 there being 16,842 words in the Noceda and Sanlucar dictionary of 1832. Of these some 285 are derived from Sanskrit, and are evidentely borrowed through Malay. Many of these are the names for the things unknown to the primitive Malayan peoples, but others are abstracts and various words, some of which would seem to have supplanted a primitive Malayan word. Thus in many cases Americans and Tagalogs use words in thir own languages which are from the same remote source in India, and coming around the earth east and west to meet again in the Philippines.