The people of the Philippines are particularly nice and kind people. Like the inhabitants of all countries, they greatly appreciate that you make the effort to learn a few words of their language. Without being fluent in Tagalog, you can learn a few simple sentences, it will always be useful to you especially to make new friends, although almost all of the people in the Philippines speak English.
Step 1. Learn some basic words
To get started, learn a few words that you can use anywhere.
- Thank you: salamat po (po is a form of respect).
- My name is: ang pangalan ko ay (then your name).
- Any: kahit alin. Alin means of these, kahit translates to any and kahit alin can translate to any (by implying these). Alin can also have other uses. It is possible to use it to say what? or which one?. Saan means where and kahit saan means anywhere. Ano means anything and kahit ano means anything.
- Hello: magandáng (pronounced like donkey magann, the g is silent) umaga.
- Good afternoon: magandang hapon
- Good evening: magandang gabi
- Goodbye: paalam
- Thank you very much: maraming salamt po
- You're welcome: walang (g mute) anuman. Literally, it can translate to nothing at all.
Step 2. Yes: oo
Water: tubig (pronounced toubig)
Delicious: masaráp (pronounced massarap)
- Beautiful - beautiful: maganda
I love you: mahál kitá
The father: amá
The sister (elder): ate (pronounced até)
The elder brother: kuyá
Younger brother (or sister): bunsô
- The grandmother: lola
The grandfather: lolo
- Aunt: tita
The niece or nephew: pamangkin
The cousin: pinsan
Step 3. Learn some common phrases
Now here is a short list of common phrases useful for speaking Tagalog.
- I'm hungry: gutóm na ako
- Please feed me: pakibigyán niyo po ako ng pagkain
- The food is delicious: masaráp ang pagkain
Step 4. Try to have a conversation
Without going too far, here are a few sentences in question and answer form.
- Where are the toilets ?: nasaán ang banyo
- Yes: oo - opo
- No: Hindi - Hindi po
- You are fine ?: ayos ka lang ba
- How are you doing ?: kumusta ka na
- I'm fine: ayos lang
- How much does it cost ?: magkano ba ito
Step 5. Learn some animal names
Here are the names of some animals.
- A dog: aso
- A puppy: tutá
- A cat: pusá
- A fish: isdá
- A cow: báka
- A water buffalo (carabao): kalabáw
- A chicken: manók
- A monkey: unggóy
Step 6. Learn to count
If you want to speak Tagalog, it helps to learn to count.
- 1: isá
- 2: dalawá
- 3: tatló
- 4: apat
- 5: limá
- 6: anim
- 7: pitó
- 8: waló
- 9: siyám
- 10: sampû
- It is much easier to learn to speak Tagalog than you might imagine, if you speak Spanish you will be greatly helped. Go out and talk to people!
- If you have Filipino or Tagalog-speaking friends, now is the time to chat with them! You may be embarrassed at first, but you will see, with a little persistence, you will soon be able to speak Tagalog.
- People from Hispanic or English-speaking countries will have an easier time learning Tagalog, because colonizations have left traces that are still very present in the language.
- When speaking with a younger person or with someone the same age and social status as you, you can say yes using oo. On the other hand, when you communicate with people older than you or with a high social rank (even a professor or an office manager), you have to say yes like this: opo - po, which are respectful formulas of saying yes.
- Even though almost all Filipinos speak English, they are still very happy when a foreigner seeks to learn to speak Tagalog. You will also find that they will always be ready to help you learn new words or improve your pronunciation. So don't hesitate to use the few words you have learned.
- Even if Tagalog does not seem very difficult to learn, you will see that there are on the other hand complications with regard to conjugations and conjunctions.
- Take the time to learn the alphabet, work on the accent and familiarize yourself with pronunciation. Some words are sometimes long (eg kinakatakutan which means scary), but don't worry, some Filipinos sometimes have pronunciation problems too!
- Watch movies or TV shows in Tagalog to get used to listening to the sounds of the language. If there are subtitles, you will find that, little by little, you will recognize certain words.
- Here is how the letters are pronounced in Tagalog:
- a: ha
- e: è
- i: i
- o: o
- u: or